Vine weevil: plan of action needed!

Rose121Rose121 Posts: 132
I've just tried to repot some strawbs, and found what are definitely vine weevil grubs in the soil. I've aborted the repot, and now need a plan of action. I'm thinking:
1) Get rid of all the old compost, and repot in new
2) Treat the whole garden, but particularly the pots, with nematodes next autumn, which seems to be the appropriate time of year

What else should I do? Should i junk the plants and get new strawbs to avoid any hiding in roots? I luckily have to repot all my other potted plants/shrubs this winter, as I'm putting in water reservoirs so I'll be able to check how many are affected. i want to nip this in the bud before it becomes an ongoing problem.



  • FlinsterFlinster Posts: 750
    For ornamental pots you can buy a drench which is applied in April I think (bug clear vine weevil) but not for edibles. It kills the grubs and the weevils as it’s systemic. I’ve bought some for mine as I’m in the same boat! Going to try nematodes- think you apply them in late spring and autumn as it breaks the life cycle (larva pupate in spring).
  • Once you have picked out the obvious grubs and rinsed the roots, you can repot using s suitable medium - a good layer of grit on top does help to deter the adults from laying their eggs.
    You can also use a product called Provado but it is advisable to remove any flowering stems for 6 weeks after using to avoid the chemical affecting any pollinating insects.
    IME, potted plants such as Heuchera are a gift to vine weevils but planted directly in the ground, they seem to suffer less.
    Treating your entire garden with nematodes would be rather expensive I think - tho it depends on the size of your garden I guess :)
    The other option is to grow plants which are not so susceptible.
  • Allotment BoyAllotment Boy North London Posts: 1,884
    I don't think Provado is available anymore as it contained neonicotinoids (not sure I have spelt that correctly). I too have used a combination of nematodes for edibles & the Bug clear for non edibles. 
    AB Still learning

  • Rose121Rose121 Posts: 132
    Thanks all - I'll get the drench for my other pots, which don't contain edibles. Little blighters! Grit on top is a great tip going forward. 
  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Todmorden, West YorksPosts: 5,269
    You can use Bug Clear ultimate vine weevil killer on ornamentals - but please consider NOT doing so!  It's been reformulated so it no longer contains Imidacloprid, one of the withdrawn neonicotinoids shown to be very harmful to bees.  But it does contain Acetamiprid, another neonicotinoid said to be safer, but tests in America seem to show that although it isn't as bad as some, it still harms bees.  Neonics are designed to disrupt the nervous systems of insects.  Slugs eating plants treated with neonics are unaffected, but ground beetles eating those slugs are killed by the chemical.
    "The one who plants trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life."  Rabindranath Tagore
  • @Liriodendron what would you suggest is the best plan of action? I had a beautiful heuchera in a hanging basket that flowered it’s socks off last year. But over the winter it’s looked limp and when I had a closer look today it’s infested with the little blighters  :o I have got a couple of others in baskets too and some in the ground and they all seem to be ok so far. But I would like to be sure they don’t go the same way. Thank you 
  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Todmorden, West YorksPosts: 5,269
    edited 10 February
    @gardeninglily1 - I reckon it's important to be vigilant, and to know which plants are likely to be affected, so that if you notice they're not looking quite right you can have a little dig in the soil and see if the dreaded vine weevil are around.  In my garden, in the soil rather than in pots, most plants can cope with a few vine weevil grubs without suffering, because their roots spread wide enough.  The exceptions for me are primulas (some sorts more than others), cyclamen and heucheras.  I target those with nematodes twice a year, and squash any adult weevils I find in the garden.  Look out for notched leaves, too, especially on rhododendrons and other evergreens, which are eaten by adult weevils.  They are around mostly at night, and squash with a satisfying "pop"... sorry...

    My experience is that it is possible to get on top of an infestation using nematodes but it takes time and persistence.  

    Plants in pots and baskets are more vulnerable because their roots don't spread so far - and because the grubs seem to prefer peat-based compost.  But at least you can be sure you've treated all the compost in a pot with nematodes, and they do work, provided you follow the instructions.  It does need to be warm enough for them to be active though.  They're expensive, but maybe worth the expense if it means you don't have to replace your heucheras...

    Good luck!
    "The one who plants trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life."  Rabindranath Tagore
  • MayLaneMayLane Posts: 195
    I was pulling off 70 - 100 from plants in the summer. I am convinced they have been attacking over winter.

    Ate my dogwood s completely. My red robins, fatsias and magnolia look tatty. Treated with nematodes during autumn and have some on order for sprint but am worried already. The whole estate has shrubs in front gardens that have been eaten by them.
  • Thank you @Liriodendron - I only moved some of my  heucheras into baskets last summer - and they flourished!! I thought I was safe but they didn’t waste much time  :s I will definitely get some of those nematodes next month.  I bought some for slugs last year but prob wasted my money because it was September - is best time in the spring? @MayLane Ive never had a problem with fatsia or camellias-sounds like you have the conditions they like in your garden - I’m on the coast and my soil is quite sandy. 
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 24,528
    I think MayLane's situation is a highly unusual one, and not what most of us would experience.
    I wonder if there are certain soil/climate conditions in your area which are causing that kevel of infestation, @MayLane?
    Rinsing/removing all the affected soil/compost and chucking the grubs out for the birds will put paid to them for now, and then replanting in fresh soil,  and then it's a case of using an appropriate method afterwards.
    Nematodes seem to be the best method nowadays, but as Liri says, vigilance is necessary, and regular squishing of adults helps reduce the future population. Healthy shrubs can shrug off some minor damage, so they are rarely affected badly, but it's certainly things like Heucheras in pots which succumb quite frequently. Some sedums and a few other things too.
    I had a sedum which brought them in, and I'll need to treat my raised beds this year. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

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