Vine Weevil



Whitefly


Red Spider Mite


Aphids

 

 

Watch Out, Watch Out,
the VINE WEEVIL's About

vine weevil adult


This little Pest fills us all with great fear because we seem to have healthy plants one day, and the next day it looks sick, falling over. When investigating, we find that all the roots are gone, eaten away by the grubs of vine weevils.
If we are alert and handle our fuchsias frequently, we can spot early telltale signs, such as leaves chomped away, notched, surefire indications that somewhere there is a least one Vine Weevil around.
Being a nocturnal creature, it usually hides away and is never seen in daylight.

vine weevil grub, 5x magnification

The adult Vine Weevil lays its eggs in spring and early summer, in the soil at the base of the plant close to the stem. The eggs are milky in colour but turn brown in later stages.
The eggs hatch into larvae in summer and immediately feeding on the roots, a ready made food store. They are about 12mm long, with a creamy coloured body and a tan head. At this stage, the larvae does the greatest  amount of damage to our fuchsias, being in among the roots out of sight.

vine weevil pupae, 5x magnification

After six months of feeding, the larvae goes into a pupae, a resting period, before emerging as an adult.
The adults emerge in late spring, if outside. They are matt black in colour, with yellow flecks.
All adults are female and lay up to 1000 eggs, some are infertile, most produce a grub. The pest can create quite a lot of havoc amongst our fuchsias.

vine weevil adult, 2.5x magnification

Vigilance is the key word with Vine Weevils, checking your plants by knocking off the pot to look at the roots, to see if the roots are healthy and white, if there are any holes in the root ball. When found, scrap the soil from ball, squash the grubs, and if not too much root has been eaten, repot and keep your fingers crossed that you haven't lost the plant.
One of the ways of catch the adults is to go on Vine Weevil hunt at night time with a torch.


The adults are quite slow moving and if seen can be caught easily. Tubes filled with moss or straw, left around the plant pots are used by the weevil to hide in, during daytime, catch a number.
For others, the biological approach is the way, with nematodes, microscopic creatures that enter the grubs, applied as a liquid watered onto the soil.

Important ! ! !  When using the chemicals,
you must read and use, as per the manufacturers instructions

 

The Vine Weevil Advice Centre

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Whitefly

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         Probably the most persistant pest that I have to deal with and the most resilient too.
         The Whitefly is 1 - 2mm long and lives for 30-40 days, during which time the females lays about 25 tan-coloured eggs a day. These eggs are laid on the underside of the leaves, usually in clusters of 20 eggs and hatch into larvae within 10 days, then after a further 3 - 6 days turns into the pupal stage. The period from egg to fly takes between 3 to 4 weeks, dependant on the temperature.

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         The larvae and flies feed on the underside of the leaves, sucking sap. The fluid excrement leaves a sugary coating on the leaves below. This is called honey dew and clogs up the leaf pores on which Sooty mould will quickly grow.  
     The Whitefly eggs are immune to all chemical treatments, so the attack of whitefly must be tackled at the larvae or adult stage. Small infestations can easily be done by hand, squashing these pests between the fingers, whilst handling your Fuchsias. On larger infestations, spraying should be done every three days, for a fortnight, so as to break the cycle of growth. 

           A biological approach can now be made, in controlling Whitefly, by using a parasitic wasp called Encarsia Formosa, that is even smaller than the Whitefly. Although this type of control is only really effective in the  greenhouse.

Important ! ! !  When using the chemicals,
you must read and use, as per the manufacturers instructions

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Red Spider Mite

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         This pest is very, very tiny, in fact you need a magnifying glass to actually see it.
         The signs of Red Spider Mite trouble is a silvery webbing on the underside of leaves, together with a bronzing and yellowing of the leaves. This  is usually too late, look out for a brown mottling on the undersurface and yellow spots on the top surface.

      

  Often the best control of Red Spider Mite, is to keep the greenhouse humid during the summer growing period, by daily spraying and or by having capillary  matting for the fuchsias to stand on, keeping this always moist. The fuchsias love the moist atmosphere, which should be well ventilated, the Red Spider hates the conditions.
       Small infestations can be controlled by spraying, but if you have other plants of the same variety, burn the infected plants. This seems to be the most effective method, as Red Spider Mite can be quite a problem to get rid of.

Important ! ! !  When using the chemicals,
you must read and use, as per the manufacturers instructions

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Aphids

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              As far as Fuchsias are concerned the Aphid is generally a nuisance, than a destructive pest, especially the Greenfly, one of 600 types of Aphid. It is basically a plant louse.
               The Aphid is approx. 2mm long, some have wings, others don't. All feed on the plant by sucking up sap and excreting honey dew, this in turn, gives way to Sooty mould  growing that feeds of the honey dew and affects the photosynthesis of the plant.
               The most natural predator of the Aphid is the ladybird, also Lacewings and Hoverflies feed on them. So it is imperative that you do not kill off these helpful friends, in your attempts to control the Aphid.

A solution of soft soap can be used but this necessitates regular use, to keep down the levels. If  infestation is severe, you have to resort to chemical solution.

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Important ! ! !  When using the chemicals,
you must read and use, as per the manufacturers instructions

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