Agriculture: Alfalfa Pest Management Guidelines

Clover Root Curculio

  • Sitona hispidulus
  • Description of the Pest

    Adults of the clover root curculio are slightly smaller than alfalfa weevil adults and are a mottled gray-brown with no distinct patterns. The life cycle is similar to alfalfa weevil in that the adults leave the alfalfa fields and spend the summer in protected areas.

    The clover root curculio is a recognized alfalfa pest in most U.S. growing areas, but information on this pest in California is extremely limited. Clover root curculio is most likely to be found in June and is apparently more common in sandy soils than in the heavier soils.

    Damage

    The white, grublike larvae of the clover root curculio feed on alfalfa roots and leave gouges in the tap root. This damage has been shown to be detrimental to alfalfa yield and stand longevity in the eastern United States. Damage has also been reported in California, but the severity and distribution of damage in the state has not been assessed.

    The feeding also promotes root rot diseases by providing entry points for fungi.

    Management

    There are no thresholds or control measures for this pest. Crop rotation to non-legume crops is the best way to manage this pest.

    Text Updated: 01/17