Does anybody know what this is? There were almost a dozen in the soil of my Olive! They aren’t small either. Probably a quarter inch diameter. They were in the soil from the bottom all the way up to right below the surface roots. Anybody have an idea of what these are and how old they probably are? I’ve had this for about 4-6 months since I bought it.
They are grubs and they eat the roots of plants. I would perform a full bare root and repot when spring comes around. Remove what you can find easily and throw them in the garbage. They have chemicals at nurseries and big box stores to control infestations. But I have had my trees suffer from the applications, so use with caution.
Thanks @ndavila80, I am in Los Angeles so I’m already repotting which is how I discovered them. I bare rooted and got them all out, but didn’t wash the roots. Tree seems healthy, so I’ll keep a close eye on the repot recovery. Hopefully they are only localized to that tree. I haven’t found any in the other two repottings I’ve done so far. Will see as I work through the rest of them though… Thanks!
Your welcome good luck with your repotting, hopefully you wont find any more creepy crawlies.
They look like chafer grubs and yes they feed on roots. If you bear root a tree you can get rid of all of them with little difficulty. Otherwise you can use the correct type of nematodes to eradicate safely.
These and vine weevil grubs are fairly common in nursery and big box store stock and can spread fairly easy in the warmer months.
Do I need to kill them in my waste soil pile? Can they spread from there, or once they are out of my plant’s roots, I can forget about them?
I would spray around the soil pile and your yard just not your bonsai. These thing wreak havoc in peoples yards and garden beds. I frequently I find them under the ateas of dead grass in my yard and under my grow containers that are placed on the ground. I spray my yard and landscaping areas and just remove them from my garden and grow beds.
These are larvae of beetles. So i do not necessarily subscribe to the notion of spraying everything with chemicals to get rid of them. If you remove the soil from the tree you should be able to find the current generation easily and physically remove them. Also no need for washing the roots imo. Dispose them in a trash bag. There are nematodes available for treatment (in landscaping there is no chance of physically removing them and thus breaking the cycle) but you need to establish the species to apply the right one.
I once had such an infestation in a some garden centre plant (normal garden, not bonsai) and removing them from the pot was all it needed to get rid of the problem.