Name: Otiorhynchus spp.

Alias: Root weevil. There are quite a few different variations of root weevils, but the adult version of this general garden and landscape pest looks like a beetle, but with an extended face and antennae out on the end that act like fingers for feeling food. Adults become active around the month of May, where they emerge to find a mate and lay eggs. The larvae look like little white grubs that live under the root zone of plants, only emerging to the soil surface after they have pupated and become adults.

Crimes: Adult tend to feed on the leaves of plants before laying eggs, but this is really nothing more than cosmetic damage. The real issue is the larvae that live under the soil surface and feed on the roots, causing stress and even death of common plants around the landscape.

Redeeming qualities: none known.

Sentence: Small grain crops are not a host for root weevils, so rotating a small grain into your growing rotation can help. If you do not want to grow a small grain in a garden, then you may need to use chemicals to control them. Fortunately, they are quite easy to control. Adults must be controlled after they have emerged in the spring but before they have laid eggs. Common insecticides such as carbaryl and pyrethrins can control them. Be sure to apply at night while they are actively feeding on the foliage, and always read and follow label instructions.

For more information on dangerous and beneficial bugs, call UI Extension educator Joseph Sagers at 208-270-4031 or email