The large pine weevil has been destroying forest plantations for decades, but new technology and research might put an end to it. An EU financed project for industrialized waxing of seedlings has just started.
The pine weevil is an insect feeding on young conifer trees and killing them. Every year, plants and forests at a value of €140 million is killed when the weevil eats the bark of the unprotected young trees. But there are ways to reduce the pine weevil attacks – either with chemicals or by physical means.
Chemicals currently available for protection are toxic - not only for people handling them but also for animals and aquatic systems.
Physical protection creates a barrier that prevents the insect from feeding on the planted young tree without using insecticides.
Over a period of three years, the WeevilSTOP project will improve an existing insecticide free method for wax coating of conifer seedlings.
The manual application of wax on the stem of the seedlings will be optimized and automated, resulting in higher plant protection against pine weevil attacks, better work conditions and quicker and more efficient process at the nurseries. This will bring major financial benefits for the European forestry associations and their members as well as nursery owners.
The research and results taken forward in the WeevilSTOP project as received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme managed by REA Research Executive Agency http://ec.europa.eu/research/rea(FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement no 315404.
For more information about the project, please contact Jarl Markus Pettersen at Norsk Wax AS.