This week’s “Insect of the Week” is the Pea Leaf Weevil. Larval hosts are field peas and faba beans. Adults can spread to other cultivated and wild legumes, such as alfalfa, beans and lentils. Each adult female lays up to 300 eggs in one summer! The eggs hatch in the soil near developing plants and larvae move to feed on nitrogen-fixing nodules. This results in partial or complete inhibition of nitrogen fixation by the plant, causing poor plant growth. Adults feed on leaves and growing points of seedlings, causing notches in leaf margins.
The pea leaf weevil is a slender greyish-brown insect measuring approximately 5 mm in length. These insects can be distinguished by three light-coloured stripes extending length-wise down the thorax and sometimes the abdomen. All species of Sitona, including the pea leaf weevil, have a short snout. Mature larva grow up to 3.5-5.5 mm long, and are legless and c-shaped with a brown head.
Biological and monitoring information related to pea leaf weevil in field crops is posted by the province of Alberta and in the PPMN monitoring protocol. Also access the Pea leaf weevil page from the Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and Management field guide. (en français : Guide d’identification des ravageurs des grandes cultures et des cultures fourragères et de leurs ennemis naturels et mesures de lutte applicables à l’Ouest canadien).