Ag Notes: Magnolia weevils chew holes in leaves

June 30, 2004|JERRY LITTLE

Clients this week have been finding small weevil-shaped bugs on their magnolias, accompanied by numerous rice shaped holes.

The culprit is the magnolia weevil, also known as the yellow poplar or sassafras weevil. The black, one-eighth inch long beetles are sometimes mistaken for ticks and 'play dead' when handled. They do not bite.

Magnolia weevils over-winter as adults and lay eggs the following spring in newly expanding leaves. After eggs hatch, the larvae mine the leaves producing a brownish, blotchy area. The weevils and damage observed now are from the subsequent (second) adult generation, which chews small crescent-shaped holes in the leaves of magnolia, tulip poplar, and sassafras.

Damage appears most severe on magnolias (southern, sweet bay, etc.) that hold their leaves year-round. The injury does not seriously harm the tree, but the leaf holes are concerning and cosmetically unappealing to some clients.


Control of the leaf-chewing adults can be accomplished by spraying the foliage with Sevin or any pyrethroids insecticide (Talstar, Tempo, Bayer Advanced Multi Insect Killer, Scimitar, Spectracide Triazicide, etc.).

Thorough spray coverage on upper and lower leaf surfaces is essential.

Keep it

A man is going out of town and needs to board his horse for a couple of months. He asks a local farmer about it and the guy says, "Sure, but I charge $50 per week, and I keep the manure." Well, the fellow can't afford this, so the farmer refers him to ol' Jones down the road.

When approached with the request, Jones said, "Yup, I can do it for $40 a week, and I keep the manure." This is still too much, and Jones suggests that he try Mr. Brown.

When our desperate friend asks Mr. Brown, he is surprised to hear "Sure, Sonny. I'll be glad to for $5 a month." With delight, the young man exclaimed, "Wow! I suppose for that price you'll want to keep the manure."

The old man looked at him with kind of a squint, and says, "Feller, for $5 a month, there ain't gonna be none!"

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