Forum home Problem solving

Leatherjackets ?

Help! Getting fed up with my primulas and primroses collapsing. Usually it’s vine weevil grubs but on closer inspection the area is infested with leather jackets (matt grey grubs.) I removed as many as I could find where the primroses were planted at the north facing front of the house. 

I checked the internet and it appears that the usual parasite remedy is a bit hit & miss and it’s also the wrong time of year. Surely there is a bug killer I can apply to the soil? The area is in shade and sandy. I have top dressed with compost. It is quite damp most of the time - apart from summer and dry spells. (I live on the Isle of Wight.)


  • Dave HumbyDave Humby Posts: 1,145
    Leatherjackets normally inhabit lawns. Have you ID’d the grubs on the net? The chemical approach to dealing with leatherjackets has been banned so now the only solution is Nematodes. It’s almost too late to apply them now. The recommended application time is early September. 
  • Yes - as I understood re nematodes. They appear to be the same as the photos on the ‘net.   I wasn’t aware of other critters that look pretty much the same as leatherjackets (that eat roots?) I’m surprised that usual bug killers wouldn’t affect them?  Bet the banned substances are still available in France (like Bordeaux mixture - banned by the EU!)
  • Dave HumbyDave Humby Posts: 1,145
    Yes they do look like leatherjackets. Other similar critters are the chafer grub but again they are mostly known for being in lawns and eating the grass roots. 
  • nick615nick615 Posts: 1,468
    Lyn -  I think your problem may be over soon as you'll see all the Daddy Long Legs flitting around.  If you've still got any, go fishing.  Trout love 'em.
  • Thanks guys. Crane flies hatch tail end of summer/early autumn don’t they? 
    I might experiment with bug killer. Also contact friends in France to see what they use.
    If I still lived in my Salisbury flat with river at bottom of the garden - I could have used them for fishing. Drat!
  • nick615nick615 Posts: 1,468
    And you moved, Lyn???  Crane flies in existence here already.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,009
    Crane flies hatch in spring - the leather jackets are what appear in late summer/ early autumn.
    Nematodes are the only thing available for them.

    You could move up here - they rarely survive the winter  :D
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • They are a pain. I don’t have grass so they are eating my primrose stems instead!
  • Yes Nick - moved from the flat so I could retire & get rid of remainder of mortgage! I miss the river but flat was very cold in winter (no gas.) 😠
Sign In or Register to comment.