Abu Dhabi: The Abu Dhabi Farmers’ Services Centre (ADFSC) has managed to trap about two million red palm weevils from farms in Abu Dhabi Emirate during the first half of 2013.

The initiative is part of the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Project to manage pests like red palm weevil that attack palm tree while minimising use of pesticides and instead catching the pests by using traps.

The project is being implemented by ADSFC in coordination with Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA) and will continue until the end of 2014, an ADFSC press release said on Tuesday.

The Project covers all farms in Abu Dhabi — estimated to be 23,050. About 118,797 pheromone traps have been installed in the farms following correct scientific practices.

The project aims to collect real data on the red palm weevil and any similar pests. Instead of using pesticides, the pests are lured to a trap by the use of naturally occurring hormones, where they can be captured and then destroyed.

This method is much better for the environment and the date fruits being produced.

The red palm weevil is one of the major pests that attack date palms in the Arabian Gulf. The insects lay their eggs on the date palm and then the larvae that develop burrow into the tree and severely hinder its growth.

Christopher Hirst, ADFSC CEO, said: “The difficulty is to detect this insect at an early stage before it lays its eggs and before the severe damage to palm trees and date yield occurs.”

He said the increasing number of attacks by this pest prompted the Abu Dhabi Government to reassess previous control programs which relied primarily on pesticides and to initiate alternate preventive measures such as the pheromone traps installation.

The project is monitored by a team of agricultural engineers supported by a team of trained staff and supervisors who are equipped with all tools and means to guarantee the success and continuity of the project in all regions of the Abu Dhabi Emirate.

The ADFSC has allocated experienced engineers to supervise 31 work teams. Each team is composed of a controller and four staff members to implement the campaign and is allocated a vehicle equipped with a GPS device to increase the supervisors’ capacity to follow-up and track work accurately.

Moreover, every team was given a tablet computer to enter and analyse data electronically instead of using the traditional manual way, to reduce the possibilities of human errors.