What are Garden Weevils and How to Get Rid of them
The Garden Weevil (Phlyctinus callosus), also known as the Banded Fruit Weevil and Vine Snout Beetle, is an introduced insect pest from South Africa. Garden Weevils can cause major damage to the above and below ground parts of edible and non-edible plants. To protect your plants from damage, it’s important to control, prevent and monitor for Garden Weevils.
Garden Weevils are small, typically 7 mm in length. They have a hardened body that is elongated and oval shaped, in a mottled grey-brown colour, covered in short light-brown hairs.
At the front of the body is the head, with an extended and downward facing snout. At the front and underside of the snout are chewing mouthparts. Further upwards, along the snout, are a pair of short, bent and segmented antennae. Further along are a pair of large, dark-brown, compound eyes.
Behind the head is the first segment (pronotum) of the middle section of the body (thorax). Attached to the underside of the pronotum is the first pair of legs. The other two pairs of legs are further along on the underside of the thorax. Legs are used for walking and climbing. At the tip of each leg are small hooked claws which help with climbing and gripping.
On the upper side and rear section of the body are two hardened wing cases which are fused and remain closed, rendering Garden Weevils flightless. The rear section (abdomen) is bulbous with a pointed tip. Across the upper and rear abdomen is a prominent, light-brown, horizontal, V-shaped band.
As a defence behaviour, when disturbed, adults will ‘play-dead’ by dropping to the ground and tucking in their legs and antennae and remaining very still.
After mating, females lay eggs in batches of 20. Eggs are laid in leaf litter and other debris and also on or near the soil. Eggs are oval shaped and 0.9 mm long. When first laid, eggs are cream-coloured, then age to black.
After 6 - 15 days the eggs hatch, larvae emerge and burrow into the soil. Larvae are 6mm long, cream-coloured, wrinkly and grub-like, with a distinct orange to medium-brown head capsule. Larvae are legless and have chewing mouthparts. Larvae develop in up to 11 larval stages (instars), and cast skins (moult) at each stage.
At the final instar, larvae form a chamber in the soil where they develop into soft and white pupa, aging to whitish-brown and developing 2 large black eyes. After pupating for 1 - 3 weeks, adults emerge in mid-spring and may survive through to winter. Garden Weevils generally have 1 generation per year, however may have 2 if surrounding plants are well irrigated.
Garden Weevils feed on various plants such as fruit trees, crops, grasses, shrubs and succulents.
Garden Weevils prefer warm and moist environments.
Garden Weevils are most active during the night and hide throughout the day in areas such as underneath loose bark, in the junction of stems, in bunches of fruit, in curled up leaves, under mulch, leaf litter and other debris.
Birds, frogs, reptiles mammals and certain species of nematodes and fungi.