For a while now I’ve been noticing damage to the leaves of my rhododendrons and azaleas. I just confirmed it’s the doing of Clay-colored Weevils, and I want advice on pesticide-free and ethical ways to keep the weevils off my plants.
It’s hard for me to squish insects, even pests, so simply squishing the weevils isn’t really an option for me.
My current idea is to catch them and take them to my friends house to feed to her chickens. Is this a good idea?
I don’t think it’s a bad idea per se, although you might check that the weevils are safe to eat.
I doubt that it is an efficient way of protecting your plants however. There’s a lot of weevils if there is a lot of noticeable damage.
Personally, I don’t see much ethical difference between killing a weevil yourself and feeding it to a chicken - capturing and storing the weevil for an extended period of time will cause it some stress (vs immediate death), though of course we don’t know very well how insects experience stress. There’s also carbon emissions associated with transporting to another location if you’re using a car, etc. You could just throw the weevils in the freezer to kill if you don’t like squishing. You can then give them to chickens all in one batch (chickens will eat frozen crickets at least) and reduce car trips and stress.
Do they have natural predator that you might be able to attract?
Other than birds I’m not sure. The weevils only seem to come out and feed at night when the birds are asleep.
I’m not sure about this species specifically, but it may be worth checking for eggs and larvae underneath leaves, since the adult can leave them behind.
For example, on one plant, I observed Lema daturaphila:
Both adult and larva were destructive.
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