Bug Blog

Flight of the Red Palm Weevil

Flight of the Red Palm Weevil

The red palm weevil has been a major pest of coconut palms for years. Their devastation has slowly grown over the years to include over seven countries’ crops. A group of scientists from California and Saudi Arabia recently performed a study of the pest to learn more about their flight capabilities and where they might disperse next. By tethering the pests to computerized flight mills the researchers were able to discover just how far they can fly in one day. They were suitably surprised and impressed when they found that some red palm weevils could fly more than 50 kilometers in the span of 24 hours. They also found that during the summer the red palm weevils could fly the longest average distances, and that flight was predominantly diurnal, beginning at 5:00am and reaching its height between 9:00 and 11:00am. The researchers hope to use this data create monitoring boundaries, which would help with containment and eradication.

Have you ever heard of a red palm weevil? Did you know how far these little devils could fly?