As the weather begins to warm up, green shoots start to appear all over the garden - however biological pest control specialist Green Gardener (www.greengardener.co.uk) warns that unfortunately your plants are not the only things coming to life this Spring.
In gardens across the country, pests are quite literally rearing their ugly heads and none more so than the vine weevil. Watch out for adults emerging and then laying eggs throughout the summer (early-May to Sept) BOTH indoors and outdoors.
Capable of decimating shrubs, small trees, house and garden plants, the beetle-like creature is recognisable by its dull black body and the tell-tale notches it creates at the edge of leaves. However, Jon Manners, owner of Green Gardener, says that spotting the adult weevils is only part of the battle. “Larvae overwinter in the soil and begin to grow and feed on roots as the temperature rises. This means a plant’s root system can be eaten away and without you realising why the plant keels over.”
To keep vine weevil infestations at bay, Jon recommends treating pots and soil when larvae are present with Nemasys Vine Weevil Killer as soon as soil temperature rises above 5oC, usually March or April onwards. Treating early breaks the pest’s lifecycle, killing the larvae before they have chance to pupate into adult vine weevils. Jon advises, “Apply Nemasys Vine Weevil Killer, which contains natural nematodes directly to the soil around the roots, which is where the larvae will be feeding. Ideally treat all containers, as the adults are proficient climbers and can easily move between plants and pots.”
As one of the most widespread, common, and devastating garden pests in the UK, Jon receives dozens of enquiries relating to vine weevils every season. Here he shares some of the most common questions and his responses.
Q. Vine Weevils have attacked my strawberries, is Nemasys Vine Weevil Killer safe to use on fruit and vegetables?
A. Nemasys Vine Weevil Killer contains natural nematodes that are totally safe to treat fruit and vegetables. It is so safe that you can pick and eat straight away.
Q. If the larvae are damaging the plant from below, how do I spot a vine weevil infestation before it is too late?
A. Although the grubs do the real damage attacking roots and killing plants, if the infestation is left unchecked, the adults can do a lot of damage too. They attack the leaves and this damage is very distinctive and easy to spot - watch out for “U” shaped notches taken out of the edge of the leaves. Slugs, snails etc do not cause damage like this, so if you spot these notches, it is a sure sign that vine weevils are active.
It is important to treat with Nemasys Vine Weevil Killer when grubs are at their most active i.e. indoors, grubs can be present all year round or outdoors check for grubs in the spring and autumn. Ideally treat with Nemasys Vine Weevil Killer in April and September to prevent damage.
Q. I’ve been gardening for years and never suffered from vine weevils before. How come I have an infestation now?
A. Adult vine weevils do not fly but they can walk very well and are very good climbers and are more than capable of climbing into a hanging basket and laying eggs, so it is possible that they are simply walking into your garden. However, the most common way to bring an infestation into your garden is as grubs in plants you may have been given or have bought. It is therefore very important to check plants you are about to plant for “U” shaped notches in the leaves and to inspect the rootball for grubs once you remove the pot. If you are doing any major planting i.e. planting a hedge, then treating the newly planted rootballs of the plants is a great way to ensure they are grub-free.