Cleopus weevil larva.
Source: Ensis Biocontrol agent:
What do the cleopus weevils look like?
The adult weevil is grey, about 4mm in length, with the distinctive snout characteristic of weevils.
The larvae are legless, and appear as yellow, jelly-like blobs on the leaf surface. They have a small black head and grow to about 5mm in length.
What about their lifecycle?
Adults begin egg-laying in spring when temperatures are over 10oC. Eggs are laid into hollowed-out cavities within the leaves and leaf buds. Larvae can be found through to June, if temperatures are warm enough. The pupa is small, brown, oval and the size of a lentil. Pupae are commonly found in seed heads, and also on leaves, on the stems and in the leaves at the base of the plant. There are at least three generations per year.
Damage is easy to see. Adult weevils make small holes, usually only a few millimeters wide. If these feeding holes are recent, the tough epidermis will still be present as a 'window'. Larval damage is similar but much larger and makes silvery areas on the leaf. Larvae also leave little trails of insect ‘poop’, known as frass.
Where are they established?
The weevils are present at the release site on Mataraua Rd, Kaikohe.
When and how can they be harvested for distribution?
At this stage, the introduction of the cleopus weevil is in its trial stage. It is hoped to have more information available on harvesting opportunities in the near future.
What does the target weed look like?
Buddleja davidii is a shade-intolerant woody weed from South East Asia. It produces small, wind-dispersed seeds, rapidly colonising bare or disturbed sites such as forest clear-fells, river beds and slip faces. It causes seedling mortality and significant growth losses during the establishment of Pinus radiata plantations.
Find out more on controlling Buddleja davidii