The art of landscape design is popular among American homeowners who want to add a bit of panache to their own little piece of property. Landscape designs on residential lawns often consist of tastefully ordered and picturesque gardens, ornamental plants, hedgerows, and in some cases, fruit trees. The practice of maintaining a well-groomed landscape on one’s private property is often an expression of pride, so it can be a major disappointment to see carefully cultivated landscape plants destroyed by voracious insect pests. Insect species that inflict damage to landscape plants exist in every US state, and it is often necessary for homeowners to take measures to control these types of pests.
The black-vine weevil is one of the most common and destructive insect species that is known for damaging a wide variety of landscape plants in the northeast US. This invasive species has been documented as a destructive pest to more than 100 different types of cultivated and wild plant species in the region, and they are notoriously hard to eradicate once they establish a presence on a property. And if that is not enough, these unwanted insects are also known for invading homes during the fall and winter season in order to seek refuge from the cold.
Black-vine weevil infestations are difficult to eradicate from a lawn due to the species’ nocturnal feeding habits and lack of natural predators, as the species is not native to North America. Black-vine weevil adults feed on needles and leaves, which leave behind unsightly crescent-shaped notches, but the larvae are far more damaging, as they feed on thin plant roots during the fall and more sizable roots during the spring. Larvae often chew away at the roots below the soil’s surface, causing plants to wilt and eventually die.
Black-vine weevil larvae can be recognized by their dirty-white exterior, and they closely resemble maggots or grubs. Adults are jet black and around three eighths of an inch in length. Partially developed larvae can survive overwintering below the soil’s surface, but adults will not hesitate to seek warmth within homes. Most black-vine weevil infestations on landscape plants begin when homeowners unknowingly apply infested nursery stock to their lawns. In most cases, a pest control professional is needed in order to ensure that an infestation becomes fully eradicated from a property.
Have you ever found a plant-damaging insect within your yard?