Palm borer

Boring into trunks, this damaging palm tree pest originated in S America but has spread to Southern Europe.

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  • Paysandisia archon eggs (5mm) are elongated and rose-brown
  • Adult larvae (9cm) are rose-white grubs with brown head shield
  • Reddish-brown pupae emerge from 6cm cocoon - made from palm tree fibres
  • Adult wingspan is size of human hand. 
  • Greenish brown forewings have brown stripes while hindwings are orange-red with black horizontal stripe and 6 white spots
  • Female have conspicuous ovipositor

Life cycle

  • Palm Borer moths are active during summer
  • Females lay about 140 eggs - on palm fibers, near the crown
  • Larvae hatch within 2 to 3 weeks and bore in to the truck
  • Pupal stage emerges 2.5 weeks later and lasts 1.5 to 2.5 months – depending on when cocoon initiated
  • Larvae hibernate once or twice – has one-year (13 month) or two-year (23 month) cycle

Damage caused

  • Easy to recognise adult palm borer and larval feeding damage
  • Sawdust - visible in crown and on stems
  • Perforated leaves and galleries inside stems
  • Abnormal leaf buds and twisted stems
  • Affected palm trees dry out and wilt


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