Sunday, November 28th | 24 Kislev 5782

February 22, 2015 8:45 pm

Germany to Send Israel Billions of Worms to Fight Against Pests

avatar by David Daoud

Germany is sending Israel billions of worms to combat beetles affecting palm trees. PHOTO: Wikipedia.

42 billion worms will be making their way from Germany to Israel, as part of the Jewish state’s campaign to combat the palm weevil beetle naturally, Israel’s 0404 news website reported on Sunday.

The beetle has spread across Israel, at a high economic cost to local authorities, and creating a danger to humans, with the risk that infected date trees might collapse and fall on them.

Chemical methods for dealing with the beetle are toxic to humans and other animals, in addition to causing no harm to the beetle when they are already burrowed deep within the palm trees. Additionally, the beetle was able to gradually develop a resistance to the chemicals, so it became necessary to continuously increase the strength of the insecticide.  This Sisyphean task led many communities to give up on saving the palm trees, despite the trees beautifying the towns.

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The operation to eradicate the beetle is being led by Bio-Bee of Kibbutz Sde Eliahu, which specializes in biological control measures in the fields of agriculture and landscaping. As part of the operation, nematode worms will be spread about in every palm tree. These worms will search for the beetle larvae and consume them. In contrast to the insecticides, the nematodes are not dangerous to humans or animals, and can thus be safely used even in urban areas.

The campaign will also use special traps from Spain, which emit the smell of an infected tree. The beetles will be attracted to the smell, enter the trap, and then drown in it. The trap was used in the Canary Islands, which suffered from the same beetles, and was very successful.

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