Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority (ADAFSA) has made significant progress in controlling palm trees pests by implementing the integrated pest management system. During the first half of 2019, about 484,000 red palm weevils were trapped as part of intensive efforts to control this insect using pheromone traps. Almost half of the total red palm weevils were captured from Al Ain farms with about 284,100 insect, and about 156,300 weevils from Al Dhafra farms, while the other 43,700 weevils were trapped in Abu Dhabi farms. This brought the total number of red palm weevils that have been captured since the beginning of palm trees pest control program in 2013 to 7.99 million insect. Meanwhile, about 297,100 palm stem borer and fruit stalk borer were captured, raising the total number of insects have been trapped using light traps since May 2018 to 1.3 million.
Both pheromone and light traps have undergone maintenance for about 860,000 times, at a monthly rate of 123,000 pheromone trap for red palm weevil and 21,000 light trap for palm stem borer and fruit stalk borer.
ADAFSA is keen on encouraging farmers to implement the integrated management systems for palm trees services and educating them on how to take care of palm trees until harvesting its fruits. The authority also is implementing integrated pest control systems for palm trees according to the results of the comprehensive survey of date palms' farms in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. The survey, which covered 6.8 million palm trees in 22,666 farms, aimed at detecting palm trees infested with red palm weevils, borers and other pests.
The ADAFSA's extension centers regularly conduct a survey on pests of date palms throughout the year to monitor and control pests attacking palm trees in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. The survey conducted during the first half of 2019 showed that about 50,000 dead and severely infected palm trees have been chopped up in about 1,590 farms in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Al Dhafra. This aims at discarding damaged palm trees, eliminating their pests, promoting integrated pest management, and using these trees in producing organic fertilizer, as chopped tree are being transferred to organic fertilizers production plants to be re-produced as organic fertilizer.
Furthermore, ADAFSA conducts a survey on Abu Dhabi farms to control pests of lesser date moth and date palm dust mite. These pests were controlled by the extension centers' teams who visited all the emirate's farms. About 1.48 million palm trees infested with lesser date moth, 2.1 million trees infested with dust mite, and 240,000 others infested with both pests were treated. Moreover, some 77,000 palm trees infested with red palm weevil and 550,000 others infested with borers were treated using injection technology in the first half of 2019.
ADAFSA stressed that pest control program mainly aims at reducing the spread of major pests affecting palm trees in all farms of Abu Dhabi Emirate, limiting the use of chemical pesticides to preserve the environment, building a database for major palm trees pests in Abu Dhabi, raising awareness about the best agricultural practices to reduce trees' infection, and controlling agricultural pests by conducting the necessary surveys on the emirate's farms.
ADAFSA further noted that the program seeks to control the main palm trees pests, namely red palm weevils, long-horn stem borer, fruit stalk borer, lesser date moth and date palm dust mite. The integrated pest management features several programs, including a program for injecting and spraying palm trees infested with red palm weevils and borers; a program for detecting and spraying farms infested with lesser date moth and date palm dust mite; a program for uprooting and chopping dry, dead and palm trees severely infested with red palm weevils and borers; a program for fumigating with palm trees with agricultural sulfur as a preventive measure against pests; and a program for monitoring the density of insects using traps (intensive program for capturing red palm weevils using pheromone, monitoring lesser date moth, trapping borers using light traps).
Palm trees are one of the most important agricultural resources in the UAE and a key element for food security. Therefore, ADAFSA is keen to implement a strategy to control palm pests in an environment-friendly manner and according to integrated pest management's standards, to reduce economic damage caused by pests and protect ecosystem from indiscriminate use of agricultural pesticides, which promotes sustainable agricultural development in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.