In the garden: A wide range of ornamental plants, shrubs, conifers and small trees
On Crops: Soft fruits
Throughout UK and Europe
Vine weevils are long-nosed beetles around 9mm in length. They are a major pest of many different indoor and outdoor plants. The adults cannot fly and are dull black in colour with ginger patches of hairs over their pear-shaped ribbed wing cases. They are usually nocturnal and feed on leaves, creating distinctive notches around the leaf margins. All adult black vine weevil are female and can lay over 500 eggs through late spring and over the summer months. Eggs are very small (less than 1mm diameter) which hatch into small C-shaped white larvae. The larvae live underground and feed on plant roots, often causing serious damage to their many different host plants. Feeding continues up until early autumn after which the larvae remain dormant in the soil throughout the winter months. During spring, the larvae begin feeding again and soon become adults that vacate the soil to begin egg laying.
Adult vine weevil usually feed nocturnally and produce notched holes around the edges of host plant leaves. Vine weevil larvae feed on host plant roots and will also ‘girdle’ the under soil stems. Plants will often wilt when attacked by vine weevil larvae. Severe damage will result in plant death.
Where vine weevils might occur it is advisable to check areas at dusk during spring and summer months. Adults can often be found feeding on the leaves of susceptible plants and shrubs as well as resting on walls and fences. Adults can easily be collected and removed by hand.
Where vine weevil are occurring in potted plants, parasitic nematodes can be applied to the soil. These are most effective from August to September. Applying nematodes to infested potting soil in the spring is questionable since the larvae will be coming to the end of their life stage and will soon be emerging as adult vine weevils.
When acquiring new pot plants for the garden, it is always worth removing the pot and checking the root area first to ensure that vine weevil larvae are not present before planting out.