MALAGA’S OASIS Under Threat Of Deadly Bug In Spain

Malaga park with palms and plane trees of the Paseo del Parque in Malaga, Spain Credit: Shutterstock

MALAGA is blessed with wonderful beaches and mountains. It also boasts an abundance of natural spaces, parks and gardens.

Palm trees adorn much of the city centre offering a sense of oasis and tranquillity. In order to protect these much cherished palm trees, the City Council will place seismic sensors to detect a deadly bug in 204 trees that line the Paseo del Parque, the Alameda de Colón and La Marina, among other points.

The measure taken by the City Council of Malaga is preventative, to assure that red palm weevils don’t devours the hundreds of palm trees that adorn the city. The local authorities stress the need to anticipate the problem and detect the presence of the larvae of this insect in the trees as quickly as possible, for this, the Environmental Sustainability department is going to use seismic sensors.

The municipal plan includes the installation of these devices in 204 units distributed in the Paseo del Parque (138), the Alameda de Colón (43), the Hospital Noble (12), the Plaza de la Marina (7) and the Plaza Poeta Alfonso Canales (4), with an initial cost of almost 80,000 euros. And a deadline of four months to have all the devices installed.

Malaga suffered significant damage to the palm trees a decade ago when detection of a plague became apparent. The cost to control and treat the trees after infection can prove to be more costly than the preventative measures as the main problem is the pest is not detected from the outside, so when signs appear like yellowing, withering leaves, the plant is already very affected.

Recommendations made by specialists is to curb the pest through preventive actions.

The sensors will be able to detect the movement and bite of the weevil larvae and discriminate all seismic movements that take place inside the palm tree, air movements, ground vibrations, as well as produced by other insects.

The correct installation of the sensors will allow the early detection of the infestation, the gradient towards where the plague is directed and will allow to know if the treatments carried out are being effective, since the sensor will be able to detect the infestation of a single larva which measures less than one cm.


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Written by

Cristina Hodgson

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