The Q&A Archives: Bug Eating Begonia Tubers

Question: Please can you help me.

I live in Belfast, N.Ireland and my Begonnia tubers appear to be being eaten by an Insect and then rot away. I noticed this last year when I was lifting the tumours for the winter. As I cut away the rotting section I sometimes could see a small white bug. What should I do this year with the area that I am plannting them in? Also is it safe to simply cut off the infected parts and replant the tubers?

Answer: You can cut the tubers into sections, so long as each section has a bud that will become a stalk. Cut surfaces can be protected from rot with a dusting of sulfur, and allowing the cut surfaces to dry for several days before planting. As for the insect invader, "small white bug" is pretty vague - besides which, I'm not familiar with your native insect pests. Here's my best shot, though: You may be able to deter future infestations with frequent, careful cultivation of the soil around the plants. This kind of disturbance can expose pests to predators, dry them out, and just discourage them from settling in. I hope you have better luck this year!

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