Fighting the Red Palm Weevil — Dr. Mark Hoddle Shares His Expertise

Dr. Mark Hoddle, Entomologist and Director of the Center for Invasive Species Research at the University of California Riverside, shared his experience with Tunisian peer researchers on how the red palm weevil, considered to be the world’s most serious palm pest, was eradicated from Southern California.   Dr. Hoddle highlighted that the success of the Southern California experience was thanks to the cooperation between local and federal agencies, the researchers of UC Riverside, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, homeowners, and palm enthusiasts.   Dr. Hoddle cautioned that Tunisia will need to fight the red palm weevil’s existence in the greater Tunis area and to contain its spread to the South. This is especially important given that 12% of Tunisians depend on date farming.  During his presentation, Dr. Hoddle shared how his lab has undertaken experiments to efficiently fight this pest, and also discussed the experiences of other countries in fighting the red palm weevil.