This is another pest that is unusual for hops. The Yellow Poplar Weevil (also known as a "flying tick", Fig. 1), has the appearances of a small tick. However, it is not a tick at all and does not bite, sting, or carry any diseases. It's range covers most of the eastern U.S. and westward to the Mississippi.
The weevils typically feed on yellow poplar tulips, sassafras and magnolia trees. However, they are attracted to the colors of bright green, white, and yellow. Unfortunately for hops growers, lupulin is yellow and many of the hops cones can be a bright green color. These pests typically have outbreaks every 5-10 years when they can be seen in large numbers.
This pest is hard to control as they like to burrow deep in the cone structures of hops. This prevents any contact pesticides from reaching them. Many times, hops growers may not know they have a significant problem with these pests until they harvest their cones and take them fresh to the brewer. At which point, especially if the cones are stored in a refrigerator, the bugs will begin to crawl out of the cones searching for warmer temperatures.
Few controls are labeled for use on hops that would have any effect on these pests. They do not appear to cause any major issues with the hop plants themselves, only cosmetic. Little to no information currently exists on this pests association with hops and the damage it might cause.
Fig. 1 Yellow Poplar Weevils
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