Weevils are a type of beetle. Adult weevils eat plants leaves during the spring and summer months. However, weevil larvae that feast on plant roots over the fall and winter can actually prove most destructive.
Dealing with a Weevil Problem
Weevils are about one-third of an inch long, light grey in color, and have a “V” marking on their wings. Although they have wings, weevils do not fly. Weevils are also capable of living for up to two years.
Weevil larvae are roughly the same length as adult weevils, have no legs, and are green in color. Eggs are white when they are laid, and turn black before hatching.
Weevils feed on the foliage and roots of many garden plants, especially vegetables. If they have a way to enter, they can become a problem for indoor growers, as well. Larvae as well as adults both feed on many types of vegetable and ornamental crops. The “vine weevil” is a type of weevil that is especially a problem for plants grown in containers.
Weevils are most active in the evening hours. If you wish to spot them, we recommend that you head into your garden at night with a flashlight, as they will be difficult to spot during the day.
Getting Rid of Weevils
As mentioned, we recommend heading into your garden at night and using a flashlight to locate the weevils. Wearing gloves, manually remove the adult insects, larvae and eggs, and place into a container of soapy water to destroy. If an entire plant or row of crops are entirely infested, we recommend complete removal and destruction of the whole plant to prevent the spreading of the insects.
Crop rotation can help prevent weevil infestations. Remember to never plant the same crop in the same spot for consecutive years, and always rotate fruits and vegetables with nitrogen-fixing crops on in-between years to allow your soil to recover. It is recommended to allow at least three years before planting a crop back in the same spot, in order to allow soil sufficient time for nutrient recovery.
When planting plants susceptible to weevils – such as:
It can be helpful to mix in plants that repel weevils, such as bay leaf or alliums. Just bear in mind that alliums cannot be planted alongside peas or beans.
Reminder: Maintaining a garden that is clear of debris is critical for keeping pests at bay.
Barrier control methods such as row covers can be another way to prevent damage from weevils and other flying insects. Construction of a simple row cover can be achieved through the combination of a sturdy, weatherproof fabric draped across PVC or aluminum piping.
Sticky traps (affiliate link) can be purchased online or from many local garden supply centers and are another method of preventing weevils (and other crawling insects) from moving from plant to plant throughout your garden.
An organic method of pest control that is effective against weevils is D.E., or diatomaceous earth (affiliate link), which is the fossilized remains of an ancient form of algae. These razor-sharp shards are deadly to many soft-bodied insects but harmless to mammals. Sprinkle onto the soil and repeat after rainfall or watering. Use caution not to inhale.
Conquering weevils can be a bit frustrating, but hang in there – with a few steps of prevention, and a bit of maintenance, the weevils will be history. As always, do not hesitate to let us know if you have any questions or tips or tricks to share!