Curculio, Or Plum Weevil, a small beetle of the family curculionidoe, and genus rhynchce-nus (Fabr.) R. nenuphar (Herbst). The perfect insect is about one fifth of an inch long, dark brown, variegated with white, yellow, and black spots; shaken from a tree it looks like a dried bud, and when disturbed remains motionless, feigning death. It has a long curved snout, bent under the thorax when at rest, which is used to make the crescent-shaped cut in which the egg is deposited; the jaws are at the end of the snout; the thorax is uneven, and the wing cases are ridged and humped, covering two transparent wings by which the insect flies from tree to tree; behind the humps is a yellowish white spot; each thigh has two small teeth on the under side. These beetles appear between the first of April and the middle of June, according to the forwardness of vegetation. When the plums are about the size of peas, the female begins to sting the fruit, making an incision in which she deposits a single egg; she goes from plmn to plum, placing an egg in each until her store is exhausted, hardly a fruit escaping when these insects are abundant.
The grubs, resembling whitish, footless maggots, with a rounded, distinct, light brown head, are hatched by the heat of the sun, and immediately burrow obliquely to the stone; the fruit, weakened by the gnawing of the grub, becomes gummy, and falls to the ground before it is ripe; by this time the grub has attained its full size, quits the fruit, and enters the ground between the middle of June and the middle of August in New England; it there becomes a pupa, and comes forth a perfect insect in about three weeks. Several broods may be hatched in a season, the latest remaining as pupae in the ground all winter; some good authorities believe that the curculio passes the winter above ground in the perfect state, and therefore that any operations in the soil at this season can be of no advantage in guarding against its ravages. Not only plums, but nectarines, apricots, peaches, cherries, apples, pears, and quinces, are attacked by the curculio. The grubs are sometimes found in excrescences on plum trees, in which the beetle, finding in them an acid resembling that of the fruit, has deposited the eggs, and hence has often been wrongfully accased of producing these swellings. As the curculio is a good flier, efforts to prevent its ascending the trunks of trees must be of no avail.
Among remedies which have been found successful on a small scale, the following deserve mention: Sudden jars of the limbs in the morniDg and evening in June, when they are depositing their eggs, will cause many to fall upon sheets spread beneath the trees, from which they may be collected and destroyed; scattering air-slacked lime in damp days on the trees once a week for six weeks, beginning soon after the fruit is discoverable; sprinkling flour of sulphur over them about the time the fruit is setting, and once or twice afterward; applying by means of a syringe a whitewash solution, rendered sticky by a little glue. All fallen fruit should be destroyed by heat, that the grubs may not escape into the ground, and give rise to a new generation; diseased excrescences should be cut out; the admission of swine and poultry about the trees will cause many of the larvae to be devoured before they can enter the ground. - The gray-sided curculio is pale brown, from one eighth to one fifth of an inch long; the larvae live in the trunks of the white oak, on which the beetles may be found about the beginning of June. Other curculionidce destroy pine trees, and infest various kinds of nuts in this country. In Europe there are many species which as yet are not found here.
The most destructive of the family are those which attack wheat and other grains. (See "Weevil).
Curculios. - 1. White Pine. 2, 3. Plum.