Palm weevil larvae feed on the core of palm, date and coconut trees. It is often too late to save trees when the first signs of damage are seen and in some cases a tree can completely collapse after infestation. It is estimated that 80 million trees worth US$2 billion are hit by the pest every year.
Current control measures have included trained sensing dogs and blanket spraying of insecticides, which can be costly and increase the risk of damage to the environment and human health, especially when applied to ornamental trees in public areas. But a new solution using tried and tested military sensing technology is helping save trees, reduce environmental damage and cut the cost of protection.
Agrint uses a sensor which is screwed into the tree. It detects larvae vibrations in the tree sending back information to a central database and alerting the grower via text. This allows the affected tree to be pinpointed and treated individually, saving time and preventing the over-use of insecticide. Sensors are low-cost and have a long-lasting battery allowing every tree in a plantation to be protected, feeding vital information to the grower on the threat of weevil attack.
ADAMA is the exclusive distributor of Agrint to the Israeli ornamental market with a focus on the largest municipalities who are seeing cost savings and improved protection for the trees, the wider environment and the public.
Yaron Karter, agronomist Ashdod municipality, Israel: “We grow palms and have to contend with the red palm weevil. Before Agrint, we sprayed randomly, not knowing if the tree would fall or not. Today we know if the tree is infected or not. We understand that through individual treatment we can save precious time and money and so are interested in a wider deployment.”