Moving pest news

In yesterday’s NYT Science Times, this brief report by Sindhya N. Bhanoo, on the website under the title “A Rooftop View of Insect Migration in a Warming Climate”, on the nut weevil in Denmark:

The Natural History Museum of Denmark has studied the insect population on its rooftop for 18 years, tracking 1,543 species of moths and beetles and more than 250,000 individuals. In a study appearing in The Journal of Animal Ecology, museum researchers conclude that warming temperatures are affecting specialized insects that rely on a single food source. The nut weevil, for example, feeds only on hazelnuts; it appeared on the roof during the first half of the study but not the second. Scientists at the museum suspect that the nut weevil and other specialists are moving north, where the climate is cooler.

Adult weevils eat plant parts. Their larvae do too, but from the inside out.

From Wikipedia:

The nut weevil (Curculio nucum) is a medium-sized beetle, with an especially elongated snout, characteristic of the Curculionini tribe of the weevil family (Curculionidae). Its larvae develop in hazel nuts Corylus avellana, being a serious pest in hazenut orchards. It occurs in most of Europe, from south Sweden, Finland and Great Britain to the Mediterranean.

On the name, from NOAD2:

a small beetle with an elongated snout, the larvae of which typically develop inside seeds, stems, or other plant parts. Many are pests of crops or stored foodstuffs. Also called snout beetle. ORIGIN Old English wifel ‘beetle,’ from a Germanic base meaning ‘move briskly.’

I was much taken by the name nut weevil, just for its sound and for a possible sexual interpretation: Weevils ate my nuts! Ouch!

Echoes of “Weasels Ate My Flesh” (Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention) and, more distantly, Monty Python’s “My Hovercraft is full of eels”.

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