Cookies on Plantwise Knowledge Bank

Like most websites we use cookies. This is to ensure that we give you the best experience possible.

Continuing to use means you agree to our use of cookies. If you would like to, you can learn more about the cookies we use.

Plantwise Knowledge Bank
  • Knowledge Bank home
  • Change location
Plantwise Technical Factsheet

pea leaf weevil (Sitona lineatus)

Host plants / species affected
Amaranthus retroflexus (redroot pigweed)
Arachis hypogaea (groundnut)
Cicer arietinum (chickpea)
Cytisus (Broom)
Lathyrus spp.
Lotus (trefoils)
Lotus corniculatus (bird's-foot trefoil)
Lotus uliginosus (greater lotus)
Lupinus (lupins)
Lupinus albus (white lupine)
Lupinus luteus (yellow lupin)
Lupinus polyphyllus (garden lupin)
Medicago lupulina (black medick)
Medicago sativa (lucerne)
Melilotus albus (honey clover)
Melilotus officinalis (yellow sweet clover)
Onobrychis viciifolia (sainfoin)
Phaseolus vulgaris (common bean)
Pisum sativum (pea)
Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust)
Trifolium (clovers)
Trifolium dubium (yellow suckling clover)
Trifolium fragiferum (strawberry clover)
Trifolium hybridum (alsike clover)
Trifolium incarnatum (Crimson clover)
Trifolium pratense (purple clover)
Trifolium repens (white clover)
Vicia faba (faba bean)
Vicia sativa (common vetch)
Vicia spp.
Vicia villosa (hairy vetch)
List of symptoms/signs
Leaves  -  external feeding
Roots  -  external feeding
Roots  -  internal feeding
Adult feeding damage is characteristic, consisting of subcircular or U-shaped notches in the leaf margins, cut in close sequence and producing a scalloped effect (Prescott and Reeher, 1961). Severe ragging of the leaves or complete defoliation can occur in heavy infestations. Although the most obvious injury is done by the adults, larvae can severely damage and destroy nitrogen root nodules of peas and vetch. The young larvae feed on nodules by chewing a hole through one end and consuming the contents (Hoebeke and Wheeler, 1985). In Europe, Baranov (1914) noted that larvae will also feed on roots.

Prevention and control

Cultural Control

Infestation of legume crops by S. lineatus in Germany can be largely avoided by good growing conditions, since vigorous young plants show least infestation (Raiser, 1983).

Mixtures of oats and broad beans in southern England were found to reduce the amount of notching of the bean leaflets by S. lineatus and to increase emigration from these more diverse plots (Baliddawa, 1984).

Examination of the yields of field experiments at Rothamsted Experimental Station, UK demonstrated an unexpected trend for higher yields in later-sown spring Vicia faba crops. It is suggested that this is because late sowing avoids infestation by S. lineatus adult spring migrants (Hamon et al., 1987).

Field studies were conducted in Poland during 1991-93 to study the effect of different methods of pea (Pisum sativum var. arvense) cultivation on the occurrence of insect pests. Two spacings (15 and 30 cm), two sowing dates and intercropping with white mustard (Sinapis alba) were used. Intercropping pea with white mustard reduced populations of Sitona adults and larvae, including S. lineatus (Wnuk and Wiech, 1996a).

In Poland, covering a field of peas with Lanet polyethylene insect netting immediately after sowing gave good control (Vulsteke et al., 1994).

Biological Control

Beauveria bassiana strain 195 was tested in a semi-field experiment against adults of S. lineatus overwintering in buckets with lucerne, white clover (Trifolium repens) or barley straw in Denmark. The experiment was started on 21 September and at the end of overwintering (late April), mortalities were 99.5% in lucerne, 94% in white clover and 100% in buckets with barley straw. In buckets with barley straw, mortality was due to starvation as weevils apparently were not fully fed for overwintering. Data from buckets collected at the end of October showed that weevils had been infected but mortality was postponed until the onset of spring. Natural winter mortality in control buckets reached 64.7% (lucerne), 51% (clover) and 87.4% (straw) (Steenberg and Ravn, 1996).

In laboratory and greenhouse tests in Germany, the fungus Metarhizium anisopliae was effective for the control of small insects (5 mm or less) such as S. lineatus that live in soil for only a short time (about 7 weeks) (Muller and Stein, 1976). Conidial suspensions of B. bassiana, Metarhizium anisopliae var. anisopliae, Metarhizium flavoviride, Paecilomyces farinosus and Paecilomyces fumosoroseus were tested in the laboratory for pathogenicity to eggs and neonate larvae of Sitona lineatus. M. flavoviride outperformed all other fungi, and was the only species effective against eggs of S. lineatus. The larvae of S. lineatus hatching from treated but apparently unaffected eggs were susceptible to all fungi tested, and the overall cumulative mortality for eggs and larvae was high. The lowest LD50 for S. lineatus was 420 conidia per ml with P. fumosoroseus, and M. flavoviride was the fastest-acting fungus (LT50=6.9 days at 100 million conidia per ml). INRA isolates M. flavoviride 88 and B. bassiana 142 are promising candidates to control S. lineatus (Poprawski et al., 1985).

In laboratory experiments in Germany, the nematodes Steinernema carpocapsae, S. bibionis and Heterorhabditis bacteriophora reproduced in S. lineatus. Exposed to 30 infective larvae per weevil, 50% mortality occurred in 6 days and 100% in 14 days (Wiech and Jaworska, 1990). Mortality of S. lineatus larvae caused by S. carpocapsae was significantly greater for larvae originally from peas than for those collected from Vicia faba. Young adults of this pest from pea-fed larvae were also more susceptible to the nematodes. However, larvae of S. lineatus from beans appeared more favourable hosts for nematode multiplication than larvae from peas, because greater numbers of juveniles of S. carpocapsae emerged from bean-fed S. lineatus (Jaworska and Ropek, 1994).

The effects of different stages of insects and plant hosts on the susceptibility of S. lineatus to infection by entomophilic nematodes were studied in the laboratory in Kracow, Poland. Early- and late-instar larvae, pupae and young adults were collected from soil and faba beans, peas and field peas in Poland. Survival of adults was 95% during the first week and 10% after a month at 23°C. Larvae and adults reared on early pea (Szesciotgodniowy) were highly susceptible to infection, while pupae were less susceptible. Adults were susceptible to infection, with differences in infection rates depending on nematode species (S. carpocapsae, Steinernema feltiae and H. bacteriophora) and on food plant. All three nematode species multiplied within S. lineatus, with adults from early beans being the best hosts for S. carpocapsae and H. bacteriophora (Jaworska and Ropek, 1996).

Host-Plant Resistance

A collection of introductions, lines and cultivars was screened in the field and laboratory. P1261670, P1263010, P1285729 and P1343983 were resistant to adult feeding in the seedling stage. Resistant entries were either vigorous or had large leaflets. There was evidence of antibiosis in three entries: P1356999, P1250442 and P1285727 produced the fewest root nodules in the field and greenhouse and supported the lowest population of larvae (Nouri Ghadbalani, 1978).

Eight parental lines of Pisum sativum resistant to adult S. lineatus, and of P. sativum var. arvense, were intercrossed in a non-reciprocal manner, and these and the F1 and F2 populations were evaluated for foliar damage and percentage defoliation as measures of resistance to S. lineatus, under laboratory and field conditions. General combining ability (GCA) effects were present for resistance both in the field and laboratory analyses, whereas specific combining ability effects for resistance were significant in only half of the eight analyses. P1263010 and P1343983 had large negative GCA estimates for both measures of resistance, indicating their use as parents in the development of resistant cultivars. They were both generally more resistant than the commercial cultivars tested, in both field and laboratory evaluations, expressing resistance under the pressure of 16 adult S. lineatus per plant (Auld et al., 1980).

In studies of 10 pea cultivars registered in Poland, adults of S. lineatus responded to visual and/or chemical stimuli (odour) when selecting plants. The preferred cultivars were Karat, Koral and Aster, while Legenda, Mihan and Hamil were avoided. The longest lifetime was observed for curculionids that had been fed pea cultivars Legenda and Perkun (Sledz and Kordan, 1994).

In the UK, for S. lineatus, only the Trifolium repens varieties AberHerald, Katrina, Gwenda and Olwen were less favoured than Grasslands Huia (Murray, 1996).

Chemical Control

Due to the variable regulations around (de-)registration of pesticides, we are for the moment not including any specific chemical control recommendations. For further information, we recommend you visit the following resources:


S. lineatus has become increasingly common on field beans (Vicia faba) in southern and western Sweden, where considerable losses were caused in 1975, some 20% of the leaf surface being eaten away on the young bean plants (Sigvald, 1978).

In lucerne in Czechoslovakia, a positive correlation was found between the percentage of dry matter weight loss and the reduction of leaf area due to feeding by S. lineatus, in both the above-ground parts and the roots (Havlickova, 1979).

Field trials were carried out in Germany in 1979-81 to determine the effect of infestation by S. lineatus on the yield of Vicia faba. The leaf-eating adults caused only a minor part of the damage, while normally some 70-90% of losses were due to the larvae feeding on the nodules. Control measures should therefore be directed primarily against larvae (Oschmann, 1984).

In field surveys in France, the main quantitative relationship was the highly significant correlation between the notches caused by the spring adults of S. lineatus on the first level of leaflets and the subsequent larval populations. An adult damage grading of 3 was correlated with a mean larval density of 12 larvae per plant and 90% destruction of root nodules (Cantot, 1986).

The effect of S. lineatus on nodulation and yield components of peas was studied in the laboratory and in the field in France. Larvae caused about 90% destruction of root nodules when 8-10 larvae per root were present (Cantot, 1987).

Experiments under controlled conditions or semi-field conditions (artificial infestation under cages) demonstrated the effects of larvae of S. lineatus on some productivity factors in peas, at a threshold of 10 eggs per plant on isolated plants or 20 eggs per plant for groups of three plants. The effects of infestation were observed as the number of seeds and yield per plant. In the case of the cultivar Finale, the effect was mainly observed on the vegetative parts of the plant. The nitrogen content of the seeds was found to be reduced when larvae destroyed the nodules, and the total nitrogen produced per plant was significantly reduced in infested plants under field conditions. A relationship between the number of larvae per plant and the percentage of nodules destroyed was confirmed (r=0.96) (Cantot, 1989).

In the Ukraine, the shoots of pea, vetch and other annual leguminous plants are severely damaged by weevils of the genus Sitona, especially S. lineatus (Dyadechko et al., 1975). Considerable damage is done by S. lineatus to seed crops of spring vetch (Vicia sp.) in the Kursk region of the USSR (Stepanov, 1978). In Russia, with an economic threshold of 10 Sitona lineatus per square metre on first-year clover, 5-9% of plants were lost (Karavynanskii et al., 1986). Field research in several regions of the St Petersburg region of Russia in 1986-88 showed that S. lineatus and four other Sitona species were the most important pests of the new fodder plant Caucasian goat's rue (Galega orientalis). Significant damage to the above- and below-ground biomass occurred, and there was a decrease of 15-30% in the seed harvest (Novozhilov et al., 1990).

The impact of S. lineatus on Vicia faba was investigated in field cage experiments in Denmark using controlled attack levels. A decrease in yield of up to 28% was recorded due to a reduction in the number of pods per plant, whereas the number of seeds per pod and the individual seed weight were unaffected (Nielsen, 1990).

In a survey in France in 1988-90, the infestations of and damage by S. lineatus in pea crops were investigated. Crops sown early in the year, towards the end of May, were more likely to be attacked by the pest than those sown later, at the beginning of June. If the plants were infested with adults at emergence, larvae typically caused serious damage to nodules during flowering, reducing the nitrogen available to the plant during the grain number establishment period and possibly reducing the final yield (Dore et al., 1991).

In the Netherlands, S. lineatus severely damaged the biodynamically managed dried pea crop by undermining biological nitrogen fixation, and this beetle could not be controlled using Heterorhabditis nematodes (Kroonen-Backbier, 1991).

Measurements of feeding damage by adults of S. lineatus on seedlings of Trifolium repens at the first and fourth trifoliate leaf stage were made in the glasshouse at 20°C. S. lineatus consumed more of the trifoliate component of the seedling. Adults caused significant yield reduction at all levels of plant population (Murray and Clements, 1992).

In Rzeszów, Poland, the most serious damage to the leaves of all cultivars of horse bean (Vicia faba var. minor) investigated was caused by S. lineatus adults (Czerniakowski et al., 1996).

In Poland, field pea plants (Pisum sativum var. arvense) were most seriously injured by S. lineatus adults at early stages, up to the four true leaves. Losses of leaf area eaten by weevils varied between developmental stages, and ranged from 8.1-11.8% in 1992 and from 3.2-15.7% in 1993. The older the plant, the smaller the proportion of leaf area damaged. The harmfulness of weevils depended on the speed of development at the early plant stages (Wnuk and Wiech, 1996b).

In south-eastern England between 1970 and 1974, in glasshouse tests, Apion vorax was a much more effective vector than S. lineatus of broad bean stain comovirus and Echtes Ackerbohnenmosaikvirus [broad bean true mosaic comovirus]; the latter was transmitted more often. Adults of S. lineatus transmitted no more often after 8-16 days on infected plants than after 1-2 days (Cockbain et al., 1975). In Austria, broad bean stain comovirus, affecting the production of Vicia faba, is transmitted by S. lineatus (Wodicka, 1984).

Since 1967, in the Algarve and Alentejo regions of Portugal, fields of Vicia faba have shown broad bean mottle bromovirus (BBMV) symptoms. Symptoms on faba bean are mild, but infection in peas can be lethal. BBMV was transmitted at a low rate (6-7%) by S. lineatus which was also present in the broad bean fields and is probably the vector (Sequeira and Borges, 1989). BBMV was transmitted from infected to healthy Vicia faba plants by S. lineatus and other weevils. S. lineatus appeared to be an efficient vector; acquisition and inoculation occurred at the first bite, the rate of transmission was ca 41%, and virus retention lasted for at least 7 days. S. lineatus transmitted the virus from faba bean to lentil and pea, but not to the three genotypes of chickpea tested. The virus should be regarded as a food legume virus rather than solely a faba bean virus, and it is considered an actual threat to food legume improvement programmes (Fortass and Diallo, 1993).

S. lineatus, which occurs naturally on legumes in Syria, transmitted broad bean stain comovirus and BBMV from infected lentil or Vicia faba plants to healthy ones (Makkouk and Kumari, 1995).

In Czechoslovakia, adults of S. lineatus fed on inoculated lucerne transmitted the bacterium Corynebacterium michiganense pv. insidiosum [Clavibacter michiganensis subsp. insidiosus] to healthy plants, inducing wilt symptoms. The bacterium was re-isolated (Kudela et al., 1984).

In field experiments in Oregon and Washington, USA, the reduction in seed biomass due to high densities of S. lineatus, averaged over all experiments, was 10 and 5% for early and late infestations, respectively (Williams et al., 1995).

Related treatment support
External factsheets
Department of Agriculture Western Australia Factsheets, Government of Western Australia, 2006, English language
AAFC Sustainable Crop Protection Factsheets, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), 2015, English language
AAFC Sustainable Crop Protection Factsheets, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), 2015, French language
Aberaeron Allotment Association Fact Files, Aberaeron Allotment Association, English language
Zoomed image