Hollyhock weevil (Apion longirostre)
Pest description and damage The hollyhock weevil is native to southern-southeastern Europe and Asia Minor. It was first found in Georgia in 1914 and is now well distributed throughout the U.S. This tiny long snouted weevil relative (Apionidae is now removed from Curculionidae) is gray, and slightly hairy with orangish legs. Adults feed on leaves, causing small holes in the tissue. The long snout is adapted for feeding on seeds and buds. Look for slightly holy leaves and the paired weevils will likely be found around flowers and buds. Weevils reduce flower production and may also reduce natural re-seeding in the garden. Weevil feeding damage is relatively minor in hollyhock.
Biology and life history The adult weevils mate in July and August. The female drills deep into the developing bud and lays eggs. Larvae develop in 4 to 6 weeks. They pupate in August and overwinter in the duff and litter, mostly as adults.
Pest monitoring Watch for either the first holes in leaves or the adults (often in pairs) around the flowers and buds. Holes in seed pods are also indicative of this insect.
Bend flower heads over a box and sharply strike the stem to knock adults off the plants. Pick off the adults, though they do cling tenaciously. Remove (and destroy) buds before adults emerge in late summer or through the winter to catch late (spring) emerging adults.
For more information
Kulzer, L. 1998. Bug of the month: hollyhock weevil. Scarabogram. (http://crawford.tardigrade.net/bugs/BugofMonth32.html)