Fear no weevil

Published 5:23 pm Thursday, September 5, 2013

A common pecan question I hear is: “Why do some pecan nuts have a small hole in the shell and are empty inside?” The answer is pecan weevils. A pecan weevil is a small beetle with a long snout that lays its eggs inside the developing nut of pecans and hickories.

The pecan weevil is a serious late-season pest that affects the nuts in two ways. First, the damage caused by the female weevil laying its eggs inside the nut causes the nut to abort. And second, the larva inside the fallen nut feeds on the kernel before exiting the nut via a small hole chewed in the shell.

The larva then burrows into the soil, where it will stay for a year as a pupa. The following August to September (and usually after an inch of rain), the pupa pupates and emerges from the soil as an adult. The adult female mates and seeks a pecan tree to lay its eggs.

Adult weevils can fly but would rather crawl. Crawling makes the weevils vulnerable to contact insecticides. Carbaryl (Sevin) is labeled for pecan weevils and should be applied to the ground under the tree, trunk, and low branches. Timing is everything. Pecan weevils can only be controlled as they emerge from the soil during August and September. Waiting will mean another crop of damaged pecan nuts.

The information for this article is given courtesy of the Beaufort County Extension Master Gardener Volunteers. If you have a gardening question, please contact the Beaufort Extension Master Gardener hotline at 946-0111 or email your question to: beaufortcomg@gmail.com

NOTICE: Beaufort County Cooperative Extension will be offering the N.C. Master Gardener Volunteer Course starting in February 2014. Contact the Beaufort Cooperative Extension Service office at 252-946-0111 for more details.


Gardening calendar for September

Lawn care

Now is the time to fertilize and lime your tall fescue according to the soil samples.

There is no need to fertilize warm-season grasses.

Grubs in turf can be controlled with insecticides at the beginning of this month.


There are no fertilizing needs this month other than cool-season pastures.


Vegetables to be planted in September: mustard, onions, radishes, collards, and turnips.

Set out new chrysanthemum plants this month.

Now is a good time to set out or transplant landscape plants. Be sure to “open up” the root balls of container plants.

Pansies can also be set out this month to add color to the landscape.


Long-blooming annuals and perennials can be cut back.

Late summer is not a good time to prune trees and shrubs because pruning will stimulate new growth.

Dead or diseased wood can be pruned out anytime of the year.

Weeds or unnecessary trees should be removed from the landscape.

Root prune any plants you plan to move next spring.


Watch shrubs for the following insects: aphids, spider mites, scale and lace bugs.

Use recommended herbicide to control trumpet creeper and blackberry.

Continue with rose-spraying program.

Peach and nectarine trees need a trunk spray for peach tree borers.

Insects and diseases can be more severe in the autumn, so keep a close eye on your fall vegetables.

Apply carbaryl (Sevin) to the trunks of pecan trees every seven days from mid-August to mid-September to help prevent pecan weevils.

(Pesticides should be used sparingly. Use only when needed and always follow the label directions.)

Other activities

Prepare houseplants to reenter your home. Check them carefully for insects.

Seeds can be saved from your summer heirloom vegetables.

Clean up and put away unused gardening equipment so it will be ready for the spring.

Destroy any dead vegetable plants by chopping, burning, or plowing under.

Start looking for spring flowering bulbs to plant in October.