Submitted to: Entomological News
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/4/2008
Publication Date: 8/14/2009
Citation: Brown, M.W., Mathews, C.R. 2009. Biology of Oedophrys hilleri (Faust) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae): A Potential New Pest of Peach in the Eastern United States. Entomological News. 120:185-193. Interpretive Summary: Adult beetles of the introduced peach root weevil have been observed to be abundant on peach and other fruit trees in West Virginia. Very little is known about these beetles and their biology. This study was done to identify the range of plants that serve as food for these beetles, the food used by their larvae and other aspects of the species’ biology. Studies were conducted in an unsprayed peach orchard in West Virginia and in the laboratory. Adult beetles were found to feed on any species in the Rose family, including all commercial tree fruit species grown in West Virginia. Larvae were found to feed on roots of peach trees. One generation of the species occurs in West Virginia and the peak activity of adults is in late June into July. This information will help fruit growers and extension Entomologists know more about this potential pest of peach and other fruit trees so they can make appropriate pest management decisions.
Technical Abstract: The peach root weevil, Oedophrys hilleri (Faust), is an exotic pest from East Asia that has become established in the northeastern United States. This study examined the feeding preferences of adults in the field and greenhouse, and the larval food and phenology of adults in an unsprayed peach orchard. Adults fed on the foliage of plants in the Rosaceae family preferring peach (Prunus persicae) and pear (Pyrus communis). There was one generation per year, adults were most abundant in late June to early July but were present whenever trees were actively growing. Eggs were laid on the soil surface. Larvae fed on the fine roots and the cambium and xylem tissues of small woody roots of peach trees; roots of other species were not tested. Field observations revealed adult feeding on peach foliage up to 15 percent defoliation of an individual branch and a high of 337 adults/m(2) emerging from the soil under peach trees. However, heavily infested trees showed no apparent loss in vigor compared with trees in the same orchard with low levels of defoliation. But, in combination with other stresses, this exotic pest could be of concern to growers under some environmental conditions.