See No Weevil?

One of many yellow poplar weevils outside my window, 19 June 2024 (photo by Kate St. John)

20 June 2024

Do you have these odd looking bugs on your windows? On your porch furniture? On your car? I had not seen yellow poplar weevils (Odontopus calceatus) for several years when John English posted a photo of one on Facebook yesterday. There were none over here in Oakland and I could honestly say, “See no weevil.”

Hah! Six hours later my windows hosted 24 of them. Welcome to weevil mating season.

Yellow poplar weevils are harmless to humans. Up close — very close — they’re kind of cute.

Closeup of yellow poplar weevil on my window, 19 June 2024 (photo by Kate St. John)

Some people think they’re ticks. How can you be sure they aren’t? Weevils have three things that ticks don’t have: 6 legs, a long snout, and wings. Ticks can’t fly.

Yellow poplar weevil is not a tick (photo by Kate St. John)
Yellow poplar weevil is not a tick (photo and markup by Kate St. John)

Learn more in this vintage article and amaze your friends.

p.s. You might hear these called “billbugs” but yellow poplar weevils (Odontopus calceatus) are not the same as billbugs (Sphenophorus genus), though both are “snout beetles” (Curculionidae family).

2 thoughts on “See No Weevil?

  1. Hi Kate! I have a question about the West End Bridge bird that was photographed recently. Is that a known nest site? The bird was banded by Craig Koppie in MD in 2022.

    1. Kim, good to hear from you and that (if we read the bands correctly) this bird is one you know from Wilmington, DE. The West End Bridge has never shown evidence of nesting, perhaps because it is only 1.5 miles from a well-established peregrine nest in Downtown Pittsburgh (322 Third Ave). However it attracts unattached peregrines looking for a territory. Carla at Pitt (banded at Fort Wayne, Indiana 2020) hung out at the West End Bridge until she won the Cathedral of Learning in 2023 (3.8 miles away). I assume Carla was the one trying to win Pitt because she showed up on the falconcam two days after the previous female, Morela, died of being eggbound.

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