Black Vine Weevil Control: Getting Rid Of Black Vine Weevils

Black Vine Weevil Insect On Leaf
black vine weevil
(Image credit: Peggy Greb, USDA Agricultural Research Service,

As gardening season draws ever nearer, all manner of bugs are on the mind of growers everywhere. Black vine weevils are particularly troublesome pests of landscapes, marring plants, eating buds, and even killing vegetation from the ground up. Black vine weevil damage can be extensive, but they can be managed if you've got enough black vine weevil information.

About Black Vine Weevils

Black vine weevil host plants include over 100 different species, but they favor the following above all else:

These 1/2 inch (1 cm.) long beetles look much like the strawberry root weevil but are twice their size; they may be impossible to distinguish from other members of their family with the naked eye. However, if you've got damaged yews nearby, the chances are good that you're dealing with black vine weevils. The adult form is fairly easy to spot and the damage is conspicuous, but the real trouble starts with their larvae. Since they burrow in the soil and feed on roots underground, getting rid of black vine weevils can be difficult. Larval feeding damage tends to be worst in the spring, when soil moisture drives the grub-like pests closer to the surface where they'll happily girdle plants and chew bark.

Black Vine Weevil Control

If you catch black vine weevil adults feeding in your garden, they're not all that difficult to defeat while their numbers are still low. It generally takes 21 to 28 days of feeding before they're ready to lay eggs, so your first goal is to kill the adults before this happens. Hand-picking is one of the safest, though tedious, ways of eliminating large numbers of black vine weevils. Look for them toward dusk with a flashlight and drop all your hapless victims into a bucket of soapy water. When you know you've not caught all the weevils by hand-picking or your plant continues to suffer despite your efforts, it might be time to look into what kills black vine weevils besides human hands. The answer to that question is nematodes! Heterorhabditis spp. are recommended for black vine weevils because of their relative mobility and willingness to search deeper in the soil for prey. Follow the package directions when drenching with nematodes. One dose isn't usually enough to get good results, so make sure you retreat a week or two later to help the nematode colony better establish itself.

Kristi Waterworth

Kristi Waterworth was a regular contributor to Gardening Know How for many years, answering countless queries on plant pests and diseases.