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I have small white worms in my turnips and radishes. How do I deal with this problem?

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A

Root maggots overwinter in soil as larvae. Root maggots are the immature stage, or larvae of small flies that belong to the Insect Order Diptera (Flies) and the family Anthomyiidae. In spring larvae move near the soil surface where they pupate. In late spring adult flies can be observed in mating groups close to borders of fields, telephone poles, or tree trunks. Females deposit eggs in soil crevices near the base of plants. Larvae hatch and feed on roots. A couple of suggestions.

Crop rotation—Plant this year’s root maggot host plants in ground that did not have host plants in the previous year. Crop rotation is often difficult in the home garden but even a modest rotation and separation should be somewhat helpful.

Dust plants with diatomaceous earth. Rove beetles are predaceous on root maggots.

Chemical Control:
Treat with a registered insecticide.

For radishes: Apply a registered insecticide in seed furrow at planting.

Posted on 21 Nov 2008

Maggie Shao
Horticulture Agent, Salt Lake County

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