Garden wildlife identifier: weevils and flower beetles

Garden wildlife identifier: weevils and flower beetles

Use the information in this illustrated guide to identify weevils and flower beetles.

Beetles form one of the most varied groups of insects, with more different species than any other type of organism.

Weevils are a large group of beetles, with short but stout jaws at the end of a snout – the rostrum. They use this to drill down into leaves, stems or buds, then lay an egg inside where the grub develops in secret.

Beetles form one of the most varied groups of insects, with more different species than any other type of organism.

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Weevils are a large group of beetles, with short but stout jaws at the end of a snout – the rostrum. They use this to drill down into leaves, stems or buds, then lay an egg inside where the grub develops in secret.

Though some weevils, vine weevils for example, are considered pests, most are secretive insects living on wild plants, and leave, at worst, only minor nibblings.

Learn more about identifying beetles in our ID guide to garden beetles.

Discover some of the most common weevils and flower beetles in our handy ID guide.

Weevils are a large group of beetles with their short but stout jaws at the end of a snout – the rostrum.

Vine weevil (Otiorhynchus sulcatus)

Vine weevil (Otiorhynchus sulcatus)
Vine weevil (Otiorhynchus sulcatus)

8-11mm, dark matt brown, with flecks of pale-beige scales. Rather domed and bulbous, and walks with a clunky clockwork gait. Lacks wings, so cannot fly. Notorious garden pest – pale C-shaped grubs feeding at roots of pot plants.


Nettle weevil (Phyllobius pomaceus)

Nettle weevil (Phyllobius pomaceus)
Nettle weevil (Phyllobius pomaceus)

7.5-9mm, black, but covered all over with dense, golden-green long-oval scales that run off if handled. A parallel-sided body shape. Legs with strong tooth on each femur (thigh). Found on stinging nettles.


Acorn weevil (Curculio glandium)

Acorn weevil (Curculio glandium)
Acorn weevil (Curculio glandium)

4-8mm, black, but appearing mottled brown because of dense reddish scales. Legs long, body small and rounded. Rostrum very long and thin. Drills deep into developing acorn to lay egg. Found on oaks.


Hazelnut weevil (Curculio nucum)

Hazelnut weevil (Curculio nucum)
Hazelnut weevil (Curculio nucum)

6-9mm, black, but appearing mottled brown because of dense reddish scales. Legs and rostrum very long. Found on hazel, drills deep into nut to lay eggs. Small exit holes in cobs are diagnostic. Once widespread, but now scarce.


Common leaf weevil (Phyllobius pyri)

Common leaf weevil (Phyllobius pyri)
Common leaf weevil (Phyllobius pyri)

5-7mm, dark brown, and covered with coppery or dull greenish scales. Legs with a tooth on each femur. Thorax narrower than prominently shouldered wing-cases. Found on hawthorn and other trees, also nettles.


Soldier beetle (Rhagonycha fulva)

Soldier beetle (Rhagonycha fulva)
Soldier beetle (Rhagonycha fulva)

7-10mm, orange-red, but feet, antennae and tip of wing-cases blackened. Soft larvae are grass thatch predators. Mating pairs often found in huge numbers on hogweed, males (on top) with smaller, more bulbous eyes.


Thick-legged flower beetle (Oedemera nobilis)

Thick-legged flower beetle (Oedemera nobilis)
Thick-legged flower beetle (Oedemera nobilis)

8-9mm, brilliant metallic green or with golden tints. Body long and narrow, legs and antennae long and slim. Found in rough grassy places. Males have hind legs greatly thickened. A pollinator of flowers including ox-eye daisies, cow parsley and bramble.


Cockchafer (Melolontha melolontha)

Cockchafer (Melolontha melolontha)
Cockchafer (Melolontha melolontha)

20-30mm, ochreous brown, head and thorax black or chestnut, sides of abdomen flecked with hairy white triangles. Grubs eat plant roots. Once considered a pest, but now much declined.


Pollen beetle (Meligethes aeneus)

Pollen beetle (Meligethes aeneus)
Pollen beetle (Meligethes aeneus)

1.5-2.7mm, rounded oval, slightly flattened, black with slight bronze green metallic tinge, legs paler. Feeds on pollen of wide variety of flowers, but can occur in countless millions in fields of oilseed rape.


Want to spot more garden invertebrates? Why not take a look at more of our wildlife identifiers to ladybird larvaedragonflies and damselflies and other garden beetles.

Many thanks to Chris Shields, for providing the beautiful illustrations used in this feature.

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www.illustratedwildlife.com

Beetle habitats

Many garden beetles are voracious predators of pests like slugs and maggots. Help provide a home for them in your garden with these five habitats to make for beetles.

Beetles form one of the most varied groups of insects, with more different species than any other type of organism.

Weevils are a large group of beetles, with short but stout jaws at the end of a snout – the rostrum. They use this to drill down into leaves, stems or buds, then lay an egg inside where the grub develops in secret.

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