The Q&A Archives: What's eating my carrot roots?

Question: The last few years I've had trouble with my carrots. Something mines into the tops of the roots, causing them to rot. What's the problem? Ed Annis Edison, NJ

Answer: It's the carrot weevil, says Jerry Ghidiu, vegetable entomologist at Rutgers Research Center in Bridgetown, New Jersey. Although not a major pest here, carrot weevils can cause sever damage on carrots, parsley, parsnips and other carrot family crops, says Ghidiu. The telltale signs of weevil damage are yellowing of the carrot foliage and zigzag tunneling in the root. The adult weevil overwinters on plant debris and emerges in mid April. Soon afterward the females make small cavities in the carrot roots and lay eggs. The eggs hatch in seven to 10 days, and the larvae tunnel through the roots as they feed. There are several generations a year. One aspect of the weevil's lifestyle works to the gardener's advantage. The adults don't move far from where they overwinter. So rotation is a real help, even within a garden. The best controls are to plant non carrot family crops in the area near the infestation, clean up any plant refuse in fall and eliminate other host plants such as Queen Anne's lace, broadleaf plantain, sourgrass and dock. Then plant carrots, parsnips and parsley as far from the area as you can and cover the bed or row with a floating row cover in spring to exclude the adult weevils for several weeks.

« Click to go to the homepage

» Ask a question of your own

Q&A Library Searching Tips

  • When singular and plural spellings differ, as in peony and peonies, try both.
  • Search terms are not case sensitive.

Today's site banner is by plantmanager and is called "Captivating Caladiums"