Native to the Caribbean region, Diaprepes abbreviatus, was found in Florida in 1964 and has since established in over 30,000 acres of citrus there. More recently it was also detected in Texas and now Southern California. The weevil, which has a host range of over 270 plant species, has been intercepted and destroyed numerous times by California inspectors in shipments of plants, truck trailers and cargo holds of aircraft. In September 2005, D. abbreviatus was discovered in an urban area of Newport Beach, and in October 2005 the weevil was found 18 miles away in Long Beach. The California Department of Food and Agriculture is surveying these infestations and developing an eradication plan to ensure the root weevil does not continue to multiply and spread to agricultural areas in the state. Citrus and nursery crops are common hosts for the root weevil larvae where it feeds on the taproots causing serious decline or death and greater susceptibility to root rotting pathogens. Because D. abbreviatus feeds below ground, detection is difficult before decline of above ground portions of the host is observed.
For more information:
Environmental News Network, October 25, 2005, Invasive Weevils Spread to Southern California, http://enn.com/aff.html?id=951