The period from mid-July to mid-August is the time when Iowan's will notice our most consistent perennial accidental invaders, the strawberry root weevil and the imported longhorned weevil. Both are harmless but annoying pests that wander in from outdoors, often in fairly large numbers.
One of the consistent concerns expressed by invaded homeowners is whether or not these are ticks. Both weevils are approximately 1/4 inch long with a narrow thorax and head and large pear-shaped or light bulb-shaped abdomen. Strawberry root weevil is shiny black while imported longhorned weevil is mottled tannish-gray. Unlike ticks, these weevils have six legs and a pair of antennae. Legs and antennae seem rather long for the size of the insects, and the antennae have an 'elbow' or bend in the middle.
Weevils that have wandered inside need only be vacuumed or swept up and discarded. Household insecticide sprays are of limited effectiveness and their use for this pest is discouraged.
Sealing cracks and gaps in the foundation and around windows and doors where the adults crawl into the house is probably the best defense. Spraying the foundation and the lawn next the house may be of some benefit, but only if the weather cooperates and it stops raining. Use diazinon, Dursban or malathion outside according to label directions to reduce the number outside and thereby, hopefully, reduce the number that wanders in.
This article originally appeared in the July 14, 1993 issue, p. 117.