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Cabbage Seedpod Weevil

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Photos by Debbie Roos, Agricultural Extension Agent.

May 2009

Description and Biology of the Cabbage Seedpod Weevil

Not too much is known about the cabbage seedpod weevil in North Carolina. In fact, NC State University entomologists said we set a new county record for this pest (tell them what they win!) and it had previously only been recorded in the western part of the state.

Organic control strategies: Research has shown that trap crops can be effective, so Doug is evaluating which trap crops would flower before the senposai and be more attractive to the weevils. Parasitic wasps also can help reduce both adult and larval weevil populations so farmscaping to help enhance populations of these parasitoids may be helpful. An organically approved pesticide such as Entrust® or Surround® may provide some control (see Pesticide Use Guidelines).

Doug Jones and his seed crop

Doug Jones stands next to his senposai seed crop at Piedmont Biofarm. Doug has been farming for 38 years and has developed quite the reputation not only for his high quality produce but also for his plant breeding efforts. One of Doug’s new varieties of Senposai (Asian collards) is now available through Fedco Seeds in Maine. Doug uses organic production methods on his farm.

honey bee pollinating sesposai

A honey bee forages on senposai flowers. Lots of native bees and other pollinators enjoy the blooms. Doug depends on these pollinators to produce his seed crop. Many people don’t realize how much our food supply depends on pollinators. The role of pollinators is obvious with crops such as cucumbers and blueberries, where we see the bees working the flowers which then set fruit. But so many other crops like greens and carrots and broccoli and onions (just to name a few) reply on pollinators to set seed which farmers and gardeners buy to grow crops.

adult weevil

Adult cabbage seedpod weevil.

adult weevil

Adult weevils can feed directly on seeds through the pod wall.

damaged seed pods

Damaged seedpods.

weevil exit hole in pod

Larvae feed on the seeds inside the pods before emerging through an exit hole to pupate in the soil.

weevil larva

weevil larva

Larva inside the seedpod. Larvae take about six weeks to develop through three larval stages (instars). A single larva eats about five seeds in its lifetime.

* These recommendations apply only to North Carolina. They may not be appropriate for conditions in other states and may not comply with laws and regulations outside of North Carolina. Certified organic growers should consult their certifier before using a new pesticide. Unless otherwise noted, these recommendations were current as of June 2009. Individuals who use pesticides are responsible for ensuring that the intended use complies with current regulations and conforms to the product label. Be sure to obtain current information about usage regulations and examine a current product label before applying any pesticide. For assistance, contact your county Cooperative Extension Service agent. The use of brand names and any mention or listing of commercial products or services in the publication does not imply endorsement by the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service nor discrimination against similar products or services not mentioned.

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This page last updated June 11, 2009.

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