Sweetbay Magnolia blossom
in the leaf litter and duff around the base of host trees that
include magnolias (Magnolia spp.), tuliptree
(Liriodendron tulipifera), and sassafras (Sassafras
albidum). They become active on warm days in early spring, when
they feed on buds and newly expanding leaves.
Life Cycle of Weevils
In late April or
early May, tulip poplar weevils lay their eggs down the midribs
of leaves, on the undersides. The larvae hatch quickly, and
begin feeding as leafminers between the layers of the leaves.
The larvae create a blotch-shaped mine at the tip, or apex, of
the leaf. Yellow poplar larvae pupate inside the leaves, and
hatch out as adults. The new adults feed from late June through
late July, and move to their overwintering sites by mid-August.
They will not cause any more damage until they resume feeding
the following spring.
We have cyclical
outbreaks of this pest, every three to five years or so. Their
population is held in check most years by a number of parasitic
wasps that attack the larvae and pupae while they are inside the
leaves. Even when we have outbreaks, their damage is more
cosmetic than life-threatening, and rarely warrants control in
Mistaken for Ticks
weevils generate many calls to Extension offices because
people find them on their clothing and mistakenly think they are
ticks. Ticks do not have antennae, and they cannot fly. Yellow
poplar weevils do not bite people, nor do they transmit diseases