Garden Symphylans - Please HELP!

Asked October 13, 2016, 4:14 PM EDT

After 3 years of poor garden performance, we've finally determined that we are pretty much infested with garden symphylans. We dug a couple of flagging plants around the garden up, examined them and after seeing the little buggers and the holes in the roots, we ID'd them on the web.

We don't use chemicals in the garden, preferring to let nature sort of take its course, but nature isn't going to kill off my all my effort and prized ornamentals!

So what can we do? In an effort to keep the numerous moles and voles in our neighborhood from destroying our plants, we've put them in wire baskets in the soil, root-cages, which works really, really well. But tilling isn't really a viable option because of that. Would drenching the soil with a Neem preparation help? Or can you recommend some other reliable treatment?

Boone County Missouri plant disease

3 Responses


From what I've read the best way to control is tilling. As this will disrupt the tunnels the pests use to move around in. Also packing soil to close up tunnels can be effective. Do your root cages have holes big enough for the symphylans to get in? If yes, then soil packing or tilling around cages will have no effect as they will happily be protected by the cage. An insecticide, such a neem, might be beneficial... but the pests can easily move up and down in the soil (providing there are tunnels from earth worms) to avoid product. A granular insecticide would take longer to break down and be residual in the soil longer. So if you are going to treat with an insecticide I would look for one in a granular formation. Then I would apply it according to the label, if it says to apply every 10 days then that is what I would do. I would go ahead and remove all your garden debris and till this Fall, this will help reduce pest numbers for next season. Then till again in the spring prior to planting. And begin insecticide treatments right away. Or, depending on how large your garden is, if the pest can't be controlled easily you could consider growing some of the 'select' plants in containers. I wish I could tell you a magic bullet to get rid of them, but tilling is the most recommended form of control. Here is an article with a lot of information:

We use wire fence with a 1" grid. Small enough that the voles and moles can't get into them inground, large enough that worms can easily move in and out. And symphylans...

Can you recommend a granular product that will be effective against these arthropods?

Thank you.

Unfortunately, most of the granular formulations of insecticides (that I am familiar with) are not for use in the garden. A quick search of the web didn't find any specific granular insecticides for control of symphylans. However, I would check with your local nursery supplier for available products. They will be able to check labels and make recommendations.
Otherwise I did find these two products listed for control of symphylans:
Hope this helps..