LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KRQE) – Across New Mexico, locals love pecans. But so do small, long-snouted bugs known as pecan weevils. The New Mexico Department of Agriculture wants to make sure the bugs don’t spread and ruin crops.

“For over 40 years, the New Mexico Department of Agriculture and the New Mexico Pecan Growers Association have diligently worked together to prevent the spread of pecan weevil and, ultimately, protect this valuable crop,” New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture Jeff Witte said in a press release.

New Mexico regularly produces around 80 million pounds of pecans, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In 2021 alone, New Mexico growers produced $189 million worth of pecans. Although, the pecan weevil is a looming threat to the industry.

Weevils eat into developing pecan nuts and breed within. Come harvest season, the weevils chew out of the nut and burrow into the ground. Of course, while in the pecans, they damage the nuts.


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Pecan weevils can cause small holes in pecans. Image from NMDA.


The New Mexico Department of Agriculture is asking consumers to keep an eye out for the telltale sign: small holes in the nut where the weevil chewed its way out. If someone gifts you pecans, make sure those pecans aren’t coming from a quarantined area.

“Many well-intended friends and family may ship in-shell pecans to relatives and friends in New Mexico as gifts. It’s important to be aware of where those pecans came from and whether that location is a quarantined area. If consumers in New Mexico receive in-shell pecans from a quarantined state or county, as a precaution, they should freeze the pecans as prescribed in the pecan weevil exterior quarantine rule,” the Department of Agriculture says.

If you have pecan trees, look for holes in the nuts. If you find holes, don’t crack the pecans, put the nuts in a bag in the freezer, and send an image of the pecans to pecan@nmda.nmsu.edu. This will help the experts identify if your pecans are infected with weevils. Commercial growers should also be aware of shipment rules designed to stop the spread of the weevil.

“I encourage all growers to be good neighbors and help the state prevent the pecan weevil from spreading,” Witte says. “We ask that pecan tree owners be diligent about inspecting shells for holes that may indicate pecan weevil presence. We appreciate everyone’s effort toward prevention.”