Garden weevil is a beetle that feeds on a wide range of plants, both indoors and outdoors, but can be especially damaging to plants grown in containers.
It is a very widespread and common insect. The adult weevils eat leaves during spring and summer, but it is the grubs that can cause the most damage over autumn and winter when they feed on plant roots. This damage can result in wilting and plant death.
These weevils are pests of over 100 plants, ranging from weeds to shrubs to greenhouse plants. Some of the common host plants in Maryland include azalea, holly, strawberry, rhododendron, yew, and grape.
When weevils are present in low numbers only a few notches on the edges of leaves will be apparent. If many weevils are present, the leaves are often scalloped and left with only the main vein.
The grubs are highly destructive to plants. When small, grubs consume feeder roots. Larger grubs feed on larger roots, stripping the bark and sometimes girdling the plant crown. This blocks the flow of water and nutrients to the foliage.
Infested plants have stunted growth; leaves turn yellow and then wilt.
How to prevent:
1 Quarantine or dispose of any soil from pots where vine weevil have been found. Don't reuse this or throw on the garden because it may still contain vine weevil eggs, larvae or pupae.
2Remove plants that have unexplainably wilted and died and examine the roots. If they appear eaten, then search the surrounding soil and destroy any vine weevil larvae that you find.
3 Look for leaf edge notching on garden plants to indicate where adult vine weevils are feeding. Then treat the surrounding soil with nematodes during the summer months to control any larvae that appear.
4 Avoid using broad spectrum insecticides which will kill soil-dwelling predators of vine weevil larvae, such as centipedes and carab beetles.
5 Encourage insectivorous birds by hanging feeders in winter and provide nesting boxes in spring.
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