Federal Order banning the import of palms aims to prevent introduction of 3 pests
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service issued a Federal Order in January to prohibit the importation of plants for planting which may host Rhynchophorus ferrugineus Olivier (red palm weevil), R. palmarum Linnaeus (giant palm weevil) and Bursaphelenchus cocophilus Cobb (red ring nematode). To prevent the introduction and dissemination of these plant pests into the United States, the Federal Order will be implemented Feb. 10.
Plants for planting affected by the order include the genera: Acrocomia, Astrocaryum, Attalea, Bactris, Brahea, Butia, Calamus, Chamerops, Desmoncus, Euterpe, Manicaria, Mauritia, Metroxylon, Oncosperma, Roystonea, Sabal and Washingtonia.
R. ferrugineus has rapidly spread throughout palm-growing regions of the Persian Gulf and Europe, and R. palmarum, along with its parasite, Bursaphelenchus cocophilus are widely distributed in tropical regions of Central and South America. These harmful palm pests have quickly spread to multiple countries through the nursery trade and have the potential to be a serious economic pest in palm-growing areas of the United Sates.
Infestation by these pests usually goes undetected until the damage is so severe that it generally results in the death of the host plants. All of these pests conceal themselves within the stems of their hosts and this characteristic makes detection difficult during port of entry inspection, especially in the absence of symptoms. These pests are not known to occur in the United States and are not known to be seed-transmitted.
Importation of plants for planting, with the exception of seed, will not be allowed until a pest risk analysis has been completed and appropriate effective mitigation measures have been established.