The right way to Determine and Management Hollyhock Weevils

Rhopalapion longirostre

My grandma beloved hollyhocks, they have been her thought of the quintessential cottage backyard species and he or she would make dolls out of the flowers when she was a child.

However she stopped rising them as a result of, as she mentioned, they all the time appeared ragged.

They appeared that approach as a result of they have been devoured by hollyhock weevils (Rhopalapion longirostre, previously Apion longirostre) each single 12 months.

A close up horizontal image of a single, black hollyhock weevil (Rhopalapion longirostre) on the surface of a leaf.

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Once I purchased my first home, I needed to remind grandma of her childhood, so I made a decision to hollyhocks.

The primary 12 months, mine too appeared completely ragged. I examined the crops carefully and observed little grayish-black bugs with tremendous lengthy noses crawling throughout. And I imply throughout, my crops have been positively teeming with them.

That’s after I began my mission to do battle with hollyhock weevils. If I can beat them, you possibly can. On this information, I’ll clarify how by going over the next:

What Are Hollyhock Weevils?

Hollyhock weevils are small beetles initially from Europe that eat the foliage of hollyhock crops beginning in the summertime after which lay their eggs within the flowers.

A close up horizontal image of a single Rhopalapion longirostre weevil feeding from plant tissue pictured on a soft focus background.

Not solely do they injury the foliage and go away the flowers wanting ragged, however additionally they eat the seeds – a serious downside if you’re counting on these short-lived perennials to self-seed for the subsequent 12 months.

These pests don’t assault another species, solely hollyhocks, so that you don’t want to fret about them damaging your different crops.

They are often discovered all through North America, Mexico, Europe, and the UK.


When you have quarter- or eighth-inch-long beetles crawling throughout your hollyhocks, you’re most likely taking a look at a bunch of hollyhock weevils. They’re extraordinarily frequent.

Look nearer, and also you’ll see tannish or orange legs and a protracted snout. The females are usually bigger than the males, and their snouts, technically generally known as proboscis, may be equal in size to their our bodies.

A close up horizontal image of a small beetle on the underside of a leaf.

Should you don’t see the beetles themselves, search for shot holes all through the leaves.

It appears to be like just like flea beetle injury, however flea beetles don’t bother hollyhocks. So if you happen to see plenty of tiny holes, you’re most likely going to search out plenty of beetles close by.

The leaves may be so stuffed with holes that they seem like lace.

Biology and Life Cycle

The adults emerge at first of summer time, a couple of weeks earlier than the buds begin to develop in your hollyhocks. As soon as the buds develop, the weevils will flock to these and feed.

If you wish to train the kiddos concerning the birds and the bees, this can be a nice insect to begin with. At any given time, you possibly can normally discover a few these weevils mid-coitus.

A close up horizontal image of two hollyhock weevils (Rhopalapion longirostre) mating, pictured on a green soft focus background.

After mating, the smaller males will typically stick round to protect the feminine from different males.

When the flowers begin to fade, the females will chew deep into the seed pods and lay their eggs. Generally, you’ll discover them snuggled contained in the sepals, as nicely. A number of days later, the eggs hatch and the grubs emerge. These are white with brown heads.

These grubs feed contained in the house between the sepals and seed pods, and contained in the seed pods.

They then pupate, and a brand new era of adults emerges.

The adults feed on any remaining seeds and leaves earlier than shifting into the bottom or underneath leaf particles close by to overwinter. A number of late growing grubs would possibly disguise out within the remaining seed pods and pupate the next spring.

Because the climate warms up and new crops begin to develop within the spring, the adults emerge from the bottom and begin feeding on the younger crops. They’ll eat younger shoots, foliage, and rising buds.

Natural Management Strategies

I like having the ability to deliver individuals excellent news after we’re speaking about pests, and it hardly ever occurs. However there’s positively excellent news in terms of coping with hollyhock weevils.

They’re fairly straightforward to regulate. Pesticides work nicely, however you too can simply knock them off the plant. Let’s speak about how to try this, first.


Handpicking is very efficient and takes nothing greater than a little bit of your time.

That is the strategy I take advantage of, and folks have commented on how good my hollyhock flowers look, devoid of all these holey, ragged leaves and petals that plague many specimens.

A close up horizontal image of pink hollyhock flowers growing in the garden with a wooden fence in the background.

My course of is to take a bucket or large bowl full of soapy water exterior and knock the weevils off the plant in order that they land in it. I’ll tilt the buds over the bucket and faucet them and stretch the leaves, giving them a shake.

You may’t do that simply as soon as and name it a day, you must hold doing it repeatedly.

I’ll handpick the weevils each day for every week after I first discover them, after which on a weekly foundation till August.

The primary 12 months was the worst and it took me a couple of minutes to take away all of the weevils from every plant, however with consistency the populations find yourself getting smaller and smaller. As of late, I can do a row of a dozen hollyhocks in 5 minutes or so.

5 minutes every week for hole-free crops? It takes that lengthy to spray a pesticide!

Allegedly, the weevils solely feed at evening, however that’s not my expertise – I discover them munching away within the center most of the time. Nonetheless, if you wish to make certain you’re getting them, go searching within the night.

Should you don’t need to carry a bucket or bowl, no downside. It’s exhausting if you happen to’re on the market for some time.

You too can simply maintain a bit of paper or cardboard beneath the a part of the plant you’re shaking and dump the weevils into soapy water from the paper or cardboard.


Birds and spiders love many sorts of bugs, together with hollyhock weevils. Parasitic wasps will assault them, as nicely.

Encouraging these pure predators will make a dent in an infestation, but it surely gained’t remove them altogether.

A close up horizontal image of two birds perched on the side of a birdbath pictured on a soft focus background.

Having these critters round your backyard will show you how to out in different methods as nicely. Birds, spiders, and different pure predators hold many pest populations within the backyard underneath management.

The easiest way to encourage pure predators is to make your backyard a pleasant welcoming place.

Rising a range of plant species that bloom at totally different instances is step one. This might help to entice pollinators as nicely!

Having a water supply like a birdbath and including hen feeders additionally helps.

Natural Pesticides

Should you’re going to make use of a pesticide spray, don’t apply it when pollinators are out and lively, and don’t spray the flowers instantly. Be sure to goal the leaves and stems.

A close up horizontal of the damage done to the foliage of a plant after an infestation from hollyhock weevils.

These pests haven’t developed a resistance to pesticides, and just about any product will kill them.

Neem oil, horticultural oil, insecticidal cleaning soap, spinosad, and pyrethrins are all efficient.

I normally keep away from utilizing pesticides, even natural ones, except I’m having a very dangerous 12 months or I can’t get out typically sufficient to take away the pests by hand, however I’ve discovered that pyrethrins work finest for me.

A close up of a bottle of Monterey Bug Buster-O isolated on a white background.

Monterey Bug Buster-O

You may seize Monterey Bug Buster-O at Arbico Organics in eight- or 16-ounce containers.

Monitor your crops within the spring for the primary indicators of feeding and begin spraying.

It’s finest to do all of your spraying earlier than the flowers type, each to guard pollinators and to get on high of an infestation earlier than the weevils have an opportunity to put their eggs.

You would possibly have to repeat spray each few weeks or when you’ve got a cussed or particuarly massive infestation.

Chemical Pesticide Management

I don’t advocate utilizing chemical pesticides to regulate hollyhock weevils.

These pests don’t kill the plant and they are often managed simply utilizing strategies described above that aren’t practically as damaging to the encircling atmosphere and useful bugs.

Plus, many pests can develop resistance to pesticides, so it’s smart to order the usage of chemical compounds for after we really want them.

Make Your Hollyhocks Shine

I’m a fan of lace, however not in terms of my hollyhock crops.

As easygoing as these flowers are, chances are high that if you happen to don’t carry on high of a weevil infestation, you’ll discover your crops wanting decidedly ragged.

A close up horizontal image of a single hollyhock weevil (Rhopalapion longirostre) feeding from plant tissue, pictured in high magnification on a soft focus background.

The excellent news is that the injury is generally beauty and these pests are pretty straightforward to do away with. Which methodology are you going to make use of to take care of your downside? Tell us within the feedback part beneath!

And if you wish to proceed in your hollyhock-growing journey, take a look at these guides subsequent:

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