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Hi all! I have just emptied a trough and found many vine weevil grubs in it. I have been checking the soil and squishing any grubs I found this afternoon (quite theraputic!). It seems a shame to throw away the soil and I was planning on spreading it on an empty bed that won't be planted up till the end of May. Is this a great way to spread the problem around my garden, or are they likely to be eaten or die before I use the soil again?

Many thanks 

Hiya pamela

I would spread soil on a tray of some sort theory birds will devour them but they could bury themselves in garden soil



Spread the soil out on a plastic sheet and let the birds have a go. If it was me I would then apply Vine Weevil Killer (to be sure to be sure) before tipping it onto ane mpty bed. I'd dig it in a week later. 


If you are not into killing bees by using Neonicotinoids (Vine Weevil Killer) then spread the soil out thinly and go over it with a Weed Wand (Flame gun type thing) or try as we used to do, using a steam wall paper stripper. It sterilises the compost very nicely.

Oakley Witch

Berghill, do you mean that the weevil neonicotinoids kills bees? Ive never head that before 



You could microwave it, should zap any lurking unhatched eggs too.

Thanks for all that information everyone! Has anyone used nematodes, and if so, did it work?



There is a concern that neonicotinoids cause bees to get disorientated and lose their way back to the hive. However, treating pots with Vine Weevil Killer is highly unlikely to impact on bees. The main impact is when chemicals such as Provado Ultimate Bug Killer are sprayed directly onto plants, especially onto flowers when bees are active. also   Vine Weevil Killer contains a neonicotinoid, and if applied to the soil in a pot holding a flowering plant, a small amount could be carried up the pollen. However, in the  situation I suggested here, what are the chances of it finding its way into pollen after being strewn onto an empty bed and dug in...... well, I think Berghill is being rather dramatic. 

Oakley Witch

Oh NO.....I will not be using them then. I had used it once but had no idea what damage it was doing.


I use it on valuable camellias in pots, watered into the compost, in autumn, to protect against vine weevil that can kill the shrubs before I know they are under attack. Nematodes won't work at that time of year, so there is no alternative, and there is little or no possibility of any impact on bee health when applied at that time, at least as far as I can see.  I no longer use Provado Ultimate Bug Killer on flowering plants. 

having said that, I don't want to pick an argument with absolutists who won't use any non-organic pesticides or insecticides under any circumstances. I admire their doggedness and principles, and feel just a tad guilty every time I reach for my glyphosate or fungicide. 


I'm sorry but there is a growing body of scientists who believe they have evidence that nicotinoids are systemic pesticides and make the whole plant toxic - this is whether they are applied by spray, by root drench or by seed coating!  The toxic plant produces toxic pollen which is causing colony collapse.  - please scroll down and read.


Last year I treated a large border with nematodes - vine weevils had been attacking primulas and taking chunks out of the leaves of lots of shrubs and perennials.  One treatment had really good results.  I will do the same this  year when the soil warms up.


I am not an 'absolutist' but I have seen bees taking pollen from Provado treated plants and dropping dead almost immediately. They did change the formula so it is not as deadly as it was, but since we have spent 20 years building up the bee polulation in this garden, I am not going to take any risks.

We find now that we rarely get any major infestations of anything as the garden seems to be in reasonble balance.

I do use weedkiller, very carefully as there seems to be evidence that it is not broken down in the soil as claimed.

I soray my fruit trees with an Insecticidal soap and later on with Copper sulphate. Will do the potatoes with it as well. But only when the insects are not around.



Vine weevils lay eggs at various times during the year, including over the six months when nematodes don't work. there is no other treatment  I am not risking my camellias or other overwintering shrubs in pots, but won't use Ultimate Bug Killer. So that makes me a pragmatist, or an non-absolutist., or a sinner. Still, I reckon that overall my garden makes a positive contribution to the environment, as it used to be a ploughed field with lots of chemicals applied every year.   Might not get to heaven right away, but maybe I will escape  eternal damnation!   


It's a difficult choice.  Scientists often get things wrong. I'm far from convinced by climate change for example

We don't want to lose our precious plants but don't want to kill bees etc.  we have to use our own individual judgement without being bullied by anyone else into doing what other people think we should be doing

For vine weevil I use nematodes when I can but as already said these don't work outside of the warmer months so. I do use Provado too.  I do the soil sifting on vulnerable plants and hunt the adults at night so I try to strike a balance.

We each have a right to decide for ourselves




 If we all do a bit then we can make a difference. When we create a garden we're fighting nature right away as we're creating something 'false'. If we can put a bit back into nature  as we do that then that's the balance . We're not going to get it right all the time 


But if just one dose of Provado makes a plant poisonous to bees then every bee that visits it will die ...............


I stopped using Provado for the reasons above. I use nematodes during warmer seasons and hand pick Lilly beetles. Delicate plants such as hostas get piles of grit.

I do use slug pellets sparingly.

I wish I didn't have to, but my garden doesn't have frogs, toads, chickens or hedgehogs and I've never been one for rummaging around in muddy borders after dark on hands and knees. I think that business suits urban gardens better or perhaps those like Carol Klein's that have organised borders set between many accessible paths.

I've tried other organic solutions to pests with mixed results. I made some garlic spray but the liquid just rolls off the leaves, even when applied with a fine mister, so I'm not sure how to keep the pongy water where its' supposed to stay.

I think my garden does alright, I have nesting birds and bees as most of us do


Wintersong I think you're right. I've never used any vine weevil 'remedies' other than killing them when I see the, but I've never really had a problem with them either so maybe I'm just lucky. I don't use any chmicals other than weedkiller now and again and mainly on paths or driveways etc. I also try not to grow plants that attract the worst offenders but like most people slugs and snails are the biggest problem. The first thing I do in anew garden is feed birds to get them eating the pests. Gradually you get a balance, but it takes time and everyone has a right to choose their own method.


Verdun, I agree with your comment on 'bullying'. On a couple of the responses I could sense an undercurrent of  hostility that can drive those who are not as passionate about the use of garden chemicals into keeping shtum for fear of getting into an argument. I was a bit upset that my attempt at offering help got a reaction that I didn't expect from boarders whose gardening contributions I have great respect for, 

 In response to my giving advice to use Vine Weevil Killer, Berghill's response was:"If you are not into killing bees by using Neonicotinoids.." which has the clear implication that I AM 'into' killing bees, and I did find that rather offensive.

And Dovefromabove started his/her response with " I'm sorry but...." which is just a tad less  patronising than "with all due respect...".

I would have thought that a prime purpose of this forum is to giving advice on dealing with gardening problems. Many gardeners are organic, but many more are not, and not all of those who do use garden chemicals should be regarded as just ignorant and in need of a lecture, or irresponsible.

I once had an allotment and on one side of me was an 85 year old woman fighting a losing battle with masses of bindweed because the guy next to her kept banging on that she mustn't use glyphosate. Half of his allotment was covered with sheets of black plastic and old rubber backed carpet. A neighbour had a lovely acer in her garden being killed by scale insects, and the only solution was Provado Ultimate Bug Killer. And what do you do if you have Ground Elder or japanese Knotweed. 

Organic boarders who read a  suggested solution involving chemicals can surely offer a comment such as:

"If you want an organic solution then you could....."


"I am worried about the effect that neonicotoids (may) have on bees so I.....), but to go beyond that and directly challenge another boarder's gardening principles is verging on bullying, and the expression 'high horse' comes to mind.