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Distribution and Hosts: The white pine weevil (WPW) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae, Pissodes strobi (Peck)) is found throughout Virginia. Its preferred hosts are eastern white pine and Norway spruce, but it can attack Scotch and other pines as well.
Description of Damage: The WPW usually attacks only the upright terminal leader. The previous year's leader (first whorl) and the new growth both die from the attack. Damage is first evident in March or early April when overwintering females chew holes in the leader for feeding and egg laying. These holes, eight inches to ten inches below the terminal bud, produce resinous bleeding that eventually dries to a white crust. By late May or early June, the larval damage is evident as the current year's leader droops like a shepherds crook, turns pale yellow and then brown. In July, the attacked shoot will have 1/8-inch diameter exit holes and tunnels and sawdust under the bark. A lateral shoot will eventually take over as the terminal leader but may have to be trained and have competing shoots removed. Trees of medium size, four feet to 40 feet, are most commonly attacked. WPW is a serious pest of forest plantations, Christmas tree farms, yard plantings, and landscapes.
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Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Interim Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.
March 3, 2015