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Palmetto weevil

Q: I found small, black and red weevils in the top of my palm tree. What should I do?

A: The insect you found is called a palmetto weevil, Rhynchophorus cruentatus , which is the largest native weevil in Florida. It is found from South Carolina to Texas and feeds on many palms such as our Cabbage Palm and Saw Palmetto. The weevil is seldom found in natural areas but often found in newly transplanted and environmentally stressed palms in homeowner and commercial landscapes. The first indication of an infestation likely occurs on new fronds (leaves) which will not fully develop and droop, although early detection is difficult to diagnose. Currently, there is no chemical treatment for a weevil infestation and the palm needs to be removed and destroyed to prevent infection in other palms. The best we can do is to be sure the palms receive adequate fertilization (use a palm fertilizer) and do not over-water. Remember most palms are drought tolerant and should not be watered as often as turfgrass. In addition, when transplanting palms we should do all possible to avoid wounding the trunk area.