Explaining Curculio Beetle or Apple Weevil in Olives!

  • Common Name:  Curculio Beetle or Apple Weevil
  • Scientific name:  ‘Otiorrhynchus Cirbricollis’

One of the species of the Weevil family Curculionidae and is a native to the Mediterranean.

In Australia, Curculio beetles or Apple Weevils are mainly known amongst Olive Growers in South Australia and Western Australia.

Curculio Beetle is nocturnal so damage will occur during the night where they will emerge to climb trees to attack leaves and bark of new shoots.  High populations can cause extensive canopy damage (especially to young trees) where by the beetles or weevils walk along the extremity of the leaf margin where they chew leaving a serrated edge on the leaves (as seen in the photo below).  As you can see the damage from Curculio Beetle or Apple Weevil can be quite extensive.


During the day Curculio Beetles will shelter for cool protected areas in the soil and under debris.  Eggs are laid on or under the tree and after hatching the larvae drop to feed on the roots. During peak times February – May (or Late summer to Autumn) the adults emerge from the soil and climb or access trees via trunks, weeds or low hanging branches. There can be 1-2 generations per year.


About Curculio Beetle & Apple Weevil
Adults grow up to 8mm in length. They lay eggs in Autumn in shallow soil, where larvae hatch about 2 weeks later. The larvae feed on the roots until around May, where they make a soil capsule up to 25cm deep and develop into their pupal stage.

4 ways you can look to minimise the impact of Curculio Beetle or Apple Weevil?

  1. PRUNE: Don’t allow your trees to have branches that touch the ground. Lift the skirts of your trees.  Make this practice part of your grove management.
  2. STICKEM: A product called stikem is a barrier you can apply around the base of the trunk to prevent access. This barrier is a sticky barrier and stops the pest in its track.
  3. CHICKENS: allowed to roam around the trees will feed on the beetles.
  4. SPRAY: Our growers report that Formula V  has been found to be effective for Curculio Beetle & Apple Weevil.  Formula V is certified organic.

See more about: Formula V

See more about:  Objective of Pruning Olive Trees

See more about Pruning Tools

***Any sprays that are used are required to be approved by the APVMA.  If there is a product that you wish to use that is not on the register you will need to apply for an off-label permit.

Please note: it is a legal requirement that pesticide label instructions are followed if olives are not listed on the label of the pesticide, it is either not registered for use on olives or an off-label permit is required. Pesticide registrations and off-label permits for olives can be viewed and downloaded from the Australian Pesticides & Veterinary Medicines Authority website: www. apvma.gov.au (click on search for a permit tab then enter olive under the crop section).

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