The white pine weevil (Pissodes strobi) is relatively easy to identify due to its distinct snout and tiny size. These weevils only grow up to a quarter-inch long and are covered with red-brown, white and gray scales. The weevil bores holes into the trunk and sometimes branches of trees. They consume some of the tree’s tissue as sustenance and also deposit their larvae into cavities carved into the tree. White pine weevils can kill fragile tree saplings, but are rarely fatal to larger adult plants. However, they can permanently distort or stunt the growth of even large trees if they are not removed quickly.
Scan for insects on the outside of the tree and in small holes or cracks. Push aside debris on the ground and break some of the larger branches if the tree is completely dead. Look for a small beetle-like insect. They are pretty easy to spot on the tree but often take shelter and conceal themselves among rocks, branches and leaves on the ground.
Capture an individual insect if you find a bug that resembles the white weevil. Store it in a plastic jar or bag for later. Don't worry about ventilating the container, just make sure to seal it tightly. If you cannot find any adults, check nearby trees or wait until late spring or summer months.
Hold a magnifying glass to the contained weevil and note its key characteristics. Count the number of legs it has. Examine its face and snout. Weevils are often distinguishable by their unique facial traits alone. Hold up a ruler to the insect and estimate its length. Record all this information and describe the location on a notepad where you found the insect.
Compare the bug and its characteristics to databases and pest websites online. The white pine weevil is a well-documented pest that has plagued the lumber industry, particularly on the east coast. Check your captured specimen against the information listed on several sites before concluding your search.