The adult form of the sweet potato weevil is a shiny black antlike insect with a long snout and a red “neck” (technically speaking, a prothorax). It feeds on sweet potato foliage but usually does little damage. It’s the pest’s white larvae that tunnel into sweet potato tubers, causing damage that frequently leads to root rot.
The sweet potato weevil overwinters in stored sweet potatoes or on nearby weeds such as wild morning glory. Eggs are laid in cavities of the sweet potato root or on the vine near the soil surface. As many as eight generations can occur in a single year. Sweet potato weevils are found in the southern United States from Louisiana to Texas and north to North Carolina.
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