Weevils are actually beetles. Most belong to the family Curculionidae. There are more species in this family than in any other beetle group. Scientists estimate that there are over 1,000 species of Curculionidae in North America.
Weevil species occur in a wide range of colors and body shapes. Many are slender or oval-shaped insects. Depending on the species, weevils range in size from about 3 mm to over 10 mm in length. They are usually dark-colored—brownish to black. Some have scales or shiny hairs covering part of their bodies. The most distinctive feature of weevils is the shape of their head. An adult weevil has an elongated head that forms a snout. The mouth is at the end of the snout. Some weevils have a snout that is as long as the body. Another family of beetles called Bruchidae, such as the cowpea weevil, have a different appearance from the typical weevil. They lack the elongated snout found in the Curculionidae.
What Do Weevils Eat?
Weevils feed on plants in the larval stage and as adults. Some weevils can be very destructive to crops. For many years, one of the most destructive weevils was the cotton boll weevil. The black vine weevil, Otiorhychus sulcatus (F.), is found in many parts of the United States. It feeds on a variety of plants, including hemlocks and rhododendrons. Most weevils are found in fields, gardens or orchards. A few weevils attack stored grains and seeds. They can be very destructive, and their damage is often very expensive.
Homeowners might not notice weevils when they are gathered on the outside of the home. But if the weevils manage to find an opening and invade the home, the homeowner often finds hundreds of insects crawling on the walls and windowsills. A vacuum cleaner is a quick way to remove weevils from the walls and furniture. Be sure to take the vacuum outside to empty it so the weevils don’t reinfest the home.
If weevils haven’t invaded, there is time for some prevention. Check outside for any openings that weevils could use to get inside. Look around doors and windows for missing caulk and damaged weather stripping. Check attic vents and crawl space vents for torn screens.