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Invasive species is pestering Europe’s rich

Invasive species is pestering Europe’s rich

Invasive species is pestering Europe’s rich
March 24, 2007

An invasive species is causing mounting concern among rich Europeans according to an article in today’s edition of The Wall Street Journal

Rhynchophorus ferrugineus, a palm weevil native to southeast Asia, is decimating ornamental palms across the Mediterranean, reportedly killing more than 10,000 in Spain. Palms, especially Canary and date palms, are often planted around luxurious villas and resorts, notes the article. Each mature Canary palm tree might cost as much as $50,000 to replace.

The pest apparently arrived in Europe through the importation of hundreds of thousands of palms from Egypt, where weevils may infest as much as 15 percent of the country’s palms. Today palms in Cyprus, Greece, Turkey, Italy, France, and Syria, and the Mediterranean islands from Corsica and Sardinia to Sicily and Crete have been infected.

The Journal reports that locals are employing a number of methods to eliminate the weevil but that “no palm pest is as aggressive and difficult to tame as the inch-long Rhynchophorus ferrugineus.”

Invasive species have long been considered a significant economic problem. In the United States, the economic cost of invasive species — in terms of the damage they do and the expense of controlling them — is estimated at $137 billion a year, according to a study by Cornell University in 1999.

CITATION: “The Swaying Palms Of the Costa del Sol Meet the Beetles” by Amir Efrati of The Wall Street Journal. March 24, 2007

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