Root Weevils

peachiekean(z10A CA)October 17, 2006

I lost 3 of 4 beautiful pepper plants in August. They just wilted, fruit and all. When I pulled them up their roots were brown. I recently read an article in my Garden Club newsletter to be on the lookout for a root weevil (diaprepes abbreviatus) that is apparently doing damage to crops in California. When they posted a black and white pic, I knew I had recently seen a crowd of them on my garden fence. They were there over the course of a week and I finally just pulled up the milk weed which seemed to be where they were gathering. My question to Southern California gardeners is do you have them and have you had damage similar to mine? They are know to be damaging over 270 plants including citrus, hibiscus, avocado, loquat and oak.

Here is a link that might be useful: Root weevil

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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

Black roots are commonly due to a root rot.

The photo you linked to came from a page which stated this about damage from the adults:

"Notching along the margins of young leaves is a telltale symptom of the presence of D. abbreviatus adults, or other related root weevils."

And this about damage from the larvae:

"They will often girdle the taproot, impeding the ability of the plant to take up water and nutrients resulting in plant mortality."

Beyond that, where were the plants growing? Pot or ground?

    Bookmark   October 18, 2006 at 1:54AM
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peachiekean(z10A CA)

I just returned from my garden and there were the red and black insects, only their markings are not quite the same as the photo. Also, when I disturbed them with a spray of water they flew and had an even brighter red on their legs under the wings. They have been only on the milkweed flowers (a few feet away from my only remaining pepper plant) and I now feel they are not what the problem was on the peppers. Yes, I am pretty sure I rotted those peppers by overwatering as they had been through that heat wave and I figured they were stressed. But the one remaining plant is covered in peppers and is about 4.5 feet tall. I still wonder what happened to the other ones. They had been in the ground since early April and I expected them to produce through November as they did last year.
So now I just need to find out what these bugs on the milkweed are; they are sure colorful! Wish I had thought to bring my camera along.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2006 at 6:21PM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

The red and black fellows could be milkweed bugs.

Take a look at these photos.
http://images.google.com/images?q=milkweed+bugs&hl=en&btnG=Search+Images

Here is a link that might be useful: milkweed bugs

    Bookmark   October 18, 2006 at 8:23PM
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peachiekean(z10A CA)

Yep, that's them. They are social creatures and I'm glad they are harmless.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2006 at 2:05AM
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