Vine weevils again

by Kate Bradbury

The leaves of my plants look like jigsaw puzzle pieces, and I frequently sit at the table at night, watching the adults climb to the top of my patio windows and 'drop' into my large pots to do their worst.

Vine weevil larvaeA few months ago I wrote about vine weevil, which I had inadvertently brought into my garden in a pot of hellebores. I was worried they'd kill my orange tree (which pretty much always has something wrong with it) and my 'nursery' of seedlings. I kept finding adult weevils in my flat and I had nightmares about their grubs munching through the roots of my beloved plants.

I used some nematodes to kill the grubs, then spent a couple of weekends frantically inspecting pots for signs of grubs and eggs. I was determined that I wouldn't be defeated by these ill-intentioned creatures, and felt violated that they had entered my home.

Six months later, my home and garden are still full of vine weevils. Indeed, I was greeted by one on my doorstep this morning as I left the flat. The leaves of my plants look like jigsaw puzzle pieces, and I frequently sit at the table at night, watching the adults climb to the top of my patio windows and 'drop' into my large pots to do their worst.

Despite the apparent plague proportions of vine weevil in my tiny garden, I've not lost a single plant. These are not old, established plants whose roots can handle a few nibbles here and there, they are new, either grown from seed or root cuttings from my mum's garden. I'm sure some of my plants would have thrived a lot more if they hadn’t been compromised by munching grubs, but nothing looks worse for their attentions. I actually found a good use for them: last month I spent half an hour trying to remove a teasel from a pot, and when I finally got it out I found some vine weevil grubs near the bottom. If I'd left it another couple of weeks the plant would probably have been much easier to remove.

I'm a lot more relaxed about vine weevils now. I don't squish the adults, and I won’t be giving pots another dressing of nematodes this autumn. I'm hoping my frogs are keeping the population under control (they're certainly getting fat on something), and I'd hate to deny them food.

Perhaps in another six months I'll be writing about how foolish I was, how my garden looks like a desert, save for hundreds of huge vine weevils plump on the plants they've killed. But I don't think so. I've somehow managed to create an ecosystem, which is managing itself. If only the little critters would stay out of my flat...

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Gardeners' World Web User 30/09/2010 at 19:03

For several nights in a row this week we have watched adult vine weevils try to get out of a garden spider's strategically placed web. The weevils are always gone in the morning and we doubt they have escaped. Well done spiders and aren't their webs pretty with raindrops or frost on them at this time of year?

Gardeners' World Web User 30/09/2010 at 20:49

Vine Weevils, well if you are not going to kill them your plants will die, the grubs should be dug up and fed to the birds, the birds can't dig them up because they are too deep for the birds to reach. I had pots and pots of plants destroyed by these awful creatures so I have no problem killing them, one large pot had 100 grubs in it so one adult beetle can devistate your whole garden.

Gardeners' World Web User 30/09/2010 at 20:59

really do have to kill vine weevils or they will devistate the garden as they seem to survive because the grubs are too low in the ground for the birds to get them, the adults give birth to vast ammounts of off springs.

Gardeners' World Web User 30/09/2010 at 21:23

I lived with a colony of vine weevils in two window boxes over a couple of years. Each time I changed the planting I would put the old compost in a tray on the lawn and the blackbirds and robins would have a feast. It never quite got rid of the vine weevils but they didn't decimate my plants at all. Now I have moved.. but I think the vine weevils have moved with me..

Gardeners' World Web User 01/10/2010 at 09:15

Vine weevils are totally evil and they do kill plants, do away with them whenever possible and keep them in manageable proportions - horrible enemies of the gardening fratwernity!!

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