Not vine weevil actually

alder sawfly
Sawfly larvae on Alder leaf

As the leaves fill out and mature on the trees, the insect larvae get busy eating them.  Hopefully the birds are enjoying eating the larvae as well.  Otherwise we are going to have a problem with the alder sawfly in future years!  This is not it’s real name, but I see a lot of them on alder trees and have not noticed them elsewhere.  I first notice just a few holes in the leaves, and then the tiny dark coloured caterpillars can be seen at the leaf edges.  When bigger they are paler with dark spots.  When disturbed they rear up in an amusing manner.  I don’t know what the adult flies look like.


bug on flower
Bright bug

This picture looks really tropical, but the scale is really small.  This is an unknown bug on a knapweed flower.

vine weevil
weevil larvae

I have been worried ever since we started planting trees in the tree field about the number of what I thought were vine weevil grubs I was digging up.  These are little maggots with a brownish head.  Vine weevil are notorious amongst gardeners for destroying plants from the roots – particularly strawberries.  One interesting thing about vine weevils (maybe other weevils too?) is that females can reproduce parthenogenically (they don’t need a male).

not vine weevil
Not vine weevil

However this year I spotted these beetles on some of the trees (mostly willows).  They were obviously weevils, but didn’t look like vine weevils – they are smaller and have a smoother back without the bronze speckles that vine weevils have.  I was surprised when I tried to find out what they were, how many different sorts of weevil there actually are in the UK (see here).  So I’m not sure exactly which these are – but I’m happier that I don’t have widespread wine weevils all over the holding.  I know I have them up by the house, but so far they don’t seem to cause too much damage.  Maybe the ground beetles keep the population under control; I have seen a black beetle happily eating an adult vine weevil in the polytunnel so I know they will take a few at least!

bonking beetles

I’ll just share this photo of red soldier beetles, if only because of their common name of hogweed bonking beetles.  They were happy (!) on the hogweed flowers.


10 thoughts on “Not vine weevil actually

    1. Well, I don’t actually know how destructive these are! They don’t seem to be eating all the trees and there are (presumably) lots of other roots for them to eat too. It’s nice that there is a bit of diversity anyhow.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Aha! Interesting. I’d love to get to the bottom of what these are. We found what we assumed were vine weevil grubs under a dying heuchera. We have seen the odd adult vine weevil around, so we were happy with that diagnosis. Out the front of our house, we have a twisted willow in a large pot. No other plants, just gravel. Earlier in the year as my partner was watering it, thousands of bugs came scurrying out of the pot. All looking like young vine weevil. Given we knew there were some around, we treated as foe and gave them a hot bath. All went quiet, but now the branches are covered in these bugs, hundreds and hundreds. It’s hard to tell if they are causing damage so now unsure if friend or foe. Do keep us all posted if you learn anything more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t think the adult weevil change size. Like butterflies they are grubs (=caterpillars) pupae (=chrysalis) and beetle (=butterfly). If your bugs were smaller than vine weevil, then they weren’t vine weevil but something else. If they aren’t causing damage I’d say live and let live. Generally something else will eventually eat them and redress the balance, even if they are foe rather than friend.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s