Crawlies with Cri 022218

Crawlies with Cri 022218Temnocerus aureus sparkly weevil sm sd

By Christy Pitto

For The Independent

This week’s Crawlies starts with a phrase familiar to some of you from past columns, “Don’t panic!” Yes, this week’s Crawly is a weevil, but it’s not a detrimental one.

Most folks are familiar with granary weevils, the type which damage (and can sometimes be found in) wheat, rice or corn. There are only five species of these in the US.

Comparatively, there are thousands of other species of weevils out there getting a bad reputation from those five.

This week’s Crawly is one of those thousands. Meet the Temnocerus aureus weevil (we’ll call it “Tem” for short). At just 1/8” (3 mm) this wee weevil packs an unbe-weevil-able amount of rose-gold sparkle into a small body. In fact, many weevils are brilliantly metallic and very small.

The Tem weevil is a leaf and bud weevil and if you look closely, you just may find one here in Southern Oregon because they live on/around Manzanitas. Don’t look for, or worry about, damage to those little pink posies though. Each Manzanita has many flower clusters, which in turn have many individual flowers. The Tem weevil will lay an individual egg in each of a few of those flowers when they are still buds. Those buds will whither and fall off before the rest bloom. Once the balance of buds bloom, you’d be hard pressed to even find where those withered buds had been.

After munching on the withered bud, the weevil larvae will dig into the ground to overwinter, emerging the following spring to start the cycle over again, and look quite dazzling doing so.