A Real Alien Invasion Is Coming to a Palm Tree Near You | Deep Look

by birtanpublished on September 13, 2020

ah Southern California you know the whole Surf's Up Tinseltown sun-soaked glamour thing too bad this idyllic landscape is mostly make-believe take the palm trees they're not even real trees they're more closely related

To grass and they're imported like this Canary Island date palm it came halfway around the world to be one of the more dazzling stars in the landscape but this Hollywood success story is turning into a horror movie

this little monster is the South American calm weevil scientists first found it in San Diego in 2011 weevils are just beetles with snouts this female uses hers as a drill to get at the palms

Apical meristem it's a bowl of juicy goodness at the top where the leaves sprout she lays her eggs down in those tunnels and her spawn eat the palm from the inside out starting with its heart that's right it's the same stuff you can

Get at a supermarket they'll turn this palms healthy flesh into a rotting mess that smells like a dumpster in the Sun once they're big enough the larvae will spend cigar shaped cocoons from the leftover fibers

They can't eat as the trees fronds starve and die the larvae hang out and just state morphing into pupae and yeah that's just man that's gross as adults they burst

Out take flights and seek out a new host leaving behind the dying hollow shell and the once majestic palm mark huddle at UC Riverside is tracking the weevil infestation he puts them on a kind of aerial treadmill in his lab to

Test their stamina he's trying to figure out how they got here whether they hitched a ride on imported palms or made the trip themselves turns out they can fly up to 15 miles a day enough to hopscotch from palm to palm on their own

The only way to stop them treat every palm tree in their path with pesticides before the weevils get there that'll be tough to do so these particular botanical icons could be on the fast track to being just another Hollywood

Has been these weevils are pretty gnarly so we asked Anna Rothschild from gross science to do those animations for us thanks Anna you're welcome it's my pleasure I love gross stuff so there is one other

Way to manage these larvae sort of a biological control which people do in some places like Thailand Peru and Ghana and to Massa jitters eating bugs mmm tasty so hop over to my channel for a whole episode about it and thanks for

Watching this deep look you

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