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Truly evil weevil

What is doing this! Not only is it eating my plants but it is doing it in the most infuriating way! Something is eating small plants and seedlings by dragging them down into the soil, stem first, then the leaves too. I keep finding strange little tufts of green pocking out of the soil where seedlings used to be. Eventually those disappear too, and there is no root on the plants left whatsoever. I live in a daddy-long-legs infested area and have suspected the lava (leather-jackets) but I've not been able to catch one in the act. Is this what they do? If so, how can I punish them enough?



  • Dave MorganDave Morgan Posts: 3,123

    Use a nematode based treatment watered in, just follow the directions on the packet, Nemasys is the brand I use, available online or in GC's. Use it regularly as a treatment only lasts about 6 weeks.

  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 21,722

    Could it be something bigger than that, like voles? They live in tunnels underground and don't have hills like moles.

    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,159

    There could be 2 different things here. Something eating the roots. Then worms pulling down the leaves as the lie on the surface

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • I had a similar experience last year save that the tops of carrots, then Spinach seedlings were being cropped off at soil level and the tops just flopping over onto the soil surface. Culprits turned out to be vine weevil grubs (sickle shaped white grubs about 3/4" long with an orange head).

    One treatment with Nemasys vine weevil nematodes solved the problem. Bought on Amazon for just under ??10.
  • LynLyn Posts: 21,925

    If you are left with little stalks poking out of the soil, that is a sign something has eaten the leaves off, seedling roots, without any leaves usually die.  Could be as simple as slugs, i have never known vine weevil eat the leaves first.

    If you think it could be these, just dig up a clump of soil, you will soon see vine weevils.

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • Re-reading my earlier post it reads as though the tops were eaten: in fact it was the roots that were eaten, the tops were left to just flop over & die! JH
  • LynLyn Posts: 21,925

    I read yours as that John, but dinahs sounds like tops eaten, leaving stems poking out of the ground.

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • DinahDinah Posts: 294

    No, it is definitely the leaves that are eaten last of all. It is like something small is hauling them down; stems getting shorter and shorter, and finally the leaves disappearing. It is really quite sinister! No roots left what-so-ever either. I think, from reading the responses that my best bet is to try a Nematode treatment. I will have a go at the vine weevil and the leather-jacket treatments - definitely worth a go for both! I was raking the lawn area ready for re-planting today, and I found both vine weevil look-a-likes and leather-jackets! There was at least a grub per square foot of lawn, in some places even more. What the veg and flower beds are like - I can only shudder at the thought. I don't think voles are responsible because I haven't seen any other signs of them. If they were there, perhaps they would eat the grubs for me?? Anyway, nematodes definitely on the to do list.

    Thank you all again for your (as usual) most excellent advice.

    Just out of interest, does anyone know if this problem is partly the result of us not having any freezing weather up here this past winter?

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 83,907

    I suspect it may be a combination of a long warm autumn for the craneflies to lay eggs in, and then a mild winter - the Perfect Leatherjacket Storm image

    I think we're lucky with all the bats we get around here - they seem to eat the craneflies before they breed. image

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • DinahDinah Posts: 294

    Thanks dove. We have quite a few bats too, so maybe when the grubs hatch the balance will be restored. I love the idea of farming a big crop of grubs for the bats, it seems so much more worthwhile. image

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