Azalea: Notches on leaves – Weevils

If your azaleas have little notches extending inwards from the leaf edges the notches are caused by the vine weevil, a small, flightless, long-nosed beetle which attacks many types of garden plant. A menace in both its larval and adult forms, it is especially common on evergreen azaleas, rhododendrons and camellias.

notches-on-leaves-weevil

Image Credit: John A. Weidhass, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Bugwood.org

It is the adult insect which is troublesome on azaleas, especially when they are grown in a sheltered spot.

The pests hide among leaf litter on the soil during the day. crawling up the plants at night to nibble the leaf edges. The females lay their eggs on or below the soil surface and the larvae burrow into the roots or tubers of almost any soft, fleshy plants they encounter. Curiously, female vine weevils very often reproduce asexually – which is perhaps just as well for the insects’ survival, since males are extremely rare.

Control of such an elusive pest is difficult. It is hardly practicable to treat the entire leaf litter beneath a bank of azaleas. Fortunately, damage is not usually severe. But if it is, spray or dust the soil and litter beneath the shrubs with HCH and rake it in. This should get rid of the weevils.