Hickory shoot curculio (HSC) larvae are legless grubs that tunnel into new shoots and stems of hickory and pecan. The injury causes early leaf drop and flagging (brown leaves on scattered branches of infested trees).
The HSC occurs throughout the eastern U.S., but it rarely causes serious harm. Occasional damage occurs in unmanaged trees or in orchards next to woods containing native pecan or hickory; 50% or more of shoots can be infested in the spring during an outbreak.
Natural enemies usually keep the insect under control. Pruning and destroying infested shoots and fallen twigs can reduce the chance for continued problems. Preventive insecticide applications are only justified if there is a history of damage.
By Lee Townsend, Extension Entomologist