Kansas State University


Extension Entomology

Tag: larval feeding

Alfalfa Update

–by Dr. Jeff Whitworth and Dr. Holly Schwarting


Alfalfa weevil populations in north central Kansas seem to be developing as expected.  Fields sampled this week that had not yet been treated had greatly reduced foliage and were showing obvious signs of significant larval feeding, especially compared to fields that had been treated.



The good news is that the treated fields seem to be doing well and the untreated fields will probably only continue to be seriously impacted for about another week.  Weevil populations are predominately pupae, pre-pupae, or mature larvae which should cease feeding in the next few days.



This should give the alfalfa a chance to recover.  However, in untreated fields, and even fields that were treated later, after a majority of the larvae pupated, may have some adult feeding, as they may remain in fields until the 1st cutting or until temperatures start getting into the higher 80’s °F.  Adults feed a little on foliage and/or may cause ‘barking’ on stems, but this usually doesn’t stress plants too much unless there are significant numbers of adults.


Very few aphids were detected, but there were a few so periodical sampling should continue to ensure that these aphid populations remain at insignificant levels.


Alfalfa Weevil Update

— by Dr. Jeff Whitworth and Dr. Holly Schwarting

Alfalfa weevils are very active in south central and north central Kansas. We sampled many fields from 14 to 17 March and found small to medium sized (1st and 2nd instar) larvae in every field. Infestation levels ranged from 30% to 100+%.

AW early instar

Cooler weather over the next three days should slow down egg hatch and larval feeding activity. However, it does not look like the predicted low temperatures will be cold enough to harm either plants or weevils. Then, with the return of warmer than normal temperatures next week, the weevils will again become very active. Thus, if the winds are calm enough and fields are at or greater than 30% infested, next week seems like the ideal time to treat for alfalfa weevils. Only pinprick holes in leaves and a little feeding on terminals is evident so far. This, however, will quickly change if weevils are allowed to feed in 65+°F temperatures.

AW feeding