Monday, October 06, 2008

Chestnut Weevils

This year, we've discovered that there is a Chinese chestnut tree in our yard. I was glad to find it was something "useful" as the tree has been dropping the nuts for quite a while. This is the bur in which the nuts grow and drop.

They look fuzzy - but I grabbed one to move it off my car, and ouch - they're really sharp! So we have these sharp things all over part of our yard for now.
Stephen and I went out one day to harvest the nuts. Stephen really got into it. Long after I felt 'done' (we had more than enough for a batch), he kept picking; he was determined to fill the bucket, which he did. I combined parts of different recipes to prepare one batch and we ate a few.
Several days later I discover white larvae in my kitchen trash. I proceeded to clean the kitchen and look for any other evidence of life in my kitchen. I remembered having thrown away some chestnuts that looked 'invaded'. I checked the bucket of nuts and there were lots and lots of them! Glad I hadn't gotten around to giving the nuts away, I got rid of them - my faith in my housekeeping ability restored.
After a little research, I found that they were chestnut weevils.

The eggs are laid inside the nut before they fall from the tree. The larvae then eat the chestnut, eat their way out of the nut and go underground for 1-2 years. With a 2-3 year life cycle, it will take a while to get rid of these. This was a rental house until our purchase, so the infestation is probably complete.

The good news is that a major control method, called sanitation, involves keeping the nuts off the ground and in something like a plastic bucket. Stephen has shown his aptitude for picking up chestnuts, so I will definitely enlist his help. This year is pretty much shot since there are nuts that have been on the ground long enough to yield more grubs - but I like to think our one harvest made a little dent.

Maybe by the time the pests are gone, I will know what I'm doing....

1 comment:

Andy P said...

Who knew? Learned something new today. Thanks!