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Pest Information

Diaprepes root weevil

Diaprepes root weevil

  • Latin Name: Diaprepes abbreviatus
  • Common Name: Diaprepes root weevil
  • Other Names: N/A

Pest Details

Diaprepes root weevil

Origin:

It is believed that this beetle is native to the Caribbean, and was imported into the U.S. around 1960 on plants from Puerto Rico. It now infests the Southeast U.S. west to Texas and on a regular basis is intercepted in shipments of plants in California.

Biology:

This weevil is a serious pest of citrus, but also feeds on more than 279 plants in 50 plant families, including corn, sugarcane, and many ornamental and other agricultural plants. Adult beetles live for up to 5 months, and females can deposit an average of 5,000 eggs in their lifetime, attaching these to protected areas of leaves in batches of 30 to 260 eggs, often gluing the edges of leaves together to form that secure oviposition site. The larvae drop to the soil and burrow down to feed extensively on the roots of the plants, ultimately girdling the crown area of the root and killing the plant. The adult beetles emerge and may walk or fly to new plants nearby, and generally remain on the chosen plant unless disturbed. The complete life cycle may take from 5 to 18 months, depending on temperature and soil conditions. Dry, compacted soils deter the larvae from moving to the roots and deter the adults from exiting the soil.

Identification:

Adult beetles are fairly large weevils, ranging from 3/8 to ¾ inch long. Their color varies considerably, from gray to yellow to bi-colored orange and black. Typically the wings will have broad lengthwise bands of alternating light and dark colors.

Characteristicts Important to Control:

Managing the beetle combines sanitation and the removal of leaf litter, monitoring with traps or visual sightings, and chemical applications to kill adult beetles on the foliage. Insecticides have very limited effectiveness on the larvae in the soil. The use of parasites and predators for the larvae is being tested, with varying degrees of effectiveness.

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