THINGS YOU OUGHT TO KNOW ABOUT WEEVILS
There is no other name of a creature that can send chills down my spine than the name “weevil”. And once you get to encounter one of these beetles, the spine chilling effect doubles down. They can be described as not so good looking creatures, with snouts and large eyes. Being ugly is not just what they are here in this world; their job is to become nuisance pests because, you know, we cannot have enough pests in this world.
Weevils are tiny insects, less than 6 mm long. They are red, brown, grey, or black in color. One of the distinguishing characteristics of weevils is their two spurs found on the femur of each of their front legs. There are more than 60,000 species of weevils and from different families. The most common of these families is the Curculionidae family, where the true weevils belong.
Weevils as pests
As mentioned earlier, weevils are equipped with long snouts attached to their heads. These snouts are used for boring holes on rice, corn, cereals, sugar, powdered milk, grains, pasta, timber, and flour. Their mouths are at the end of their snout, and they are dark in color. Weevils are a known nuisance for homeowners because they attack homes in great numbers and ruin our stored dry foods. They pass through small openings around the house. But the most common way we get weevils at home is through the boxed dry foods that we have just bought from the grocery.
Weevils are also agricultural pests. The damage and kill crops like corn, grain, and cotton. They are also garden pests because they can kill your garden plants.
Types of weevils
Weevils are nuisance pests. But they are more than just an annoyance. Weevils can damage crops, as well as stored dried foods in our households. Let us discuss some of the types of weevils and how to get rid of this pest.
- Boll weevil – Boll weevils feed on buds and little balls of cotton. Their diet is mainly made up of the cotton plant that which results in reduced fibers of plants. That is why they are such troublemakers in all parts of the world. The size of the boll weevils is usually 6 mm in length. They have a long snout and are grayish in color. They got their name “boll weevils” from their penchant for laying their eggs in the boll of the cotton plant. Because of this, they cause huge damage to cotton crops. They are originally from Mexico, and came to the United States in the 19th century and immediately attacked all cotton-growing areas during the early 20th century. Fortunately, boll weevils can feed only on cotton plants. If you are not growing cotton, then you are safe from them. They hibernate during winters; before they do, they first produce many offspring.
- Flour weevil – This is another type of very destructive weevil. As their name suggests, the flour weevils are found in places where they are near flour. They belong to the family Tenebrionidae. They are not really weevils even if their name has the word “weevil” attached to it. They are actually beetles. The size of this type of beetle is 3 to 4 mm. They are ovoid in shape and their bodies have a metallic touch in appearance and a reddish-brown color. They also have two pairs of wings, They attack not only flour, but also nuts, cereals, and dried fruit. They can be found any place where there are humans, be it in our homes, in the groceries, and even in the mills that manufacture such dry foods. The presence of humans always means there is food. They create so many problems, either dead or alive. Their bodies produce a foul smell when they die which effectively damages the dry foods.
- Rice weevils – Also known as Sitophilus Oryzae, rice weevils are tiny insects found in rice, flour, and other grains. The size of adult rice weevils are only 2 to 3 mm in length. Their color could be from reddish-brown to black. Their snouts are long, about 1 mm. These rice weevils use their snouts to boreholes not only on rice but also in cereals or grains. If you find rice weevils on your rice, pour hot water on it. You will then see the dead weevils floating. Do this when you are about to cook the rice. They do not bite humans, nor give us any medical problems. They are just nuisance pests.
- Bean weevil – Bean weevils are also known as Acanthoscelides obtectus. Like the flour weevils, they are not true weevils, but rather they are seed beetles. They also do not have snouts, which is the basic feature of a weevil. They have compact and oval shaped bodies. They are very hairy and their colors are black, brown, or pale olive. Their size range from 1 mm to 2 mm and have slightly rounder bodies as compared to rice and wheat weevils. They consume anything that is available. Adult bean weevils lay their eggs on seeds, which the larvae chew ongoing into these seeds. Signs of their presence is finding empty bean covers that they have already consumed.
- Wheat weevil – They are known as Sitophilus granaries. They also go by the name grain weevil. They are three to five mm in length, chewing mouthparts, and again, that elongated snout. These kinds of weevils are unable to fly due to their immature wings. This is the reason they could only eat stored foods and not those in the fields. Adult female weevils can produce as many as 6,000 0ffsprings a year. As an act of self defense, adult weevils play dead when they are threatened.
- Black vine weevil – Also known as Otiorhynchus sulcatus, the black vine weevils feed on ornamental plants. Their size is about 12 mm in length and has ovoid bodies covered with lots of hair. They come in brown or gray in color. They have short snouts and antennae attached to their heads. They are nocturnal and they do not fly. They feed on plants, shrubs, trees, and herbs.
- Rose weevil – They are also known as Merhynchites bicolor. Rose weevils are about 5 to 6 mm in length and has a red and black color. They can drill holes using their pointed snout. They are called as such because they eat mainly flowers, especially roses. Not only do the adult rose weevils feed on flower petals, but their larvae too. They are a serious threat to horticulturists.
- White Pine weevil – Also known as Pissodes strobi, white pine weevils are 6 to 7 mm long in size, with white and brown colored scales. They have long snouts. They feed on spruce and pine trees, as their name suggests.
- Cowpea weevil – Cowpea are also known as Callosobruchus maculatus. These weevils are ⅛ inch long, reddish brown with gray marks. They look like weevils, but they are not. They have short snouts and feed largely on cowpeas. They have chewing mouthparts which they use for eating cowpeas, beans and peas. These places are also where they lay their eggs. If you see round holes on those peas, then you have cowpea weevils in your area.
How to control the weevil population
If you think you have weevils at home, do not tolerate their presence. Getting rid of them should be a priority because of they more than just being a nuisance, they can cause economic damages as well. Here are some tips on how to control weevils:
- Seal off all cracks and openings in your house by caulking. These cracks can be used as entry points for the tiny weevil.
- Store dry foods like grains, rice, pasta, flour, and dried fruits inside a sealed plastic or metal container. Weevils can bore holes in cardboard containers.
- You may use a piece of cloth as a trap. Get a piece of cloth and pour water on it so it would be damp enough. Place this damp cloth in areas that you find plenty of weevils within your house. Weevils will be attracted to it. Once you find enough weevils on the cloth, wash them away with water. Repeat as necessary.
- Put your stored food that has been infested with weevils in a freezer. Freezing kills the weevils. You should put these items in the freezer in a ziplock and let it stay for at least a week. This will surely kill the weevils and their eggs.
- Buy dry food products only as much as you need. Storing too much of these items would attract more weevils in your kitchen cupboard.
- Finally, inspect the dry foods at the grocery store before buying. You would not know if the packages were already infested by weevils until you inspect them.
If you think you already have weevil infestation that is too much to handle, do not worry. The best pest control management in North Carolina is just a phone call away. Go-Forth Pest Control will do all the dirty work for you and take care of all your pest problems.