Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

The black weevil (Aclees sp. cf. foveatus) of the fig tree: control trials with plant extracts.

Abstract

The species, currently referred to as Aclees sp. cf. foveatus Voss (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), probably of Asian origin, was accidentally introduced in Italy in 2005 and it seems to be closely related to Ficus carica. This exotic black weevil caused considerable harvest yield losses and plant deaths in many Italian fig nurseries and orchards, particularly in Central Northern regions, like Tuscany (mainland and also in Elba island), Liguria and Latium. In particular, a lot of problems were reported in the Prato province (Tuscany) where the "Associazione produttori fico secco di Carmignano" preserves the local fig cultivation and the typical high-quality production of processed fruits. Moreover, the presence of Aclees is registered in the fig germplasm collection at the CREA Research Center for Olive, Citrus and Tree Fruit in Rome. Currently, no active ingredients are registered against this insect on fig crops, so if this pest will not be managed systematically, fig cultivation on the territory could be decimated. Research on the use of biocontrol tools is needed to reduce the damage caused by this weevil, in order to build-up eco-friendly and low-cost control strategies. Here, we report the first results on laboratory trials setup with plant extracts, known for their biocidal and/or repellent activity, that were tested to evaluate their efficacy against adult stage of the weevil.