Weevils are a type of beetle that attacks over 100 different species of plants. These tiny bugs can cause multiple problems in your garden, regardless of indoors or outdoors.
Prevention is the best course of action to avoid problems caused by weevils. Some safe ways to prevent and remove weevils from your outdoor garden include adding organic material to your soil, using insecticides, manual removal, and encouraging natural predators.
Ok. Let’s get down too it. We’re going to take a look at some simple and easy ways to keep pesky weevil beetles out of your garden.
What Are Weevils?
There are thousands of different species of weevils, which are a type of tiny non-flying beetle with a snout-like mouth.
Kind of sounds like they’re flying pigs by that description but rest assured – they are not.
A few common types of weevils you might find in your garden or home include:
- Boll weevil – found on cotton plants
- Rice weevil – found on wheat, oats, rye, corn or other grains
- Black vine weevil – found on plants, shrubs, trees, or herbs
- Rose weevil – found on flowers
- White pine weevil – eats spruce, pine, lodgepole pines, and black spruce
As you can see, different species target specific types of plants. They also consume different parts of the crop. As adults, weevils chew on the plant stems and leaves, leaving behind holes and damage. Thankfully, plants are able to stay healthy overall where
The severe threat comes from weevil larvae, which live in the ground and feed on the plant roots. Lavare starts as white eggs that turn black before they hatch. Over time, the plants can collapse and die.
How to Prevent Weevils in Your Garden
With the proper preparation and work, you can stop weevil infestations before they even occur!
Keep Your Garden Neat
One of the most natural things you can do to keep weevils out of your garden is to keep things neat.
First off, it’ll look MUCH nicer.
Secondly, adult weevils look for hiding places, such as under mulch, compost, weeds, or other debris lying around your garden.
Dispose of any dead plants or weeds once you pull them out of your garden. Make sure to also get rid of any mulch or compost piles. You should also avoid excessive watering of your plants as weevils are attracted to water.
Their fondness for liquid can be a blessing and a curse. It is a negative in that you can’t keep containers that have water just sitting around your plants.
If you’re collecting rainwater, you’ll need to make sure this is done in an area separate from your garden. But it is positive that you can use a pan of water to lure weevils from your plants.
Practicing proper crop rotation and cultivating your soil to get rid of weevil larvae also helps prevent reinfestation. Also, prune any low lying leaves and stems that are touching the ground.
Add Barriers to Your Garden
One of the best ways to keep weevils off of your plants is to put up some barriers. Many growers like to use row covers, which can be an easy DIY project. All you need is some sturdy, weatherproof fabric, and piping such as PVC or aluminum.
Check out this helpful video for an easy way to build your own garden cover.
You can also use protectants such as Tanglefoot Tangle-Trap Sticky Coating to secure your plants. These traps keep weevils from moving between plants, but they don’t prevent the pests from inhabiting your garden unfortunately.
You can also wrap your plant stems with sticky tape. Clear Scotch tape is one option. But some gardeners also like to use Tanglefoot Tangle Guard Banding Material, which protects your plants from insects, sun damage, and rodents.
Encourage Safe Predators
Weevils are often the prey of larger predators like woodpeckers, birds, frogs, hedgehogs, ladybugs, and praying mantises.
Encouraging these types of enemies is a natural and safe way to get rid of weevils inhabiting your garden.
Attract birds by setting up bird feeders or birdbaths like the Alpine Corporation 3-Tiered Pedestal Water Fountain and Bird Bath can help keep weevils under control if set up close to your garden. For the best results, make sure that your bath has a bubbler, so the water has ripples (which makes it difficult for the weevils to settle.)
Additionally, birds are also more attracted to water that moves! You’ll more than likely get more birds landing in the area if you combine a birdbath and a bird feeder together nearby.
Honestly, it sounds like a pretty good set up for them!
Yes, that’s right. Chickens are natural predators of weevils!
If you have a chicken coop or live on a farm with chickens nearby, you may have some luck in letting the chickens roam around your garden for sometime.
Of course, you’ll want to keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t run off, but the idea is that the chickens will assist in taking care of your weevil problem for you.
In general, chickens will eat many of the different small bugs they find, especially if they’re free-range chickens who are given the opportunity to graze and roam out in a field.
Treat Your Plants With Insecticides
Insecticides are a great way to prevent and treat infestations of weevils. When picking a pesticide, you can use either natural or chemical products
When applying pesticides to your plants, wait until nighttime, as this is when weevils will be most active.
Although many biological insecticides are harmless to humans, you should still use caution when handling, including wearing gloves and a face covering to protect your mouth.
If you don’t have experience applying at home insecticides or pesticides, make sure you contact a professional to assist in getting the job done!
Types of Biological Insecticides
The thought of using chemicals can be a real turnoff for some people. Generally, when the chemical route isn’t a truly viable option, some individuals turn to natural or biological treatments to get rid of weevils.
One of the easiest and most effective ways to prevent weevils and other pests in your garden is to add Diatomaceous Earth to the soil around your plants.
Diatomaceous Earth is made of diatoms, which are fossilized algae that have been broken down into small white shards that humans shouldn’t inhale. Diatomaceous Earth can be an effective repellent to many crawling insects, including weevils.
In general, you’ll want to apple diatomaceous earth on the dirt around your plants to provide a protective barrier against weevils. Repeat application after waterings and rainfall, as this powder is not waterproof and will disintegrate when wet.
Of course, make sure to read all of the information listed on the product label for specific instructions – but a good place to start is with Safer Diatomaceous Earth-Bed Bug Flea, Ant, Crawling Insect Killer.
BotaniGard is a product that contains natural fungus, Beauveria bassiana Strain GHA. You apply this treatment to your plants as soon as you notice an infection. Better yet, safe to use on a variety of different plants.
It can take 7 to 10 days to see results when using this spray and you’ll want to re-apply as needed until all the weevils are gone.
In addition to weevils, BotaniGard also treats multiple other pests – so hopefully (but not really hopefully) you have other critters on your plants that this can work against!
Neem oil is another biological product that can be used to repel weevils and other pests. Generally, neem oil aims to stop the feeding of insects by disrupting their eating cycle.
As always, read the instructions on each product but you’ll want to apply this early on when the temperature rises and your plants first blossom.
A great starting point is Organic Neem Bliss, which is 100% natural, organic, and completely free of harmful chemicals. This product can be used indoors and outdoors.
Spinosad is a biological chemical that is produced from bacteria. It works on various insects, including weevils, leaf miners, spider mites, and thrips.
Many companies have started to use spinosad in their insecticides, so it’s not hard to find. This organic chemical claims to be safe for ornamental and food crops, so you can use it on everything you grow.
This product works via contact, which can be highly effective, or by ingestion (of the plant), which is more potent.
How to Get Rid of Weevils in Your Garden
Many times, you don’t think about protecting your plants from pests until you’ve already got a problem. Once you get a weevil infestation, you must treat it immediately before it gets out of hand.
One weevil can lay up to several hundred eggs at a time. Yikes.
It doesn’t take long to deal with a full-blown infestation. Many of the biological treatments mentioned above don’t just prevent weevils, but they are also useful for treating any weevils that appear.
But there are a few other things you can do to get rid of weevils if those biological methods aren’t working well enough.
Remove Weevils Manually
In some cases, you might want to remove weevils manually. You can call out an expert to do this, or you can do it yourself. All you’ll need is a pair of gloves, a flashlight, and a container to hold the weevils you remove.
Before dark, lay out a sheet, box, or bag beneath your plants. You could also use an upside-down umbrella, or some newspaper to throw away after you’re done.
Once the sun goes down and the weevils become active, go back outside with a flashlight. Place your gloved hand at the bottom of the stalk right above the dirt and shake slightly.
Any weevils crawling on the top of the plants will fall off onto the container you’ve set up on the ground. Once you’re done getting all the weevils off, you can dispose of the container properly.
If the weevils continue staying on your plants despite the shaking, you can use your fingers to pluck them from your plants. If you can see them, that is. They are quite tiny and hard to grab hold of, so it may be best to recreate a mini earthquake to shake them free.
Protect Your Plants With Burlap
Burlap is a great tool to use when you have a weevil presence. Lay the fabric at the base of your trees, shrubs, or plants after clearing the weevils from your plants.
During the day, when weevils are looking for places to hide, they get tangled up in the rough fabric of the burlap and get trapped.
In the late afternoon, you can collect the bags and take them somewhere to be shaken out. Make sure you remove any lingering weevils before replacing the bags on the ground.
If you’re feeling guilty about removing the weevils, this is a way that you can save them and transport them elsewhere, away from your plants/
Use Chemical Treatment for Weevils
For severe weevil infestations, you may want to use a non-biological synthetic chemical product. Make sure that any product you decide on has been approved by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency).
If you’re using these methods on a home garden, make sure you thoroughly wash your vegetables real good before eating them!
Generally, chemical pesticides should be applied to the foliage (leaves, flowers, stems) of the plant as soon as you notice infestation signs but make sure to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions on proper applying and protection.
Weevil traps are often used indoors, but they can also ward off weevils from your outdoor gardens as well. These traps can come in various types, from containers to paper.
They work by giving off a pheromone similar to the one given by weevils, so the bugs think they are in a safe zone, so to speak but alas, they are not.
While these traps do get the pests off your plants, you’ll still need to figure out how to treat and get rid of your infestation as it’s not totally solving the infestation. Luckily, however, the trap doesn’t have any effect on your plants.
Imidacloprid is a chloro-nicotinyl, systemic insecticide. This chemical mimics nicotine. It can be used to treat weevil infestation as well as a bunch of other common garden pests, such as thrips and aphids.
This product also targets the nervous system and can be used to treat both adult and larvae weevils through ingestion.
Preparing and applying this insecticide to your plants might be different between manufacturers, so it’s best to read all instructions and follow all safety cautions before mixing and applying this insecticide to your plants.
Before using a product containing this chemical please read this information about imidacloprid from the National Pesticide Information Center
Keep Weevils Out of Your Garden For Good
We hope you enjoyed our eight simple tips on keeping weevils out of your garden!
Understandably, it can be quite frustrating to find your beautiful plants infested with nuisances like pests. You spend so much time and energy trying to keep your plants healthy, only to end up with annoying, damaging bugs.
Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to get rid of weevils out of your garden without having to go through a lot of trouble. We’ve told you everything you should need to know to prevent and treat weevil infestations in your garden. Happy gardening.
Zack is a Nature & Wildlife specialist based in Upstate, NY, and is the founder of his Tree Journey and Pest Pointers brands. He has a vast experience with nature while living and growing up on 50+ acres of fields, woodlands, and a freshwater bass pond. Zack has encountered many pest situations over the years and has spent his time maintaining and planting over 35 species of trees since his youth with his family on their property.
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