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The evasive Black Vine Weevil can and will eat most any plant, which can decimate production in a wholesale greenhouse or nursery.
Weevils are a type of beetle and this particular weevil is a member of the family Curculionidae, the largest family of insects known to date. The Black Vine Weevil actually hails from Europe, and is believed to have made its way to North America sometime in the mid-to-late 19 century. The 'nose' of the weevil is called a snout and it curves downward in front of the face, somewhat like an anteater. They are small beetles and nocturnal feeders, making it difficult at first to identify them as culprits in a plant's destruction. This species is black and covered in fine hairs. The body has ridges and appears bumpy. Females bore holes into stems or seeds and lay eggs in the summer. One female can lay hundreds of eggs so infestations can come about rapidly. Grubs (offspring) live underground until maturity.
The Black Vine Weevil is the known pest of an expansive variety of plants and it usually feeds at night. Leaves are chewed away, leaving gardeners and farmers to wonder what happened the next morning. Infestations are more common in large-scale perennial plant growing facilities than small backyard gardens. Occasionally home gardeners may find weevil grubs in purchased container plants. Adult Black Vine Weevils seem to prefer eating rhododendrons and yews, but have no problem eating their way through any myriad of plants that are in front of them. Their grubs will also destroy plants from underground as they eat away at roots and stems until the plant dies.
Scientific Name: Otiorrhynchus sulcatus
Size (Adult; Length): 3mm to 7mm (0.12in to 0.27in)
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Antennae: Beetles have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and mandibles (jaws).
Thorax: Holds the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
Elytron: One of two wing cases on a Beetle that protects its wings (plural: elytra).
Wings: Appendages used for flying and kept under the elytra until needed.
Abdomen: Houses organs related to circulation, reproduction, and excretion.
Legs: Beetles have three pairs of legs located at the thorax, numbering six legs in all.