What Are Weevils?
Weevils are part of the beetle family, which makes up 40% of the insect world. For the most part, weevils have the same hard, dark bodies that beetles do, and go through the same life cycle. However, they stand out from other beetles because of their long snouts. You can find weevils outside on trees and landscape plants, but they may also find their way indoors to feast on grains and flours in your pantry.
What Do Weevils Look Like?
There are many types of weevils, so their appearance will vary depending on the species. However, most of them share these common characteristics:
- 2 antennae
- 6 legs
- Wings (flight abilities vary by species)
- Typically 1/8 to 1/4 inch long
- Long snout
- Weevils are diverse and vary widely in appearance depending on the species, ranging from dull to brightly colored.
Signs of Weevils
Weevils can become a serious problem for your landscape plants. Look for these 2 main signs if you suspect you have weevils:
- Leaves will appear scalloped or marginally notched. A large infestation may even consume the leaves entirely, leaving only the main vein. This is a sign of adult feeding, and precautions will need to be taken to prevent future plant feeding by larvae, which can cause more plant damage than adults.
- Stunted growth and yellowing, wilted leaves. This happens because small weevil larvae (also known as grubs) will eat feeder roots of plants and will go on to consume larger roots as they grow.
There are several species of weevils that thrive on stored grain. Some of the most destructive species include the rice weevil, maize weevil, and granary weevil.
Finding holes in your rice or grain is a good indicator that you might have weevils in your pantry. This happens because female grain weevils use their strong mandibles to chew a hole into a kernel of grain to lay an egg. Then they seal the kernel and repeat this process. Some species will lay 300-400 eggs per female, quickly destroying large amounts of grain.
The best way to control weevils outside is to kill the adults because the larvae are often hidden in the soil and are more protected. If you spot weevils crawling on your plants then you know what the problem is. If you’re having a hard time spotting one, then place some cardboard under your tree or shrub and shake it to see if weevils fall out. When they fall they will act dead but don’t fall for their trick.
To kill weevils for real, treat them with Ortho® Insect, Mite & Disease 3-in-1 or Ortho® BugClear™ Insect Killer for Lawns & Landscapes. Be sure to always follow the label directions.
Grain weevils are harmless to people, so they’re more of a nuisance than a threat. Here’s what to do if you find grain weevils in your pantry:
- Throw out any food that may have been contaminated.
- Remove everything from your cabinets or pantry so you can deep-clean the shelves.
- Be sure to throw away shelf liners and thoroughly clean surfaces.
- Vacuum around edges, corners, and around molding - don’t leave a single grain behind.
- Once everything is clean and you’re ready to restock, store food in tightly sealed containers made of glass or hard plastic.
If your pantry pest lacks the signature long snout of a weevil, then you may be dealing with flour beetles. Read this article for ways to identify and get rid of flour beetles.