How to Manage Pests
UC Pest Management Guidelines
Scientific Name: Scutigerella immaculata
(Reviewed 6/08, updated 6/08)
In this Guideline:
Garden symphylans are slender and white, they have 10 to 12 pairs of legs and a pair of antennae. They run rapidly when exposed to light. They occur mainly in moist soils with good structure and a high organic matter content and are often associated with debris from a previous crop that is not completely decomposed. They retreat to deeper soil levels during fallow periods and return to the root zone after crops are planted. They damage the same area every season so infestations spread slowly.
Garden symphylans damage plants by feeding on roots, thus retarding plant growth. They are usually only a problem in fields that were not fumigated, or if the fumigation was ineffective.
Soil fumigation for pathogen and weed seed control will kill symphylans. In nonfumigated fields and fields with large amounts of crop residue from a previous crop, continuous flooding for 3 weeks in the summer helps reduce infestations and discing in a crop of sorghum has been reported to reduce infestations in other crops. In organic fields, however, the best strategy is to avoid fields that have populations of symphylans in the soil.
Research from other areas of the country indicates that symphylans can be detected with bait trapping. Either carrots or potatoes can be used as the bait. Cut the bait in half longitudinally and scratch the cut surface just before placing it in a shallow hole on the soil to ensure that the surface is moist. (Be sure that when the hole is created, the soil pores/spaces aren't sealed close. Symphylans use these spaces to travel to the bait.) Cover the bait with a pot. Use at least a dozen bait traps in the field. After 2 to 5 days, examine the cut surface and the soil upon which it was resting for evidence of symphylans. If they are detected, consider a treatment. Because the recommended treatment is best applied before transplanting, bait traps for symphylans a few weeks before transplanting.
UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines:
Insects and Mites
Acknowledgment for contributions to the Insects and Mites: