The Little Leaf Notcher Weevil (Artipus floridanus) is a secondary pest that targets citrus plants, primarily in Florida and the Caribbean region. Belonging to the Curculionidae family, which consists of weevils and snout beetles, this small beetle has gained attention due to its impact on citrus crops.
Adult Little Leaf Notcher Weevils feed on the leaves of citrus trees, causing notches and damage to the foliage. The larvae of these weevils, known as citrus root weevils, also pose a threat by feeding on the tree roots. As a result, it’s crucial for citrus growers to be aware of this pest’s appearance, life cycle, and potential control methods.
In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about the Little Leaf Notcher Weevil. From identifying its characteristics to understanding how it affects citrus plants and exploring possible prevention and control techniques, you’ll be well-equipped to deal with this pest in your citrus groves.
Little Leaf Notcher Weevil Overview
The Little Leaf Notcher Weevil, also known as Artipus floridanus, is a beetle from the family Curculionidae, which includes weevils and snout beetles1. They have a distinctive elongated snout, and their body is usually dark brown or black in color.
Little Leaf Notcher Weevils are native to Florida, and can also be found throughout the Caribbean region2. They are considered one of several species of citrus root weevils, such as the Diaprepes Root Weevil4.
Life Cycle and Behavior
Little Leaf Notcher Weevil’s life cycle begins with the female laying egg masses on the host plant’s leaves. A single female can lay:
- Hundreds of eggs
- Eggs are small and white
This ensures a high number of offspring and overlapping generations.
After hatching, the larvae start feeding on the host plant:
- They feed on leaves, roots, or the trunk
- Can be found in soil or on the plant surface
- Develop a mutual relationship with ants
This stage lasts for several weeks before advancing to the pupae stage.
The pupae stage is a transitional period:
- Takes place in the soil
- Pupae are white and immobile
During this phase, the weevil undergoes a significant transformation before emerging as an adult.
Adult Little Leaf Notcher Weevils exhibit distinct features:
- Mottled gray in color
- Beetle-like appearance
- Presence of a snout
Adults primarily engage in mating and seeking host plants for laying eggs.
|Larvae||Soil or plant-based feeders, mutual relationship with ants|
|Adults||Mottled gray, snout, mating activities|
In conclusion, understanding the specific behaviors and stages of the Little Leaf Notcher Weevil is essential to effectively manage and control their population.
Feeding Damage and Host Plants
Little Leaf Notcher Weevils can cause significant damage to citrus tree foliage, as they were first described feeding on orange tree foliage in south Florida in 18791. Citrus species like orange, grapefruit, and lime are among their preferred hosts1.
The Little Leaf Notcher Weevil enjoys feeding on grapefruit trees as well1. Their feeding can cause damage to leaves and affect the overall health of the tree.
Lime trees are not spared from the Little Leaf Notcher Weevil’s appetite1. As with other citrus trees, the weevil’s feeding can lead to leaf damage and potential reduction in fruit production.
In addition to citrus trees, the Little Leaf Notcher Weevil has a wide host range, including avocado trees. Although they may not cause as much damage as with citrus trees, they can still negatively affect avocado trees’ health.
Mangoes are another tree that can serve as a host for the Little Leaf Notcher Weevil. They may cause damage to leaves, impacting the tree’s overall health and potentially reducing fruit production.
The Little Leaf Notcher Weevil is also known to feed on ornamentals like hibiscus2. As with other host plants, damage to leaves may occur.
Other Host Plants
Artipus floridanus, or the Little Leaf Notcher Weevil, has a wide host range that includes at least 150 different plant species1. Some other examples of non-crop hosts that are important to the weevil include dune plants1.
|Host Plant||Likely Damage||Impact|
|Citrus trees (orange, grapefruit, lime)||Significant||Highly preferred, foliage damage|
|Avocado||Moderate||Wide host range, health impact|
|Mango||Moderate||Wide host range, health impact|
|Hibiscus||Moderate||Wide host range, foliage damage|
Impact on Citrus Industry
Florida Citrus Pest Management Guide
The Little Leaf Notcher Weevil, or Artipus floridanus, is a secondary pest affecting citrus trees in Florida and the Caribbean region1. They belong to the family Curculionidae, and are considered citrus root weevils alongside species like Diaprepes root weevil1.
While their distribution is predominantly within Florida, they have the potential to infest citrus trees in other parts of the U.S. The weevil’s impact is felt in the citrus industry due to the noticeable notching of leaf margins by adults2. The damage inflicted on young foliage depends on the weevil species, their abundance, and the availability of food2.
These citrus root weevils can infest a variety of plants, such as lime, rose, and ornamentals3. Due to their habitat preferences, orchards need to employ pest management strategies to curtail the infestation. Effective alternatives include:
- Monitoring adult weevil populations
- Applying insecticides
However, it is essential to adopt eco-friendly and sustainable pest management practices to protect the citrus industry. Using excessive insecticides can harm the environment and disrupt the natural predator-prey balance.
Control Methods and Management
Cultural control methods play a crucial role in managing the Little Leaf Notcher Weevil. One effective strategy is practicing proper sanitation in the affected area, which means removing potential breeding sites, such as debris, dead leaves, and fallen fruits. By implementing these techniques, you can minimize the growth of weevil populations in your garden.
Mechanical control of Little Leaf Notcher Weevil focuses on manual removal. For instance, the Sri Lankan Weevil drops to the ground and pretends to be dead when disturbed, making hand-picking a viable option. Additionally, shaking a branch over a container like an umbrella can help in collecting multiple weevils at once.
Chemical control methods are also available, but should be used with caution and only after other methods have been exhausted. Chemical products such as systemic insecticides can be used to protect plants from weevils, but always follow label instructions and use them sparingly, as the chemicals can be harmful to beneficial insects.
|Cultural Control||Environmentally friendly, low cost||Requires ongoing effort, may be slow|
|Mechanical Control||Chemical-free, immediate results||Time-consuming, labor-intensive|
|Chemical Control||Fast acting, effective on large scale||Potential harm to the environment, costly|
Remember to always have a balanced approach when trying to control the Little Leaf Notcher Weevil. Combine cultural, mechanical, and chemical control methods if necessary, and always consider the environmental impact before making decisions.
Biological Control Agents
- Steinernema carpocapsae: A parasitic nematode effective against small larvae of the little leaf notcher weevil1
- Heterorhabditis bacteriophora: Another parasitic nematode used against the weevil’s young larvae2
- Steinernema riobravis: A third species of nematode effective against the pest3
Nematodes have the following features:
- Soil-dwelling microscopic worms
- Attack underground life stages of the weevil
- Can be applied as a foliar spray on affected plants
- A fungus that works as a biocontrol agent4
- Infects the weevil through direct contact and ingestion
Characteristics of Beauveria Bassiana:
- Can be applied as a foliar spray
- Pathogen to the little leaf notcher weevil
- Can be used as a part of an integrated pest management program
Soaps and Oils
Soaps and oils can help control the little leaf notcher weevil populations:
- Insecticidal soaps work by disrupting the insect’s cuticle
- Horticultural oils (such as neem oil) can smother the insect and prevent them from breathing
Pros of using soaps and oils:
- Environmentally friendly
- Less harmful to beneficial insects
Cons of using soaps and oils:
- Require direct contact with the insect to be effective
- May need to be reapplied after rain
Comparison of Control Methods
|Nematodes||Targets specific pests, soil-dwelling||Can be sensitive to environmental conditions|
|Beauveria Bassiana||Natural fungus, part of IPM||May not provide complete control|
|Soaps and Oils||Environmentally friendly, low toxicity||Must be applied directly to pests, reapplication needed|
Closely Related Weevil Species
In this section, we will discuss three closely related weevil species: Diaprepes abbreviatus, Pachnaeus litus, and Pachnaeus opalus. These species are often found alongside the Little Leaf Notcher Weevil (Artipus floridanus).
Diaprepes abbreviatus, commonly known as the Diaprepes root weevil, is one of the most injurious weevils affecting citrus plants. Adults have prominent blue-green coloration and can cause significant damage to citrus roots. Some key features include:
- Behavior: Active during the day, feeds on citrus leaves and lays eggs on foliage.
- Range: Mostly found in Central Florida, Caribbean, and other tropical regions.
Pachnaeus litus, also known as the blue-green citrus root weevil, is another species that shares similar habitats with the Little Leaf Notcher. Key characteristics include:
- Behavior: Primarily nocturnal, feeds on young citrus leaves.
- Range: Prefers subtropical regions, overlaps with other weevil species in Central Florida.
Pachnaeus opalus is closely related to Pachnaeus litus and shares similar behavioral characteristics. Some important features of this species are:
- Behavior: Active during the night, feeding on citrus plant roots.
- Range: Found in subtropical areas, overlaps with Pachnaeus litus in Central Florida.
|Diaprepes Abbreviatus||Daytime activity, feeds on leaves, lays eggs on foliage||Central Florida, Caribbean, tropical regions|
|Pachnaeus Litus||Nocturnal, feeds on young citrus leaves||Central Florida, subtropical regions|
|Pachnaeus Opalus||Nocturnal, feeds on citrus plant roots||Central Florida, subtropical regions|
These weevil species cause varying degrees of damage to citrus plants, with Diaprepes abbreviatus being particularly harmful. Understanding their behavior and range is essential for effective pest management.
Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.
Letter 1 – Little Leaf Notcher Weevil
What type of bug is this?
Location: Naples, Fl.
July 8, 2011 8:33 pm
This insect was on my car. I had never seen a white bug before, so I took a picture.
We are relatively certain this is a native Floridian Weevil known as the Little Leaf Notcher, Artipus floridanus, which we found on BugGuide, but we would not want to discount the possibility that it might be the introduced and invasive species Myllocerus undecimpustulatus undatus, which you may read about in the Department of Agriculture paper.
Letter 2 – Sri Lanka Weevil and Citrus Leaf Miner
Gray Insect on a Citrus Leaf
I was examining the fruits of my bitter orange citrus tree in Miami, Florida when I found this gray insect on one of the leaves. I suspect it’s some type of beetle. Can you please identify the insect? Also, do you happen to know what those white and brown streaks on the leaf are and whether or not they were produced by the insect?
Your gray insect is a Sri Lanka Weevil, Myllocerus undecimpustulatus, an invasive species from Sri Lanka that feeds on at least 55 plant species in Florida including citrus. Read more on BugGuide and the Featured Creatures site. You have another problem with your citrus. Beneath the Little Leaf Notcher Weevil are what appear to be tunnels produced by the Citrus Leaf Miner, Phyllocnistis citrella, a tiny moth, and according to BugGuide: “Native to Asia; first found in Florida in 1993. Now found all over the world.”
Thank you for all the information! I thought that perhaps the weevil was responsible for the tunnels on the leaf; thanks for clarifying that a citrus leaf miner was the true culprit. My citrus tree has been left unattended for quite some time, so it has become home to various insects.
Letter 3 – Little Leaf Notcher Weevil, we believe
Beetles Eating My Jamaica Dogwood
August 24, 2009
I was planning on using insecticide to control them ( between these, mealy bugs, and a massive scale infestation I’m getting desperate) but while I was taking these photos a Dingy Purplewing butterfly landed on the tree so I may just have to learn live with them.
Cutler Bay, FL
We are relatively certain that this is a Little Leaf Notcher Weevil, Artipus floridanus. We did a web search of “white weevil florida and were quickly led to a BugGuide page.
I didn’t realize it was a weevil, I kept looking at leaf beetles.
After a closer look it turns out to be this weevil:
According to this document ” http://www.doacs.state.fl.us/pi/enpp/ento/entcirc/ent412.pdf ” many of the host plants are in my yard.