Pecan Weevil Management for Homeowners

Home Grown  by Keith Reed
If you currently have a healthy looking pecan crop but you typically suffer from insect damage in the form of an empty nut with a small round hole in it, now is the time to consider taking action against the pecan weevil.

The pecan weevil overwinters and develop several inches deep in the soil, emerging about this time of year, typically after significant rains like we received last week. This insect can be very tricky to control with an insecticide application for several reasons. The insects aren’t a problem every year. While the weevil is in the soil, it is too deep to be affected by a soil applied insecticide. Movement from the soil into the tree can take place relatively quickly making it difficult to time an insecticide application as the insect is on the move from the ground into the tree. And finally, homeowners typically lack the equipment to make a proper spray application to an entire tree.

While this may not sound very encouraging, there are a couple of alternative options to control this pest. Consider installing circle traps. Circle traps are relatively simple and designed to capture the weevil as it climbs up the trunk on its way into the tree canopy, the insect’s preferred method of tree entry. While this method does not eliminate weevil damage, it can certainly help reduce the numbers. Circle traps can be a do-it-yourself project or they can be purchased. Contact our office if you would like detailed information of building and installing your own traps. You can also see a working example of a circle trap at the Botanic Garden at OSU. Locate the chicken coop and you can’t miss it.

Weevils can also fly short distances so it can also help to limit movement into pecan trees by keeping tall grass down under and around trees. This eliminates a “launch point” for the insects.

For more information of this or any other horticultural topic, you can contact Keith Reed, the Horticulturist in the Payne County Extension office. Keith can be reached via email at keith.reed@okstate.edu, phone at 405-747-8320, or in person at the Payne County Extension office, located at 315 W. 6th in Stillwater.

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