Seedling Debarking Weevil

Order: Coleoptera

Family: Curculionidae

Latin Name: Hylobius congener

Common Names: Seedling Debarking Weevil, Hylobius weevil


The seedling debarking weevil is a native insect that feeds on the bark of softwood seedlings, affecting the establishment and growth of the trees. Mortality levels on planted stock can be very high in some areas where natural regeneration is low.

Life History

The life cycle of the seedling debarking weevil takes 2 years to complete.

The adult weevils emerge from their overwintering sites in the duff-litter zone in the spring, beginning in late April. During May and lasting until July they are attracted to recently harvested sites by the scent of exposed resin, and begin to feed on the bark of softwood seedlings.

Mating occurs and the female begins to lay up to 100 eggs under the bark of softwood stumps, logs, and slash. The eggs hatch several weeks later and the larvae feed on the cambium layer (inner bark).

The weevil overwinters as a pre-pupae, or as a larva if the eggs hatched later in the season. Pupation occurs the following summer, with adults emerging during July until October. They feed for the next several weeks and as temperatures cool down they crawl into the duff-litter zone to overwinter.

Damage Symptoms

Adults feed on the bark of softwood seedlings creating irregular shaped scars along the stem. If 50% or more of the bark is removed the seedling will likely die. Feeding damage also creates a wound allowing disease to enter the tree.

Control Options

The recommended control in Nova Scotia is delaying planting for two years after harvest. However, if planting must be done on recently cut sites, scraping back the duff-layer or planting the seedlings in scarified sites will reduce weevil movement to the seedlings to feed by up to 50%.


CAUTION: Read and follow the instructions on the label when using any control agent. Proper application and use of recommended personal protective equipment are essential for the safe use and effectiveness of any pesticide.

DISCLAIMER: Control options are suggestions only. Actions taken for pest control are the sole responsibility of the applicator in full compliance with any Federal, Provincial or Municipal Acts, Regulations or Bylaws.