Pea weevils burrow into pods as they are forming to feed on the seeds. If populations are high, damage can be severe. The mottled gray or brown weevil emerges about the time peas are flowering. The adult weevil begins to feed on pea pollen and then lays yellow eggs on the outside of developing pods. The eggs hatch as the peas are forming and the larvae tunnel into the pod to feed. Larvae feed for three to four weeks in the pod and then pupate. The adult overwinters in the soil in fallen peas or on plant debris. There is one generation per year. These weevils can be found throughout North America.
Pea leaf weevils resemble pea weevils, but they feed on developing pea leaves; damaged leaves show characteristic scalloped leaf edges. These weevils overwinter in alfalfa or clover fields or in weed patches. As pea seedlings emerge in spring, the weevils migrate to gardens to feed on pea leaves. The adult also lays eggs on the soil. The larvae feed on pea roots; this damage is usually not significant. Pea leaf weevils are most attracted to gardens with heavy clay soil or in low-lying areas, and they are problematic in the Pacific Northwest.Prevention and Control
- Plant early-maturing varieties, such as Sugar Ann, that can mature their crop before the pea weevil attacks.
- Protect seedlings from the pea leaf weevil by covering them with garden fabric. Once plants have grown past the six-leaf stage, you can safely remove the row cover.
- Remove and destroy pea plant debris in fall to control pea weevils.