This weevil is a generally abundant pest, especially in grassland areas. The adults feed on the leaves of various trees, including fruit trees, making irregular holes in the leaves and flower petals. The larvae feed on the roots of various plants but are most abundant on grasses. Larval damage to the root system often loosens the turf and infested areas often develop into brownish, unthrifty patches; larval damage to the roots of cereals is also reported.
Adults appear in the spring, from late April onwards. They often congregate in large numbers on trees and shrubs (Rosaceae), and on other plants, where they feed on the foliage and flowers. Eggs are laid in the soil during the early summer, usually in association with grasses, each female depositing up to 200 over a period of a few weeks. The eggs hatch in 2-3 weeks. The larvae feed on the roots of grasses and other plants, and usually become fully grown by the onset of winter. They then overwinter and pupate in the spring, shortly before the emergence of the adults.
Adult 5-7 mm long, black, clothed in coppery, golden-brown or greenish-bronze scales; rostrum very short (Fig. 235). Larva up to 7 mm long; body creamish-white and translucent; head yellowish-brown (Plate 6b).
NOTE Adults of various other species of Phyllobius, and members of the related genus Polydrusus, also cause damage to fruit trees and ornamental plants; most of these weevils are clothed in coppery-brown or metallic-green scales. Larvae of one species (Phyllobius pomaceus Gyllenhal) sometimes cause significant damage to the roots of strawberry plants (see also Otiorhynchus spp., p. 159 et seq.).
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