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Common Ginseng Insects – How To Get Rid Of Pests On Ginseng

Common Ginseng Insects – How To Get Rid Of Pests On Ginseng


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By: Teo Spengler

Most gardeners who growginseng do so in order to use it for its many reputed healthbenefits. By cultivating your own herbs, you can be certain that the ginsengyou consume has been organically grown. But ginseng, like most plants, can beattacked by pests, so a basic know-how about bugs that eat ginseng ismandatory. Read on for information on ginseng insects and other pests, as wellas tips on how to get rid of pests on ginseng.

About Ginseng Pest Control

Ginseng pests include bugs that eat ginseng as well as otherinsects or wildlife that live on and injure the plant. In fact, you can definegarden pests as anything that interferes with the desired growth of yourginseng, including rodents.

Treating ginseng pests is a little tricky, since you intendto consume the plant yourself when it is mature. That means that standardpesticides may not be appropriate for ginseng pest control. Don’t rush out tostock up on chemicals and repellants to start treating ginseng pests. Theoptimal manner to keep ginseng insects away or rodents from your crop is toselect an appropriate growing site.

An ideal growing site is one that offers the same conditionsunder which ginseng thrives in the wild. The plant thrives when growing beneathmature hardwood trees, benefitting from both the shade they offer and themicroflora and fauna provided.

If you are able to supply this growing situation, you maynot need to worry about how to get rid of pests on ginseng. However, mostgardeners have a hard time matching this natural environment.

How to Get Rid of Pests on Ginseng

You aren’t likely to find many pesticides labeled for use onginseng, nor will you want to use just any pesticide. However, you can useorganic methods to get rid of several bugs that eat ginseng.

For example, you may find that worms or slugsare eating your ginseng seeds before they germinate. You can find organicpesticides to eliminate slugs and hard bodied caterpillars, or you can pickthem off by hand.

You can also use home remedies. Applying sawdust or ashes asa mulch keeps crawling insects and slugs away from your plants. Slugs also lovebeer, so you can put some in a saucer. The slugs will come to drink, slip inand drown.

If the pests eating your ginseng are rodents, you have achoice of possible methods of control. You can install barriers in the soil andaround the ginseng bed that rodents cannot penetrate. Use metal flashing thatextends a foot (30 cm.) above and a foot below the soil surface.

You can also set out traps or poison to kill mice,ratsand moles.Take care that the methods of ginseng pest control you use won’t injure or killpets or other wildlife.

This article was last updated on


Ginseng Crop Update – June 8, 2017

Over the past week there have been confirmations of both foliar and root Phytophthora, Alternaria on stems and leaves, active grub feeding, leafrollers, and slugs. Many of these issues are not too surprising for this time of year. Foliar Phytophthora is the most concerning of these considering the rapid spread of the disease this can cause. Foliar Phytophthora was found in an area with no root infection, which suggests it was spread on the wind at least a week ago. This can be a source of new root infections in areas that you wouldn’t normally expect disease. Drier weather will limit further spread of the disease, but protection is necessary to stop disease development where it is already active.

Alternaria problems will increase with the hotter and more humid weather if the crop is not adequately protected, especially if live lesions are already present in the garden. Rhizoctonia may also be an issue in seedlings, since this disease has been found in similar crops this week and weather conditions this winter were ideal for spread of the disease. However, this is more likely if fungicides for its control were not timed properly, did not get down into the root zone due to last year’s dry weather, or were washed away by heavy rains.

Grubs have been found actively feeding in gardens. It appears that grubs can be an issue under certain weather conditions that promote egg-laying in empty fields between fumigation and seeding. Egg-laying usually occurs when adults emerge in late June but it can be earlier or later than this depending on the weather. Those fields fumigated in late June or July may have no issues with grubs because fumigation would likely provide good control. Due to the dry weather last year, adults that usually seek out green grass for egg laying may have had no good options and laid eggs in the field instead. These eggs would hatch after a few weeks and the grubs would feed on weeds or the volunteer rye or wheat that grows after seeding. They would survive the winter as grubs and feed on the ginseng seedlings in the spring when there are no other options left in the field. They are unlikely to lay eggs in older gardens, and damage to older gardens has not been seen.

Grubs feed near the crown of the seedling and eat both the roots and the stem. As they feed they slowly pull down the stem through the straw until the leaves are sucked into the straw (Fig. 1). They then move around until they find the next root. When they first start to feed, the top slightly wilts before it is pulled into the straw (Fig. 2). Eventually you will see a circle patch roughly 30 cm in diameter with some dried dead tops, a few fresh tops pulled into the straw, and perhaps one plant that is slightly wilted (Fig. 3). The best way to confirm their presence is to dig straight down from the seedlings that are just slightly wilted or recently pulled into the straw and you will find the grub just below the soil surface (Fig. 4).


Fig. 1. Ginseng seedlings being pulled into the straw from below by grubs.


Fig. 2. A top starting to wilt due to grub feeding. Note: many other issues can cause this symptom.


Fig. 3. A roughly circular pattern of missing plants, dried tops in the straw (left side of circle), and freshly pulled tops (right side of circle).


Fig. 4. A grub found below a newly damaged seedling.

The species of grub that attacks ginseng appears to be European chafer, which is confirmed by looking at the raster (thick hair) pattern on the inside (leg side when curled into a “C”) of the rear end of the grub (Fig. 5). A dissecting microscope or strong hand lens would be required for this. The raster pattern of the European chafer resembles a zipper being closed. June beetle and Japanese beetle grubs could potentially cause damage to ginseng as well, but have not been confirmed. These pests would have different egg laying timings and this may change how they can be controlled. Click here to compare the raster patterns of these other species to those of European chafer.


Fig. 5. The raster pattern of a European chafer grub looks like a zipper being closed towards the rear of the insect (note the two diverging lines of hairs in the centre of the photo).


Although mites and mealybugs are very different organisms, you can control them with the same strategies. Mealybug and spider mites are usually kept in check by natural predators once their numbers are knocked back, so refrain from using any kind of broad-spectrum insecticides that might harm beneficial bugs. Hose the pests from affected trees before reaching for bigger guns like insecticidal soaps or horticultural oils such as neem, whether the troubled ficus is indoors or out.

Kristi Waterworth started her writing career in 1995 as a journalist for a local newspaper. From there, her meandering career path led to a 9 1/2 year stint in the real estate industry. Since 2010, she's written on a wide range of personal finance topics. Waterworth received a Bachelor of Arts in American history from Columbia College.


Armored Insects

Look for ants on your plants because scale insects also feed off their sweet excretion.

Spray plants with your soap spray or insecticidal soap when scale insects are in their soft-shelled “crawler” stage.

  • Blast your plant with a sharp stream of water, which will knock many invading insects off the plant and onto the ground.
  • Mix a solution of liquid dish soap with water (Ivory liquid is recommended).

Mix one tablespoon of canola oil with your 24- or 32-ounce spray bottle containing your soap spray or insecticidal soap when scale insects are in their mature armored stage. The oil will smother them and the soap will kill any juveniles that can be difficult to see. Hand-pick these insects and discard them.


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