What Do Weevils Eat?

Weevils are usually quite choosy about what they eat, and they are often named after their favorite foods. There are weevils to match almost every variety of plant parts – leaves, roots, stems, and so on. 

Do you know that there are more than 60,000 weevil species worldwide? So before we answer the question, we need to know which weevil we are talking about.

The most common weevils include fruit and nuts, seed, and grain weevils. You might find most of these weevils in your garden or home at one point or the other.

So, what do different types of weevils eat? Continue reading to find out the answers. 

What Do Weevils Eat

What Do Fruit & Nut Weevils Eat? 

Fruit and nut weevils are typically found in gardens, orchards, and crop fields. This type of beetle can be divided into two categories: plum curculio and acorn weevil. 

Plum curculio feeds on food products like flowers, buds, petals, and trees that bear fruit, such as apples, peaches, pears, etc., and thus, causes significant damage to the gardens and orchards that bore such trees. 

Acorn weevils consume acorn and hickory nuts as a stomach, but they do not eat these nuts directly – they devour the inside to feed their belly. 

What Do Grain Weevils Eat?

Grain weevils are usually found in kitchens, pantries, or storehouses of dry food. This type of beetle is similar to rice weevils, who, too, prefer to infest stored grains. 

These weevils usually attack grains like wheat, rice, corn, nuts, beans, cereal, stored cotton, buckwheat, grapes, etc.

Like fruit and nut weevils, granary weevils can also consume fruits like apples and pears. 

So, you should be careful about storing your favorite fruits and keeping them free from weevil infestations. 

The best way to keep them away from your food is to keep the grains and fruits in airtight containers, like glass jars and metal containers. 

Also, check the food for grain weevils, wheat weevils, or maize weevils before weighing and purchasing them. 

They have a knack for laying their eggs inside the grain, and their eggs can hatch even after the food is packaged, so a perfectly packed food item might end up with a weevil infestation.

What Do Weevils Eat

What Do Vine Weevils Eat?

Unlike other weevil species, this one feeds on plants as a larva and an adult. 

The black-colored beetle is about 0.35 inches long and is a nightmare for gardeners since it consumes various plant parts, from foliage to roots. 

The grubs, however, are usually pale with brown heads and 0.4 inches long. 

The adult weevils usually stay around the garden during summer, and the larvae start feeding from autumn until spring. 

If you want to recognize a vine weevil’s presence in your garden, check the leaves of your plants. In case of an infestation, the leaves’ margins will be irregular due to the beetle’s bites. 

However, the plants eaten by the adult vine weevil usually withstand the damage and continue living. 

The same is not the case with larvae. These pests consume the root of the plant and do irreversible damage to the host. 

Vine weevils typically eat various indoor and outdoor plants, but they are particularly attracted to those growing in containers with leaves. 

The plants that grow on the ground are relatively free from weevil infestation, especially strawberries, polyanthus, and primulas. 

Since the adults feed on foliage, you can see them crawling on and around the leaves of herbaceous plants and shrubs, including Rhododendrons, evergreen euonymus, hydrangeas, etc. 

What Do Root Weevils Eat? 

Root Weevils usually feed on several food crops, herbaceous plants, deciduous trees, broad-leaved evergreen plants, and needled plants. They rely on a variety of plants and trees to survive. 

The adult weevil consumes the leaves of the plant mentioned above, while weevil larvae usually eat up their roots to grow. 

The host plants for each root weevil species may differ, so we have discussed the host plant for some popular root weevil species.

What Do Weevils Eat

Sweet Potato Weevil 

It is a weevil species mainly found in the southern US, and as the name suggests, it feeds on the sweet potato as its host plant. 

Strawberry Root Weevil 

Found in the northern US, these beetles also follow their name and feed on strawberries as their host plant. 

Carrot Root Weevil 

Carrot root weevils are commonly found in the east of the US, and their host plant is usually a carrot or similar vegetable. 

New York Weevil 

It is found in the country’s eastern side towards the west of Nebraska and Texas. Its host plants are usually oak, beech, and hickory. 

Black Vine Weevil 

This one consumes a variety of broad-leaved evergreens, such as hemlocks and rhododendrons, and greenhouse plants, like asters and cyclamens. 

What Do Weevils Eat

Frequently Asked Questions 

How do I get rid of weevils?

The most natural way to get rid of weevils is to weed your plants regularly. If you spot adult weevils or larvae, remove them with your hands. 
You can also attract natural predators like frogs and tadpoles to your garden to remove the pests. Removing moisture from the soil by taking away mulch is another way to slow down their growth.

What are weevils attracted to?

It depends on which weevils we are talking about to decide the same. 
The fruit and nut weevils are typically attracted to flowers and fruit-bearing trees, whereas granary weevils are interested in stored grains and many others, like plant foliage and roots. 

How long do weevils live without food?

Weevils can usually live without food for about a month. 
However, most do not suffer from starvation since their primary food source includes grains, foliage, fruits, and roots, which are always around. 
If you are looking for a sure-shot way of killing them, refrigerate your food to a low temperature, and they will die on their own.

Do weevils bite humans?

Weevils are restricted to finding and eating their primary food source, which includes foliage, roots, fruits, grains, etc. 
Thus, they do not have any interested humans, nor do they attack them or share parasitic relationships, as is the case with ticks or fleas.
However, there are a few cases of weevil bites that happen when females are looking for a host to plant their eggs.

Wrap Up

We hope this article helped you learn a thing or two about weevils and the types of food they eat. 

The key takeaway is that there is a weevil for almost every plant that you can think of, so its best always to be vigilant about their symptoms and to remove them at the earliest sign to keep your plants safe and sound.

Reader Emails

Weevils can eat a variety of things, and it always surprises bug lovers as to where all they can find these bugs eating. Go through some of the emails below to understand how many places these bugs are found.

Letter 1 – Weevil from Pennsylvania

 

Hi Bugman,
I found this guy cruising around in some hair cap moss, here in Milford PA. He’s fairly small. Can you help me identify him? Thanks in advance,
Meg Stewart
PS. Great website! lots of great info!

Hi Meg,
This is a Weevil, which is a type of beetle. There are over 30.000 species of Weevils, and we do not feel qualified to give you a species identification, but some day, someone will probably write in and properly identify your Weevil.

Letter 2 – Weevil in Australia

 

Are these bed bugs?
December 12, 2009
Hi,
I’m living in Sydney Australia in an apartment and in the last month (summer just started) my place has become infested with these bugs. They seem to have pointy and long mouth parts. They climb the walls, fall, and then get stuck in the carpets… I have attached 2 pics using a microscope (4X magnification). One is a dead bug and the other is immersed in oil to get it to stay still. They are both 0.2 cm long. Your help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
EAW
Sydney Australia

Grain Weevil
Grain Weevil

Hi EAW,
This is a Weevil, and we suspect it may be infesting some food product in the pantry, possibly rice.

Thank you!
Thank you so much for your quick reply. I have found the culprit. A 5 kilo bag of wild bird seed in the closet.
Thanks again.

Letter 3 – Weevil from the Netherlands, but why is it covered in mud???

 

Mud covered beetle (weevil?)
April 26, 2010
This was seen on a window in Duiven, didn’t stay long enough to get better photo. Apologies for 1st attachment can’t remove it.
Janie
Duiven, Netherlands

Weevil: But why is it covered in mud???

Hi Janie,
You are correct that this is a Weevil, but we have no idea why it is covered in mud, or even if this is a typical state for this weevil.  We suspect an accidental encounter that left this creature encrusted in mud.

Hi Daniel,
as I couldn’t find it in Joy, I assumed it must be some ‘exotic’! I am slightly relieved that it’s a puzzle to you also, and not something very obvious.
Many thanks for your help.
Janie

Letter 4 – Weevil from the Virgin Islands

 

Hector the Bug
Location: St John, US Virgin Islands
March 1, 2011 10:38 pm
Hello Bugman,
We found Hector here in our apartment in the US Virgin Islands in February 2011. He appears to be some sort of beetle, but that’s as far as we got. We couldn’t find any images online that resembled him. He played dead for a little while and then cooperatively posed for some photos before we set him free. Do you know what he is?
Signature: Jonathan & Katie

Weevil

Dear Jonathan & Katie,
Hector is a species of Weevil, a very large group of Beetles.  We had no luck web searching Weevils and Virgin Islands, so we tried nearby Puerto Rico where we happened upon Alfredo Colón’s Wildlife website with 154 images of Weevils, including the first image pictured, a Citrus Root Weevil,
Diaprepes abbreviatus, which is the closest match there.  BugGuide indicates that the species has “color highly variable (morphs from gray to yellow to orange to black)“.  The Texas Department of Agriculture has an online fact sheet that indicates:  “Diaprepes abbreviatus is a root weevil native to the Caribbean where at least 16 additional species within the genus are known. Diaprepes abbreviatus has a wide host range, attacking about 270 different plants including citrus, sugarcane, vegetables, potatoes, woody field-grown ornamentals, sweet potatoes, papaya, guava, mahogany, containerized ornamentals, and non-cultivated wild plants.”  We believe Hector may be a Citrus Root Weevil, or possibly another member of the genus.

Letter 5 – Weevil from the Philippines

 

Sagada Spotted Beetle
Location: Sagada, Mountain Province, Philippines
September 21, 2011 1:04 am
Dear Mr. Bugman sir,
I do not have even a passing familiarity with entomology and would very much like to ask your help in identifying the bug you see below.
A friend of mine got the shot in the northern Philippines, and this little fellow is perched on a bean leaf (if that helps any).
Local names for insects like abeb, lusingan, and salagubang aren’t much help. Hoping you can help solve the mystery of the Sagada bug 🙂
Signature: september

Weevil from the Philippines

Dear September,
This is some species of Weevil.  It looks similar, but not exactly like the Weevils in this mounted collection pictured on Etsy.  It also looks somewhat like this colorful Weevil we posted earlier in the month.

Thank you, Bugman! Such a prompt response as well. I was researching on my own and came to the conclusion that it was some sort of weevil as well.
I must admit that I am quite interested in learning more about entomology, and I owe that to you and your lovely website.
Much obliged,
September

Letter 6 – Weevil from Spain

 

Subject: Bug in Seville Spain
Location: Seville, Spain in town center
January 27, 2016 9:41 am
Hi, Moose (the name I have given him) has been hanging out on my terrace for a week or so. He is about 1 inch long, green , sometimes brown, with large eyes and a proboscis. I have never seen him fly. I don’t generally like insects, but he’s cute, with his moose-like nose. Here’s a couple of pics. Thanks for your help!
Signature: Kathleen

Weevil: Lixus angustatus
Weevil: Lixus angustatus

Dear Kathleen,
Moose is a beetle known as a Weevil.  We believe we have properly identified Moose as
Lixus angustatus by first finding an image on Visual Photos and then cross checking that identification on Iberia Nature.  Information en Español can be found on Granada Natural.

Thank you Daniel for such a quick response!  I will check it out and see if I can help him with food and such.
Thanks again and have a blessed day!
Kathleen

Letter 7 – Weevil from Philippines

 

Subject:  Weevil ID assistance
Geographic location of the bug:  Mindanao, Philippines
Date: 05/02/2018
Time: 02:34 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Maam/Sir, good day!
I am Maria Tanola, a Biology student of University of Southeastern Philippines. As part of our curriculum, I was provided with an unidentified weevil species for me to work with. I have been working on this case study for months now, however, I came up with Otiorhynchus singularis (italicized) and Otiorhynchus sulcatus (italicized) as an initial identification. I believe that this unidentified species is just between the two. Hence, I am writing to humbly request your service and expertise to confirm or correct my initial identification for the abovementioned weevil species.
I am looking forward for your urgent response as this is a timely matter.
Sincerely,
Maria
How you want your letter signed:  Weevil

Weevil

Dear Maria,
Your photomicroscopy images of a Weevil are quite detailed, but alas, we do not have the necessary skills to answer your very detailed question.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to assist you by submitting comments.

Weevil
Weevil

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  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

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  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

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