Garden symphylan eggs? Help!

Spacehog(6)July 8, 2012

Hello again, I had posted a while back about finding some garden symphylans in the soil of a tree I purchased online from the Pacific NW. I live in Ohio and I'm told that these pests do no like our colder winters. That sounds great and I'm really hoping that this winter will wipe them out because they are really starting to annoy me.

Recently I have been finding what I believe to be garden symphylan eggs around the base of my tree. Oh yeah, the tree is a Japanese Maple called a Moonrise by the way. I thought at first that the little light colored dots might have been some sort of mushroom. But as I looked all over my garden I could not find anything like it except around the base of my Moonrise tree. I finally had my old man (who is obsessed with mushrooms and fungus) take a look at the stuff and he said it was not fungus but probably some sort of egg.

When I heard that it all started to make sense. Suddenly a LOT of eggs started showing up in just one spot in my garden. The only thing that made this spot unique was that I noticed the garden symphylans present in the soil. So I'm going to go ahead and assume that the eggs belong to those little pests. I tried to find descriptions of their eggs and what I found was pretty vague and basically lined up with what I was finding.

I should point out a couple of things that make me so worried about the garden symphylan infestation. First of all, I have found huge numbers of eggs on 3 occasions now. when I say huge numbers, I mean at least 100. They are very small and they nearly cover the soil circle around the trunk of the tree. That circle is about 3" in diameter. I also found them in the mulch just next to the circle of soil around the tree for maybe another inch or so. I have read that the garden symphylan will lay about 12-20 eggs, so I must have quite a few down there to be seeing eggs in such huge numbers.

I should also point out that the Moonrise tree I'm talking about has the thickest trunk and is probably the oldest tree of the dozen that I bought this year. Despite that, it has been doing the worst this year by far compared to the rest of the trees I got. I got the Moonrise and nothing else from the seller thankfully, so I'm not as worried about the rest of my trees. Also, I planted the Moonrise in a raised garden bed that has no other Japanese Maples in it so I think I've quarantined them off sufficiently well.

But I would REALLY love any help or insight from people about how to deal with this apparent garden symphylan city beneath my poor Moonrise tree. The leaves have been droopy at times and some have turned brown. It seems to go in surges. At times the tree will look ok. But then I'll have a few days where it seems sick for sure. I'm hoping that the tree will recover after a cold winter. But to be honest, at this point I'm just hoping that my tree makes it through the winter.

I only have seen the eggs at night an only after a rain or a watering when the soil is moist. I have been physically removing them and then throwing the eggs in the trash. I am reticent to use poisons for fear of the tree's health, and also because poisons seem kind of dangerous for anything living down there. But I'll use poisons if it means saving the tree. At this point I'm just not feeling good about my tree's chances. Especially after seeing just how many eggs these things are pumping out. I will keep looking for the eggs at night, but I'm sure that I have missed some. Besides, it seems like there are plenty of the garden symphylans down there even if I get all of their eggs. So I want to figure out a way to either A: kill them or B: stregthen the tree enough to make it through a cold winter. To be honest, I want to do both, but it seems like killing these things might be easier said than done. Most of what I have read talks about killing them along with any plants in the area which I am obviously not going to do while my tree still lives.

Ok, I've droned on long enough. Thanks for any advice!

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I would crosspost in the Pests and Diseases Forum.
In the meantime I ran a Gardenweb search and was twice directed to the link below- perhaps it can be of some help to you?

Here is a link that might be useful: Symphylans: Soil Pest Management Options

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 6:51AM
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Ah yes, that looks PERFECT! Thanks, I'm going to check that out.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 3:52PM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

We need pictures of the "eggs."

(My money says they're slow release fertilizer.)

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 7:04PM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

Do your eggs look like these?

Here is a link that might be useful: symphylan eggs, the real thing

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 7:07PM
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Yes I would say that the eggs look like that. I didn't look at them under a magnifying glass or anything, but they were mostly white and about that size, maybe even a bit smaller. I didn't notice them having those spine looking things on them, but like I said, I did not have any magnification either.

I was actually trying to take some pictures of them, but I couldn't find my good camera anywhere. I tried using the one on my phone, but the pictures didn't really come out that well at all. Next time I see them I will get a picture and post it though.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 11:40PM
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botann(z8 SEof Seattle)

My bet is that you are seeing what's left of Osmocote fertilizer. Small, white, round, empty little balls, a little smaller than a BB. No spines.
Check out Osmocote next time you're in a garden center.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 7:57AM
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