Black Vine Weevils
Black vine weevils are in the group of bugs categorized as root weevils. The black vine weevils in their larval stages will feed on the roots of ornamental plants that are commonly used for landscaping. Azaleas and rhododendrons are very susceptible to black vine weevils. Adult weevils will feed on the foliage of the plants. As they feed, the black vine weevils leave distinct notching marks on the leaves.
The black vine weevil is larger than other root weevils and has small patches of golden hairs on its wings. They mainly reside in the soil near the roots of shrubs or bushes that are planted near the foundation of your home. Black vine weevils overwinter in the soil in a pre-pupa stage. They do the most root damage in the early spring and after about a week, they emerge. Adults will feed at night, hiding during the day near the plants. In late summer, they begin to lay eggs, which hatch in August. The larvae feed through the fall and then spend the winter underground.
Even though it has wings, the black vine weevil doesn't fly. Most infestation occurs in gardens by homeowners unknowingly planting shrubs that are already infected with the black vine weevil. Since they can only crawl, look for damage to the base of plants when suspecting weevils. Prior to planting shrubs, inspect the roots for any visible damage, including evidence of larvae. Removing the weevils from the plants by hand is easily done at night, using dim light, so as not to startle them.
If you have a lot of plant damage from black vine weevils, seek the help of a pest control professional. They can create a management plan for your garden to help keep your plants and shrubs healthy.