Follow by Email

Monday, February 11, 2019

Verifying Pecan Weevil Damaged Pecans

For everyone with pecans, here should be some good information from Bill Ree, State Pecan IPM Specialist, on pecan weevil and finding issues on you trees...  If you think you might me having issues with pecan weevils in Hale, Swisher, or Floyd County, please contact the Hale County AgriLife Extension Office.  This pest is not confirmed in these counties, but is suspected and conformation is needed.

Verifying Pecan Weevil Damaged Pecans
Through Microscopic Examination
Bill Ree – Extension Program Specialist III – IPM (Pecan)
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension

Figure 1. Pecan weevil larval exit holes. Photo credit: Pat Porter, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension
Pecan weevil is one of the most important nut infesting insects of pecan and as such this insect is not only a producer issue but also a state and industry problem. Making positive identifications of an infestation can be important for making management decisions, purchasing property for future orchards, determining new infestations/new county records and for quarantine regulations. The most

obvious sign of a pecan weevil infestation will be the exit holes created by emerging pecan weevil grubs in the pecan shell. However, holes in a pecan shell can also be created by birds, rodents, other insects and by mechanical means. With the aid of a compound dissecting scope or hand lends you can determine if a pecan was damaged by pecan weevil.


                                                     Figure 2 Pecan weevil grubs and damaged pecan

Pecan weevil infested nuts typically contain 3 or 4 larvae with all larvae becoming ready to exit the nut at the same time. It is thought that each larva begins to cut an exit hole in the shell. Typically, the one that breaks through first completes it and other larvae exit through it too; occasionally a nut will contain two PW exit holes.

                                                                          Figure 3. Bird peck damage to pecan shells

Bird pecks and rodent gnawing can scar or damage the exterior nut surface but seldom leave a distinct circular hole the size of the PW head capsule. With this type of damage there will be kernel (nut meat) still present in the pecan.

                                                  Figure 4 Pecan weevil larval exit hole

This is an exterior view of a pecan weevil larval exit hole. The circular hole size corresponds to the round, hard, head capsule of the larva which presses through the hole followed by the larger fleshy body.
The circular head capsule size hole with mandibular scars and beveled edge around the exterior edge of the shell are considered definitive evidence of PW nut infestation.

                                 Figure 5. Hole in pecan shell created by unknown source

This exterior view of a hole in a pecan shell, although almost circular it is irregular in shape with sharp, defined edges, not characteristic of pecan weevil larval emergence.

                                  Figure 6. View from inside a pecan looking at a pecan weevil exit hole

This is an interior view of the pecan weevil larval exit hole. Note the round beveled appearance. The small mandibles of the larvae cut the exit hole through the shell which leaves scars on the inside surface around the exit hole.

     Figure 7. View from inside a pecan looking a hole that was not created by pecan weevil

This is an interior view of a hole created in a pecan shell by an unknown source. Note irregular shape and the sharp edges of the hole.

Additional information on pecan weevil can be found at:

Thanks Bill,

Blayne Reed