Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Vine Weevil

It is amazing how much extra work the discovery of a little bug can cause you. One of the most feared bugs among gardeners, apart from the Lawn Chaffer Grub, is Vine Weevil. Over the last few weeks, the summer bedding plants have been removed from their pots and replaced by our winter bedding scheme. However, this job, usually a simple task, has been made a lot more difficult due to the presence of these creamy, may I say ugly, grubs. (I hated taking this photo)
Here's the education part of the blog:
The adult beetles can be found between March and May, is just under 1cm long and is matt black with gingery-brown flecks on its wing cases and has elbowed antennae. They feed mostly at night and nibble around the edges of leaves, the first visable sign. The adults lay tiny brown eggs in the soil which then hatch, in late summer, into creamy coloured, legless grubs which often curl into a C-shape, have a ginger-brown head and reach 1 cm long. They feed on roots, burrow into tubers and gnaw through the stem base on woody plants. The second visable sign is when the plant starts to wilt and a gentle tug reveals that it is no longer firmly rooted. The weevils then overwinter as pupae and then hatch as adult beetles and the cycle starts all over again!

One of the pots in the Provost's Yard, when having its plants replaced, has been found to have the dreaded Vine Weevil, resulting in all the plants and soil being replaced. The Impatiens and Fuchsia's, of which we have already taken cuttings, have been thrown away, all their roots had been eaten. The Fern has had all the soil removed and its roots washed, and the Bay has been planted in to open ground. A quick ten minute job ended up taking about three hours.

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