How to Manage Pests

UC Pest Management Guidelines


Clover Root Curculio

Scientific Name: Sitona hispidulus

(Reviewed 1/17, updated 1/17)

In this Guideline:

Description of the Pest

Adults of the clover root curculio are slightly smaller than alfalfa weevil adults and are a mottled gray-brown with no distinct patterns. The life cycle is similar to alfalfa weevil in that the adults leave the alfalfa fields and spend the summer in protected areas.

The clover root curculio is a recognized alfalfa pest in most U.S. growing areas, but information on this pest in California is extremely limited. Clover root curculio is most likely to be found in June and is apparently more common in sandy soils than in the heavier soils.


The white, grublike larvae of the clover root curculio feed on alfalfa roots and leave gouges in the tap root. This damage has been shown to be detrimental to alfalfa yield and stand longevity in the eastern United States. Damage has also been reported in California, but the severity and distribution of damage in the state has not been assessed.

The feeding also promotes root rot diseases by providing entry points for fungi.


There are no thresholds or control measures for this pest. Crop rotation to non-legume crops is the best way to manage this pest.


[UC Peer Reviewed]

UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines: Alfalfa
UC ANR Publication 3430

Insects and Mites

L. D. Godfrey, Entomology, UC Davis
E. T. Natwick, UC Cooperative Extension, Imperial County
P. B. Goodell, Entomology, Kearney Agricultural Center, Parlier
R. F. Long, UC Cooperative Extension, Yolo County
V. M. Barlow, UC Cooperative Extension, Riverside County and UC IPM Program

Acknowledgment for contributions to Insects and Mites:
D. R. Haviland, UC Cooperative Extension, Kern County
M. Rethwisch, UC Cooperative Extension, Riverside County (Blythe)
C. G. Summers, Entomology, Kearney Agricultural Center

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