Weevils Insect & Bromeliads
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Weevils are common insects to find on bromeliad plants and flowers (especially in southern states and neotropical climates). Currently, there are at least 25 species of weevils that are known to attack bromeliad plants. Below we have listed many of the weevil species known to be found on bromeliads.
Common Weevils and Information
- Mexican Bromeliad Weevil (Metamasius callizona) – Native to Mexico and Central America, first discovered in Florida in 1989 (Fort Lauderdale) and probably 3-4 continuous generations per year.
Adult female weevils lay their eggs in slits in the leaves close to where they feed. Larvae mine the meristemmatic tissue, tunneling deep into the base of the plant. The pupal (resting) stage is passed in cocoon made from shredded plant material. Adults typically feed on bromeliad leaves and sometimes on inflorescence.
Symptoms of Weevil Damage
- Tunneling by the larvae produces holes in the base of the stem, dislodging the bromeliad plant from its support structure in the tree.
- Larvae can also tunnel up and damage the inflorescence.
- Gel produced by the bromeliad.
- May see adult feeding marks on the leaves and stems of the plant.
- The leaves may turn brown and the leaf edges may begin to wither.
- Decomposition of leaves at the base of the bromeliad (middle of the plant can be pulled out easily).
Common Weevils Found on Bromeliads
- List of Common Bromeliad Weevils
Common Bromeliad Genera Attacked by Weevils
- Florida Bromeliad Weevil – Not a threat to Florida’s native bromeliads, rarely seen on ornamental bromeliads, smaller than the Mexican bromeliad weevil and typically attacks seedlings of bromeliad plants.
Bromeliad Weevil Prevention and Management
- Prevent further spread of Mexican weevils by checking and inspecting your bromeliad plants before relocation or moving.
- Prevent further insect infestation by importing only seeds of bromeliads or applying pesticide dip.
- Monitor plants frequently for damage and seperate infested plants.
- Some growers have used carbaryl (Sevin) successfully, but no chemical trials have been conducted for Mexican bromeliad weevils, and effectiveness in killing eggs is unknown.
Biological Weevil Control – (methods being researched)
- Parasite tachinid fly from Honduras is being researched and studied, but non-target testing is needed in order for a release permit.
- Adult fly deposities maggots at the tunnel entrance.
- Fly maggots seek out weevil larve and feed within.
- Maggots come out to pupate.
- Releases will be made in natural areas of South Florida, where weevil populations are high.
- Parks and other protected lands are priority areas for weevil control.
- The main goal is not to eradicate weevils, but to reduce damage and numbers.
Other Potential Bromeliad Weevils
- Metamasius sellatus – Discovered by the USDA and APHIS inspectors on bromeliads entering Florida.
- Metamasius quadrilineatus – Has been intercepted by USDA and APHIS inspections.
- Metamasius flavopictus – Discovered by bromeliad growers on imported shipments.
- Metamasius cincinnatus
- Metamasius dimidiatipennis
- Metamasius nudiventris
- Metamasius rugipectus
Hechtia Care Cheat Sheet
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