Root destroying insects

My flowers are wilting due to small black insects. When I dig them up there are no roots left. They dont eat the flowers or leaves. Does anyone know what they are and how to get rid of them.

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  • FloBearFloBear Posts: 2,281

    A description of the insects would help - size, number of legs, speedy or slow? Also a good poke around to see if there is anything else there because often creatures (like woodlice) move in after something else has caused the damage and then you waste time trying to eliminate the wrong beastie. 

  • sotongeoffsotongeoff Posts: 9,806

     

    Sue31 wrote (see)

    My flowers are wilting due to small black insects. When I dig them up there are no roots left. They dont eat the flowers or leaves. Does anyone know what they are and how to get rid of them.

    It isn't ants is it?-how do you know it is the insects that cause the damage-I think we need a bit more info-are they just on the roots?

  • Is it the insects eating the roots or is it their grubs? A common cause of root destruction is vine weevils. which look like little black beetles. Their curved, whiteish grubs do the damage but you may see the adults, which only eat the uppper part of the plant. You can buy stuff like Provado to kill the grubs and you have to pick off the adults by hand, preferably at night. Another common cause of root destruction can be ants, as sotongeoff has pointed out, but I'm sure you'd haved recognised them.

    Vine weevils are a horrible pest and you sometimes have to  be quite persistent to get rid of them. They particularly like the soil in pots, because it is easy for them to dig down in it to lay their eggs. Hope this helps.

  • Sue31Sue31 Posts: 5

    The insects look like small flies. They dont cling to the stems like black fly but seem to live in the soil under the plants leaves. When disturbed, they fly a little around the soil but dont leave the plant.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 43,669

    That sounds like fungus gnats - annoying, but they won't be killing your plants.  

    What sort of plants are we talking about, where are they and what are they growing in?

    No-one knows if you've done your housework, but everyone knows if you've done your gardening !
  • sotongeoffsotongeoff Posts: 9,806

    We discussed fungus gnats yesterday and agree they are a nuisance not a pest.

    If something is eating the roots they are not guilty

     

  • Sue31Sue31 Posts: 5

    I have flowers in pots with compost. The pansies and violas are mainly being targeted although I have found them in other flowers. Whenever I find a plant that has gone limp, I find the flies there. The healthy flowers dont have them. Also all the limp flowers have roots gone.

  • sotongeoffsotongeoff Posts: 9,806

    Have you tipped one of  the pots out?-this is sounding more and more like vine weevil grub damage-is it fresh compost?

  • Sue31Sue31 Posts: 5

    I start with fresh compost. If the pot is badly damaged, I tip the compost out and start again with fresh compost and new plants. I haven't found any other insects other than flies and  I wouldn't be able to pick the insects off as they fly around too quickly and are too small. They have also spread from the front garden to the back and as I mentioned all damaged plants have the flies but the healthy ones dont.

  • sotongeoffsotongeoff Posts: 9,806

    Well you need to tip one of the pots out and inspect for something nibbling the roots-I still have very strong doubts that the flies you are seeing are doing that damage.

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