RPW under threat in the early 1980s with

RPW
is among the most highly destructive pest of palms. It has been reported to
infest ? 29 different
palm species belonging to Agavaceae and Arecaceae (Malumphy et al., 2009). The
susceptibility of different palm species towards RPW varies with the
geographical area. In Republic of China and India, RPW has been reported as
primary pest against coconut palm (Cocos nucifera). In Spain, Canary
Palm (Phoenix canariensis) is being reported as the most susceptible
palm species. However, the infestation of RPW in the Arabian Peninsula is
mainly responsible for the destruction of date palm plantations (Dembilio and
Jacas 2012). Their creamy white color larvae (grubs) are the most destructive
stage. These legless larvae feed on the succulent plant tissues that create
feeding galleries and move towards the center of the infested palms. Such
feeding pattern disrupts the vascular system of the infested palm resulting
toppling, collapse and death of the infested palm under severe attack (Hussain
et al., 2013). Saudi date palms came under threat in the early 1980s with the
arrival of the red palm weevil (RPW) (Rhynchophorus ferrugineus)
(Olivier) (Abraham et al., 2001). Infestations of RPW have been reported in
over 50% of the date palm growing countries, sparing none in the Middle East
(Faleiro, 2006).

7.3- Management of Red Palm Weevil by bio-control agents:

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Different
control measures that have been considered, including containment/destruction
of infested plants, biochemical and chemical pesticide treatments, biological
control, and sterile insect techniques have been only partially successful in
controlling the spread of RPW in Saudi Arabia (Prabhu et al. 2010) as has been
found also in other countries (Khalifa et al. 2004; Abbas 2010). The biocontrol
methods have interest in the few last years. (El-Sufty et al., 2007;
Güerri-Agulló et al., 2010). Several studies have been conducted on the natural
enemies of red palm weevil that might be successfully used as tools for its
biological control (Hanounik et al., 2000; Salama et al., 2004). There were
biological control agents against several insect pests as R. ferrugineus
(Sezen et al., 2005). Efforts to develop biological management of RPW, for
example, are only in their early stages (Abdullah 2009; Güerri-Agullo et al. ,
2010). Preliminary field trials suggest that an entomopathogenic fungus, Beauveria
bassiana, partially controls the RPW (Dembilio et al., 2010a). Naturally
occurring bio-control agents are alternative to reverse the use of hazardous
synthetic insecticides. Among these microorganisms, the use of entomopathogenic
fungi was found to be promising alternate for insects control. According to an
estimate, more than 700 species of fungi belonging to different genera are
known to infect insects. In the past, the potential of entomopathogenic fungi
especially Beauveria bassiana, Metarhizium anisopliae and Isaria
fumosorosea have been evaluated against different pests including Aphis
craccivora, Aedes aegypti, Bemisia argentifolii, Coptotermes
formosanus Shiraki, Melanoplus sanguinipes, Ocinara varians
Walker, Odontotermes obesus, Periplaneta Americana, Rhynchophorus
ferrugineus, Scolytus scolytus, Thrips tabaci (Hussain et
al., 2013). The relationship dynamics between insects and their microbiota may
improve the biological control of insect pests.