Biology of Bruchidius Villosus (Coleoptera:Bruchidae) on Scotch Broomin North Carolina
Scotch broom, Cytisus scoparius (L.), a weed in the Pacific Northwest, is rapidly invading open areas and ecologically sensitive dunes along the coast. Scotch broom populations also exist in the eastern United States, but are apparently stable and not expanding. The eastern Scotch broom populations may be kept in check by the broom weevil, Bruchidius villosus (F.), a bruchid found in eastern populations of broom but absent from those in the Northwest (Bottimer 1968). We studied the natural history and biology of the broom weevil in North Carolina. Our purpose was to relate the bruchidís life history to the phenology of the host plant and to quantify oviposition and seed destruction by the bruchids. Adult weevils were active around the plant from the first flowering in early spring until dehiscence of the seedpods in summer. The sex ratio of the beetles was nearly 1:1 throughout the adult activity season. The number of weevil eggs laid on the pods was correlated to the length of the pod and to the number of seeds in the pod. The larvae develop in and destroy the seeds of the broom plant. Seed destruction at two sites in North Carolina was more than 80%; a field experiment showed that seed destruction was dependent on the density of beetles in cages on the plants. Because of its impact on seed production, the broom weevil may be a viable candidate for biological control of broom in the Northwest.