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What’s invading your house today?

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Strawberry Root Weevils

By Irene Shonle

I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately regarding a small insect that is invading people’s houses, sometimes in fairly large numbers.  Upon inspecting the offending creature, the strawberry root weevil seems to be the current culprit.  The good news is that, while annoying, these weevils don’t cause harm to humans, pets or household furnishings.

Root weevils overwinter as larvae that feed on the roots of strawberry, raspberry, clover, spruce, Douglas-fir and many woody shrubs. Development and pupation of root weevils is completed in the soil. Most adults emerge sometime in June and lay their eggs throughout the summer.  As adults, they eat the edges of some leaves, but usually only cause minimal amounts of damage.

Why they invade houses is a bit of a mystery.  It is thought that hot, dry months cause them to seek shelter in the relative cool and moisture of houses, but quite a few people have been complaining of them recently, and we have been having decent rains and relatively cool temperatures.

The best way to deal with them is simply to vacuum them up.   Insecticides are not recommended or needed, and the insects will simply move on and stop coming in the house within a few weeks.  Other control strategies include sealing off any openings in the house, and screening windows to prevent entry.  I know this is easier said than done in our older cabins!  Another option is to remove any plants immediately around the outside of the home to reduce their habitat.  This has the added advantage of improving your house’s chances of surviving a wildfire.

Irene Shonle is the CSU Extension Office Director in Gilpin County, located at the Exhibit Barn, 230 Norton Drive, Black Hawk, CO 80422, 303-582-9106, www.extension.colostate.edu/gilpin.

Colorado State University Extension provides unbiased, research-based information about, horticulture, natural resources, and 4-H youth development. Colorado State University Extension is dedicated to serving all people on an equal and nondiscriminatory basis.

 

Photo by Whitney Cranshaw, CSU

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