Vine Weevil

Garden Pests

Vine Weevil

Many gardeners are very afraid of this root-eating plant insect, and it’s not surprising because suddenly otherwise healthy looking plants collapse and die due to this pest. It is one of the most common and potentially devastating of all the garden pests.

Vine weevils are particularly damaging to your plants, because theirs can be a two-pronged attack.  The adults eat the leaves and grubs eat the roots. Furthermore, each adult can lay hundreds of eggs.

The vine weevil used to have a more discerning palate but nowadays they love a wide range of ornamental plants and fruits, especially those grown in containers. Adults feed mainly at night on the foliage of herbaceous plants and shrubs. Watch out especially for your Camellias, Rhododendron, Hydrangea, Bergenia and Fuchsias.

 

How to spotVine Weevil

Grubs are creamy-white, have no legs, light brown heads and are up to 10mm (about 3/8in) long. You can find them curled up in a ‘C’ shape among the roots.  Often the first signs of damage from the grubs can only be spotted once a plant completely wilts and dies during autumn to spring.

Adult vine weevil can’t fly but are able to climb easily.  You’ll spot their unsightly, although not yet fatal damage, by semi-circular notches eaten into the edges of leaves. They are incapable of making holes in the middle of leaves.  Holes in the middle of leaves are more likely to have been made by Slugs and Snails.  If you spot them, put a tray down below the plant and they will fall to the ground if slightly disturbed.  But the real damage from Vine Weevils are done by the grubs which feed on the roots.

 

Vine Weevil

 

How to treat

They are difficult to control once established because of their nocturnal behaviour. Try to encourage natural predators such as birds, frogs, toads, shrews, hedgehogs, and predatory ground beetles.

Shake shrubs over an upturned umbrella.  Dislodged adults will fall into the umbrella making them easy to dispose of.

 

Finally, keep looking for vine weevils once you think they have been eradicated, as you don’t want to let the number of pests to build up again.


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