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Beetle That Has Killed Palm Trees In San Diego County Could Spread

Photo credit: Courtesy of CISR, UC Riverside

A Canary Island date palm in San Ysidro that was killed by the South American palm weevil is pictured in this undated photo.

Beetle That Has Killed Palm Trees In San Diego County Could Spread

GUESTS:

Mark Hoddle, director, Center for Invasive Species Research at UC Riverside

Transcript

The South American palm weevil has already toppled dozens of palm trees in the Sweetwater Summit regional park in Bonita. The insect, which is native to Mexico, Central and South America, is new to the U.S. It has already destroyed hundreds of palms in Baja California.

Entomologist Mark Hoddle, director of the Center for Invasive Species Research at UC Riverside has been studying and tracking the South American palm weevil. In lab studies, Hoddle said, the weevil was able to fly up to 15 miles a day. The weevils have been found about three miles from the Mexican border in San Diego County.

"We don't know how far the weevil has spread out of Tijuana, but we do know that it's spread at least as far North as Chula Vista, there in San Diego County, but we don't know how far East or West of those Chula Vista finds that the weevil has spread," Hoddle said.

Hoddle said the spread of the palm weevil could possibly be stopped with properly applied pesticides.

He and his colleagues at UC Riverside are asking the public to help track the spread of the weevil in Southern California.

Hoddle joined Midday Edition Tuesday to discuss the threat the palm weevil poses.

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