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By Poohs

Northamptonshire, United Kingdom Gb

HELP! Several plants in containers have died on me this year due to orangy yellow peppercorn sized eggs being laid in the soil amongst the roots. (These are definitely not plant food pellets, which are the same size but greeny yellow.) Does anyone know what these are & how I can get rid of them? Thanks



There is nothing in the UK that would lay eggs this size.

What plants, soil, watering regime have you had and followed?


26 Aug, 2010


It sounds like Vine Weevil to me. They are native to Europe.

The adults tend to just munch on the edge of the leaves in a circular motion, not doing any real damage. It's the larvae that do all the damage, they eat the roots. This particular beetle is known for laying eggs in potted plants because the compost is lighter than soil and easier for the larvae to move around in. They particularly like herbaceous plants and their favourite being strawberries, but generally will destroy any plant including shrubs and trees..

The eggs when first laid are white turning darker over a few days, pretty much how you described. The adult beetle is very dark grey almost black covered in rows of tiny white spots that look like fine pin stripes. They are a large beetle, very heavy and they move very slowly and are mostly seen late at night munching on the leaves.

They can be quite difficult to get rid of, I got rid of all my containers and carefully disposed of the plants and compost to make sure no eggs were left lying around. If you do identify them as the Vine Weevil you will need to check any indoor plants you may have as well.

Although I got rid of my plants, it's not a must so long as you dispose of the compost carefully and clean the roots thoroughly before replanting in Levington's Plant Protection Compost which was specifically designed to control Vine Weevil. But it will only protect your plants for up to one year. You will then need to either change the compost again or buy systemic sprays, because the chances are you also have them in your garden and the adults will once again lay eggs in your pots rather than in the garden

To help you identify if you really do have Vine Weevil, just google Vine Weevil, it will give you lots of images and plenty of information

27 Aug, 2010


Sorry Shereebb but Fractal is correct you would need a magnifying glass to see the eggs of vine weevils!

Poohs have you actually tried squashing one? I think you will find that they are controlled release fertiliser. The clear ones of that size are slug and snail eggs.

27 Aug, 2010


There are different makes of slow release fertilizer & I've had one that had a mixture of greeny yellow and orangey yellow little balls. Your problem could still be due to vine weevil. I disagree with Shereebb's description of the adult beetle - they're not large, but medium sized. They have pointy "noses", their bodies look "dusty" and they don't fly.
See for good pics.
You can get stuff to water onto plants in pots to kill vine weevil grubs, there are several makes around & I don't know enough to recommend one over another.

27 Aug, 2010


Beattie I agree there could still be a vine weevil problem...

27 Aug, 2010


Thanks very much everyone! Your answers are a great help.

Moon Grower, yes, I have squashed loads of them & they are definitely eggs & full of gooey stuff. The slow release fertiliser pellets won't squash.

I'll treat them as Vine Weevil eggs & see what happens! I'm off to the shops now to arm myself with some ammunition so I can launch my attack.

Thank you all very much again.

Kindest Regards


27 Aug, 2010


They could possibly be ants eggs.

27 Aug, 2010


Possibly, just not vine weevil - oh the joy if they were actually big enough to see in the soil!

27 Aug, 2010


Could this be wireworm?

27 Aug, 2010


No Drc wireworm eggs are very small an pearly white.

Dr B just did a proper check ant eggs are 0.5mm and white.

Poohs I squashed slow release pellets that had liquid inside them before now.

27 Aug, 2010


Hi Poohs,

I would agree entirely with Fractal, MG etc., these eggs are most certainly Osmacote fertiliser granules. Your description of them as:
"orangy yellow peppercorn sized" & "full of gooey stuff" is precisely what they do look and act like (particularly old, wet ones)

Osmocote granules (cut and paste into browser) :

Even if they were eggs then they, in themselves, won't be harming your plants. - eggs can't eat after all! It would be handy to know how, and by what means your plants are being damaged, so perhaps if you could let us know any symptoms we could be more precise in suggesting a remedy?

Vine Weevil eggs are simply not readily visible to the naked eye, being just 0.3mm in diameter (just to put that into context, you could fit approx 100 Vine Weevil eggs into the size of a peppercorn!) they would have hatched into larvae long ago in the season.

Vine weevil eggs + scale show below (cut and paste into browser):

If you do have Vine Weevils then the symptoms would be obvious, small, irregular notching of the leaves (by the adult weevils) and the disappearance of many/most of the roots of the plants (by the larvae) - you can often pull the plant up and find it's been completely detached from it's root system. Unless you have these symptoms then you don't have Vine Weevils.

Aside from the presence of the "eggs" we don't know anything about how your plants are being grown, or indeed what plants they are, so with more detail I'm sure we could assist further!

27 Aug, 2010


Well that is certainly clear Ilex!

27 Aug, 2010

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