We are often asked the question “Are these vine weevil eggs in your soil”.
We think that a little education on this subject is over-due.
Vine weevil are a native woodland species that loves to munch on young fibrous roots whilst it is in its larvae stage. It then grows into a ‘robotic walking’ weevil which likes to eat semi-circular chunks from the leaves of many adult plants. They are a real pain, difficult to control as they can only be effectively treated with insecticides or natural predators at the larvae stage. When developed into weevils they are cunning in their hiding places, resistant to a lot of insecticides, non-appetizing to wildlife and able to cover great distances in their pursuit of food.
Commercially for a number of years the trade has used a vine weevil deterrent chemical in our composts. This ensures a period of breathing space so that our young plants can establish their roots without something goggling them. This is why we ‘very rarely’ have any problems with the larvae. However we, like you, cannot defend against the weevil attacks on foliage and being surrounded by gardens and woodland, we cannot eradicate them from our nursery completely. Vine weevil eggs are very…very small, less than 1mm and are not easy to see with the naked eye.
What people have normally noticed in their compost is Osmocote. This is a commercially used and publically available slow release fertilizer. Hard, orangey-brownish yellow pellets contain the fertilizer and when these become moist, they swell slightly and become translucent yellowish green in colour. The moisture, coupled with correct ambient temperature, allows the pellets to release fertilizer at a controlled rate throughout the growing season. It is applied using two different methods. Individual pellets are mixed within the compost mixture or when low nutrient composts are reaching the end of their fertilizing stage, tablets (lots of pellets glued together) can be pushed into the compost near the surface.
Many customers in the past have complained about their plants dying and then go on to reveal that they have rummaged through the compost, disturbing the root system, to remove the ‘vine weevil or slug eggs’ that were in the pot with the plant. Of course root disturbance of this degree will often result in a dead plant.
We hope that this information will prove helpful in re-assuring you that we are not in the habit of knowingly spreading nasty little troublesome insects among our customers.