Rhynchophorus ferrugineus

Biocontrol of the Red palm weevil

Common name: Red palm weevil
Scientific name: Rhynphorus ferrugineus
Order: Coleoptera
Affects: Palm trees
Main season: All year round

Rhynchophorus ferrugineus

General information

The Red palm weevil Rhynchophorus ferrugineus is an invasive exotic species and also a phytosanitary quarantine species which has been present in Spain since 1995, when it was detected in Granada and Malaga. This insect, originally from the tropical regions of Asia and Polynesia, has been expanding continuously to other areas of the planet and colonising different species of palm trees. Currently, it is one of the main pests that affect palm trees in the Middle East and North Africa. From these areas, through traditional palm tree exporters to Europe, the insect has been introduced onto the Iberian Peninsula. The existence of important palm groves in the Iberian East makes it necessary to pay special attention to this insect.


Distribución mundial del rhynchophorus ferrugineus

Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Aruba, Australia, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Bruma, Cambodia, China, Cyprus, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Spain, the Philippines, France, Greece, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Iran, the Salomon Islands, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Laos, Malaysia, Morocco, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Portugal, Samoa, Singapore, Syria, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Vietnam and others.

Morphology and biology

Rhynchophorus ferrugineus is a coleopteran belonging to the Curculionidae family.

Adult: It is quite a large beetle, measuring between 2 and 5 cm long. The insects of this family are characterised for having an extended head in the shape of a beak (“face”), where the antennae are positioned in the shape of a reddish mace. This characteristic, together with its eye-catching colour, gives this insect the common name of ‘red snout’.

The pre-thorax shows some very visible black stains that are different sizes and shapes. Along the elytrons the linear markings are emphasised and also black.

The males are differentiated from the females by a “comb” that is thick and has few hairs on the end of the beak.

Male adult

Male adult

Female adults

Female adults

Egg: It is oval-shaped. The eggs are laid individually on the soft tissue of the palm tree’s crown. It measures between 1 and 2.5 mm long. On average, the females lay between 300 and 400 eggs.

Larva: It grows inside the living tissues of the palm tree, until reaching between 3 and 5 cm in size. At the beginning it has a creamy white colour that in the last stage acquires a darker tone. It is clearly apodous (with no legs). Its general aspect is pear-shaped, which gives it a chubby look. The head, which is brown, has very powerful jaws that allow it to perforate the vegetable tissues of its host.

Pupa: It is typically found at the base of palm trees, surrounded by a good sized oval cocoon (4 to 6 cm long) made by the larva itself with fibres from the same palm tree. This means that it is not easy to detect the insect unless the area where it has inserted itself is opened.

Egg, larva and pupa

Their ability to reproduce is very important. In Spain the complete cycle, from egg to adult lasts between three and four months.

The adults do not usually abandon the palm tree where they have grown until it is practically destroyed. Therefore, there may be several generations inside the same palm tree, where all stages of the pest can be found at any given moment. The adults have a strong ability for flying, which gives them the great advantage to disperse and colonise new palm trees. They seem to show a preference for hurt or weak palm trees. Once the first adults arrive at a suitable palm tree, the males generate an aggregation pheromone that attracts many Red palm weevils of both sexes.

The females deposit their eggs in holes made with their face (or beak), in wounds created during harvesting, pruning and desuckering.


The insect colonises a large number of species of palm trees. In the countries of origin it is cited on coconut trees (Cocos nucifera) and oil palms (Elaeis guineensis) amongst many others. However, in Spain, it especially stands out because of its attacks on the Canary Island date palm (Phoenix canariensis) and the date palm (Phoenix dactylifera) which is the most representative of our palm trees. It also affects the Washingtonia palm (Washingtonia spp).

Palmeras afectadas por rhynchophorus ferrugineus

The most common symptom that may raise suspicion of an insect attack is the withered appearance of the leaves in the centre of the crown, which may eventually dry up and remain hanging on the ground.

In very severe attacks, the entire crown of the palm tree ends ups drying out and then the palm tree dies. By pulling down the affected external branches, they fall off with ease. At its base, galleries of larvae can be observed and very often the cocoons of the pupae.

Symptom of dry or fallen young leaves

Symptom of dry or fallen young leaves

Symptom of chewed leaves on a Canarian palm tree

Symptom of chewed leaves on a Canarian palm tree

Final stage of Phoenix canariensis

Final stage of Phoenix canariensis

Dwarf fan palm completely destroyed

Dwarf fan palm completely destroyed

Final stage of Phoenix dactylifera

Final stage of Phoenix dactylifera

Mass death

Mass death

On opening the crown of a palm tree with an advanced degree of infection, there are plenty of larvae of various sizes in a mass of fermenting tissue that gives off a distinctive unpleasant smell.

Affected palm trees die in the short term as the meristem or palm heart is completely destroyed, with its interior decaying.


- Less than 1 week.
- Approximately 4 to 6 weeks.
- Approximately 2 or 3 weeks.
- Approximately 12 to 16 weeks.
Source: Leaflet «Curculiónido Ferruginoso o Picudo Rojo de las Palmeras», published by the Conselleria d´Agricultura, Pesca i Alimentació of the Generalitat Valenciana.

Control measures

  1. Regular inspection of palm trees in affected areas.
  2. In palm trees where a Red palm weevil infestation is suspected or detected, they should be treated as quickly as possible and protected with an authorised phytosanitary product.
  3. All dead palm trees and the parts of them that contain the pest should be destroyed according to regulations.
  4. When pruning has been completed during Spring and Summer, an authorised phytosanitary treatment should be carried out after pruning.
  5. Clean the crowns of dry palm trees to allow for regular inspections.
  6. It is important not to plane down or make the trunk smooth, as it favours infestations in the tree.
  7. Palm trees affected by decaying leaf and bud diseases are more prone to infestation from the Red palm weevil. Therefore, they should be treated with a fungicide and insecticide, as it is essential to prevent the Red palm weevil from laying their eggs in these areas.
  8. As part of an integrated extermination or control strategy, capture of the Red palm weevil adults with the RHYNCHONEX® SYSTEM is essential.
  9. Take time to learn and really understand this pest’s behaviour, as well as the RHYNCHONEX® SYSTEM for the detection and monitoring of Rhynchophorus ferrugineus.

Picudo en restos de palmera


The system consists of using traps, pheromones and kairomones to detect and monitor the Red palm weevil: Rhynchophorus ferrugineus.

Scientific investigation has demonstrated that Red palm weevils find host palm trees by using a combination of sensory signals. THE RHYNCHONEX® SYSTEM takes advantage of these sensory signals by using sophisticated components and advanced trap design features.


  1. Olfactory strategy: Is achieved through an aggregation pheromone diffuser and kairomone diffuser working together.
  2. Food strategy: Is carried out with a food attractant on the inside of the trap, together with water, as Rhynchophorus ferrugineus beetles need a humid environment.
  3. Visual strategy: Research has shown that the red traps are more attractive to these pests.
  4. Decoy strategy: It is achieved through a decoy, consisting of a red plastic weevil, greater than the actual size of the insect, in order to increase the attraction power of the trap.
  5. Accessibility strategy: Is achieved through a yellow plastic rhombus-shaped mesh, that allows the palm weevils to cling on to the trap. This special mesh surrounding the trap serves as a platform for the beetles to land. In this way, the Rhynchophorus ferrugineus beetles can enter through the holes of the trap by climbing up just as they like to do when they go to the palm trees to feed on them.
Weevil on green leaves

Detection and monitoring

1 to 3 RHYNCHONEX® traps per hectare must be used (at least 1 per plot), preferably buried in the ground. In case of not being able to use the buried trap, or to use it in the natural environment, we recommend using the CROSSTRAP® MINI WITH DRY COLLECTION CUP.

The traps should be placed 50 to 100 metres apart all year long. Especially in Spring, Summer and Autumn, as this pests’ activity increases with the temperature. The placement of more traps per surface area will significantly reduce new infestations.

Exhaustive monitoring

For exhaustive monitoring, the number of traps per area is increased, according to the location and uniformity of the plots: approximately 1 RHYNCHONEX® trap or CROSSTRAP MINI trap every 50 metres must be used. This results in a density of 4 to 6 RHYNCHONEX® traps or CROSSTRAP® MINI traps per hectare.

By using traps with pheromones and kairomones, female and male Rhynchophorus ferrugineus are captured with a ratio of 2/3 females and 1/3 males. By capturing both male and female adults, mating is reduced.

The females that are caught in the traps tend to be impregnated. For this reason, the capture of these females is very effective in reducing the number of eggs laid inside the palm trees. For every insect caught in a trap there is one less insect on the palm tree.

Group of palm trees

Factors that influence in the number of traps needed

When deciding on the number of traps needed, the population of the pest, neighbouring plantations and the level of control needed must be taken into account, etc.

One important factor is the size of the plantations. Small and irregular plantations require a greater number of traps than larger and more uniform plots.

Another important factor is the distance between plots that have the same pest. In cases like this, the borders of these plots need to be strengthened, so it may be necessary to increase the number of traps per hectare.

Necessary material



They are wet traps that are used together with pheromones and kairomones, for the detection and monitoring of the Red palm weevil Rhynchophorus ferrugineus.

The traps are made of a plastic polymer that does not emit odours when heated by the sun and can withstand ultraviolet rays. These traps have an average shelf life of 6 to 7 years.

They are made up of three easily adjustable parts: a base, a lid and a special hanger to hanger the RHYNCHONEX® ATTRACTANTS KIT 90 DAYS diffuser.

The traps include a rhombus-shaped plastic mesh that is specially designed to simulate the roughness of the trunk of the palm tree, therefore, making it easier for the Red palm weevils to enter into the traps.


Trap designed to capture the red palm weevil Rhynchophorus ferrugineus and Rhynchophorus palmarum.

Code: UIPFETA146
OMDF register number (Ministry of Agriculture of Spain): 109/2014

buy button

The RHYNCHONEX® 7.5 trap has a volume of 7,5 litres. The base of the trap is a red truncated cone shape and has 4 perpendicular holes measuring 3 x 7 cm, so that the insects can enter into the trap comfortably. The lid is also red and has 2 entrance holes measuring 3 x 7 cm.

It is a wet trap, so it must be filled with water up to 2/3 of its volume.

Rhynchophorus capturados

Rhynchophorus ferrugineus captured in a RHYNCHONEX®

Difusor en trampa rhynchonex

RHYNCHONEX® ATTRACTANTS KIT 90 DAYS attractants diffuser placed in a RHYNCHONEX® 7.5 trap

Placement and handling

The traps should be placed half-buried up to the entrance holes and preferably in the shade, so that they retain the humidity for longer.

By using the RHYNCHONEX® wet traps, the Red palm weevil dies by drowning in the water.

It is recommended to cover the traps a little bit with palm tree leaves, to increase humidity and to stop the water from evaporating too much.

Rhynchonex Trap Set

In case of not being able to use buried RHYNCHONEX® traps (because they are in areas where they can be handled by unauthorised persons, or should be out of the reach of children in public parks and gardens), it is recommended to use the CROSSTRAP® MINI traps.

In the natural environment, it is recommended to only use the CROSSTRAP® MINItrap, due to its high specificity.

The combination of food and pheromones increases the efficiency of the system: dates, sugar cane, apples and bananas are foods that can be used in the RHYNCHONEX® traps.

Food attractant

Adding plant products that have high sugar levels to the water (apples, bananas or dates) increases the number of captures.


This is a plastic Red palm weevil that is used as a decoy, together with the RHYNCHONEX® traps. Its size (5 cm), is larger than the actual size of the insect, which increases its power of attraction.

The congeners -especially the females- are attracted by this stimulus, which in turn is complemented by the signal emitted from the attractants placed inside the trap.

Decoy Rhynchophorus

This is a plastic red palm beetle. It is 5 cm in size and is placed on the outside of the RHYNCHONEX® trap and used as bait, complementing the signal emitted by the attractants.

Code: UIPFETA108

buy button

Rhynchonex pack

placed on a RHYNCHONEX® trap.


For trapping in the natural environment or if it is not possible to use buried RHYNCHONEX® traps, it is recommended to use the CROSSTRAP® MINI WITH DRY COLLECTION CUP traps (Code: UIPFETA204).

The CROSSTRAP® MINI WITH DRY COLLECTION CUP is a suspended trap that captures insects in flight and is very effective from Spring to Autumn. The design and slippery coatings of the trap stop the captured insects from escaping. The trap does not require any type of liquid and does not need a food attractant. The insects die inside the collection cup due to dehydration, which makes it easier to handle them. The traps can be hung from natural or artificial supports, but always at a distance that is sufficiently far away from the palm trees.

The trap consists of a polypropylene lid that is 33 cm in diameter and with a central carabiner attached to a steel spring. Two reinforced PVC sheets are held in place by four steel springs in the lid’s upper section, acting as shock absorbers against strong winds exerted on the trap. This prevents the trap from breaking or being damaged in the field. They are held in place in the lower section to a 30 cm diameter polypropylene funnel. In the lower section of the funnel is the collection cup that is attached to it with metal screws.

The PVC sheets, funnel and collection cup are treated with a slippery film to significantly increase captures and to prevent the pests from escaping.

The unfolded trap measures 33 cm in diameter by 100 cm high.Once folded the trap measures 33 cm in diameter by 40 cm high.

The trap can last for up to 7 years due to its structure and highly resistant components.


CROSSTRAP® MINI WITH DRY COLLECTION CUP is the latest generation in cross-vane traps to help capture forest pests.

Code: UIPFETA204
OMDF register number (Ministry of Agriculture of Spain): 153/2013

buy button


Collection cup for dry use, or live catches, located at the bottom of CROSSTRAP® traps.

Code: UIPFETA157

buy button

Colector seco crosstrap mini

View from below

The traps should be suspended vertically with a rope either between two trees or from a branch, always taking care that the vertical trap does not come into contact with the tree trunk supporting it.

This way, the trap does not knock against the tree and break, therefore ensuring that the insects are able to distinguish the trap from the tree trunk and go to the trap. Keep them at least 5 metres away from the palm trees. It is best to install them in areas without palm trees.

The trap is activated by hanging the attractants diffuser RHYNCHONEX® ATTRACTANTS KIT 90 DAYS on one of the holes of the PVC sheets with the clip provided.

The height of the installed trap is not relevant, as long as the collection cup does not touch the ground or any other object. We also have the metal support ECONEX CROSSTRAP® SUPPORT (Code: TA147) available, that has been designed specifically to install the trap on it.

The trap is used with the CROSSTRAP® DRY COLLECTION CUP (Code: TA157) for dry use or live captures. The dry collection cup has a 2 litre capacity approximately, it measures 12,5 cm diameter x 19 cm height and is supplied with a stainless-steel mesh that drains away rainwater 100% and provides excellent air circulation.

Crosstrap mini con difusor


Crosstrap mini con difusor

Rhynchophorus ferrugineus captured in a

Attractants diffuser RHYNCHONEX® ATTRACTANTS KIT 90 DAYS (Code: UIPHOVA263)

Kit consisting of a RHYNCHONEX® PHEROMONE 90 DAYS diffuser and a RHYNCHONEX® KAIROMONE 90 DAYS, diffuser, in the same blister pack, for Rhynchophorus ferrugineus. It has a duration of 90 days and an identification label to place on the traps with the date of placement and replacement of the kit. It is sold in boxes of 6 units.

Kit rhynchonex atrayente

Each box includes an information leaflet about
the biocontrol of this pest.

RHYNCHONEX® PHEROMONE 90 DAYS: Is a Rhynchophorus ferrugineus pheromone diffuser with a mixture of 4-methyl-5-nonanol and 4-methyl-nonanone. It has a duration of 90 days in normal field conditions.

RHYNCHONEX® KAIROMONE 90 DAYS: Is a Rhynchophorus ferrugineus kairomone diffuser made of ethyl acetate. It has a duration of 90 days in normal field conditions.

Scientific research has shown that the synergistic action of the pheromone and kairomone working together significantly increases the number of captures, by increasing them from 2,5 to 5 times more.

Rhynchonex attractans kit


Code: UIPHOVA263

buy button

Product storage

The diffusers must be stored in their original packaging in a cool and dry place and separated from food and drinks.

To preserve the diffusers for long periods of time, it is recommended to keep them in the refrigerator at 4 o C in which case they will last for 2 years. Or they can be kept in the freezer at -20 o C for 4 years.

Advice on placing the traps

  • It is recommended to space the traps 50 to 100 m apart between each other..
  • The RHYNCHONEX® traps that are placed in the shade maintain the humidity inside them for longer. The CROSSTRAP® MINI traps can be installed in both shady areas and sunny areas, preferably outside the plots.

Attractant packaging


Corrugated cardboard box of 120 units (20 packs of 6 units).
Measurements of the box: 0.60 x 0.40 x 0.35 m (length x width x height).
Weight of the box: 9.40 kg.
Number of boxes per pallet: 20
Measurements of the pallet: 1.20 x 0.80 x 1.95 m (length x width x height).
Weight of the pallet: 195 kg.

Box of 6 units

Box of 6 units

Box of 120 units

Box of 120 units.
(20 packs x 6 units)

Trap packaging


Corrugated cardboard box of 8 units.
Measurements of the box: 0.80 x 0.60 x 0.48 m (length x width x height).
Weight of the box: 11.30 kg.
Number of boxes per pallet: 8
Measurements of the pallet: 1.20 x 0.80 x 2.05 m (length x width x height).
Weight of the pallet: 100 kg.

Box of 8 units

Box of 8 units.


Corrugated cardboard box of 30 units.
Measurements of the box: 0.80 x 0.60 x 0.48 m (length x width x height).
Weight of the box: 10.70 kg.
Number of boxes per pallet: 8
Measurements of the pallet: 1.20 x 0.80 x 2.05 m (length x width x height).
Weight of the pallet: 96 kg.

Box of 30 units

Box of 30 units.

Recommended information:


Catalogue in PDF format with 94 pages. An essential reference book about the biological behaviours of the main forest insect populations. It also includes solutions from ECONEX to solve the problems caused by these insects through the use of traps and specific attractants.

Download the catalogue by clicking on the image.



The leaflet can be downloaded in PDF format by clicking on the image.



Section of the ECONEX corporate website that allows you access to online information about ECONEX solutions for the biocontrol of other relevant agricultural and forest pests.

To access ECONEX WEB RESOURCES click on the image.

Web resources