11 Jun 2009, 2:05pm
Politics and politicians
by admin

Gardening Tip: Exterminating Root Maggots

Note: updated version 06/12/09

As many gardeners can attest, root maggots are a pernicious destroyer of garden crops.

Root maggots are the larvae of numerous species of dark gray flies (family - Anthomyiidae) that look like the common housefly, only smaller. The most common and serious root maggot pest in Oregon is Dalia radicum, the cabbage root maggot. It was introduced from Europe more than a century ago and will feed on plants of the mustard family or Cruciferae (e.g. cabbage, broccoli, turnips, radishes, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cress, mustard).

The adult flies lay their eggs in the soil in the spring or early summer at the base of host plants. The eggs hatch into maggots that feed underground on succulent roots, riddling them with tunnels and inducing rot. Affected plants lack vigor, may be stunted or yellowed, and often wilt during the heat of the day. After feeding for 1-3 weeks, maggots begin to pupate in plant roots or the surrounding soil. There are several generations per year.

These pests require cool, moist weather, a good description of Oregon in June and are generally limited in distribution to areas north of the 40th parallel. They are especially destructive in Canada. Were global warming true, one benefit would be fewer root maggots in Oregon.

Maggots (1/3 - 1/4 inch long) are small, yellowish white, legless larvae with tapered or pointed heads and blunt rear ends.

The adults engaged in voter outreach:

There are many methods of root maggot control, some more effective than others. The USDA recommends application of a registered pesticide such as Diazinon to the entire seedbed before planting or transplanting, mixing into the soil to a depth of 3 to 4 inches [here]. Mechanical controls may also be used:

Root maggot infestations can be prevented by covering the seedbed with a cheesecloth or screen covering placed immediately after seeds are sown. Covering should extend at least 6 inches on either side of the seed row. A square of tar paper (3 to 4 inches wide), or other sturdy material, placed at the base of each transplant will prevent adult cabbage maggots from laying eggs around stems. Cones made of window screen and placed over individual transplants will also prevent attack by cabbage maggots and have the advantage of being usable in subsequent years.

An organic method is the use of beneficial nematodes (Steinernema and Heterorhabditis). Nematodes are parasitic round worms available at many garden supply outlets. They come in sponges soaked with millions of the critters. The sponges are squeezed into watering cans or sprayers and applied at the base of infested plants. The nematodes swim down into the soil (moist soil is necessary) and if they encounter a root maggot, they bore into the body wall. Once inside they release bacteria that kills the host maggot. Nematodes will also lay eggs and multiply, protecting plants throughout the growing season (if the soil is kept moist).

Of course, if the host plant already has its roots chewed by root maggots and rot has set in, that plant cannot be saved.

Nematodes will attack the larvae of fleas, gnats, craneflies, corn borers, cutworms, and cucumber beetles, as well as fly maggots.

If your garden plants, especially young transplants, are wilting from root maggot infestations, it may be too late. The best thing is to apply nematodes at time of planting, repeating the application every 8 weeks or so.

Nota bene: if regular readers think this discussion of root maggots is somehow a metaphor for the US Congress, you are projecting. Root maggots are natural pests — although there are many similarities, Congress is decidedly unnatural.

11 Jun 2009, 2:06pm
by Scruffy


Don’t know what Congress’ actual motives are (I always assume the best, even if the best is simply brain damage), but I truly don’t believe they are TRYING to tear the country to shreds. However, I do believe they ARE tearing the country to shreds (whatever their motives might be).

11 Jun 2009, 2:40pm
by Bob Z.


It seems to me that the most important aspect of using nematodes to control maggots is by moistening the earth and keeping it moist until the maggots have been crippled or eliminated.

The process requires effective nematodes, one or more efficient applicators, and moisture. In this instance, applicator can be used to mean leader or funding source, and moisture can be used as a metaphor for “funding,” or “resources.”

The nematodes seem to be self-identifying, ready, and capable — the question is where the leadership and resources can be found. Or maybe people are just plain satisfied having the foundation (”roots”) of this country undermined by a swarm of self-absorbed maggots. Sometimes it almost seems that way.

11 Jun 2009, 2:51pm
by Mike


Any resemblance in the pic above to US Congresspersons is purely incidental.

12 Jun 2009, 8:27am
by bear bait


At this time, in Oregon, in these United States, there is no kind or gentle way to discuss, describe, or evaluate our leadership.

I will tell you this: Continued Democrap dominance of Oregon politics is going to be economically fatal. Not a near miss. Not a sorely wounded. Fatal.

There is little reason to exist in a state that now taxes cash flow for corporations. If the thought was to get some multinational company to pay more, think again. They move. People move. The more money you have to start with, the better the incentive and means to move.

I have yet to see a registered Politiciancide. If it were available, I would spray every day. We just raised taxes in Oregon, and the same paper that editorialized that it was needed and good, also has a story about Americans losing another trillion and half in personal and business wealth in the last quarter. The alchemy of Democrap legislators is suspect, and the road to ruin is paved with their rhetoric.

I would not use Diazinon on the farm for anything. I used to spray it in February with oil to control winter moth, but I changed to a new form of Bt. with oil. No bad results yet. Diazinon is a restricted use chemical that now cannot be used anywhere inside of several hundred feet of standing or running water. And, it kills the very bugs you need for a integrated pest management program. ON small plot farming, it is better to use the mechanical prevention methods of screen, gauze, etc. Or, maybe something of the nicotine or vinegar or whatever home brews people have conjured over time.

12 Jun 2009, 8:46am
by Mike


Not will happen, has happened.

Oregon has had one-party rule for 30+ years. In that time we went from being a prosperous and self-sufficient state to the poorest, most economically depressed state in the union. Oregon has chronically the highest rates of unemployment, home foreclosure, bankruptcy, and hunger in the Nation, the worst schools, the worst hospitals, the worst at every government “service” which are largely disservices here.

We are the Appalachia of the West. We are a third-world colony. Our owners are slave masters. The residents are slaves. They bow and fetch and live in shanties. They are afraid to speak up, indeed are afraid to think any independent thoughts.

No sane person thinks that raising taxes in a recession/depression is a good idea, but sanity is in short supply here in Oregon. The political dialog is a monologue and the direction is top-down. Urban centers ruled by child molesters control this state, where perversion is honored and decency is spat upon.

Some say it won’t getter better until we hit rock bottom, but we have been sunk to rock bottom for a long time now, and there have been no changes for the better, only for the worse. One party rule has been a disaster in every way.

12 Jun 2009, 10:05am
by Chauncy


The clairvoyant bear bait is right — chemical use will kill beneficial predators of these nasty pests. It is best to use husbandry to control them, although the nematodes should work as well.

The same is true for our state. There never will be a good spray for bad politicians, and there will always be backroom deals, trading votes for personal gain, and exploitation of interns and other nefarious deeds as long as we, the people, allow it. The best control is an educated populace with backbones. Unfortunately, too many people have taken freedom in this country for granted. I am looking forward to a huge backlash when people finally wake up to the failed policies of socialism.

For example, there is nothing wrong with healthcare that getting government out of the way wouldn’t fix. It worked fine in the 50’s and 60’s when I was growing up. It got expensive and broken when our legislators passed laws to “fix” it.

PS — The remarkable resemblance in the pictures to US Congresspersons and/or Presidents is food for thought.

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