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May 23, 2010 11:11 AM

controlling insects/worms that burrow into my radishes?

Last week my radishes were fine, but this week, many of my radishes had brownish tracks burrowed through the flesh. Is there any way to control these invaders in an earth-friendly way?

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  1. I'd give diatomaceous earth a try - it has tiny, sharp edges that should shred the little buggers that are eating your radishes. Since radishes grow pretty quickly, I'd just harvest what you have, mix some DE into the bed/ground/pot, and plant new seeds. Or, if you're growing thousands, pull up and replant a section or something. The link below is for information only - you can buy DE at an Agway-type place, or most garden, possibly hardware stores.

    3 Replies
    1. re: harrie

      The problem sounds like radish maggots. The adult is a flying insect that lays eggs on the radish plant near the ground line. The resulting maggots tunnel into the outer part of the roots, leaving little ditches on the surface. I doubt that diatomaceous earth in the soil would be very effective. I quit trying to grow radishes in my garden years ago because of these critters and an unwillingness to soak the radishes in pesticides. You need something persistent that will nail the maggots just after they hatch around the ground line. Otherwise, the maggots are pretty well protected inside the radishes.

      1. re: Eldon Kreider

        Thanks for the info - I have had those little nicks and blamed it on earwigs (having seen one or two around), hence the use of DE (which has been semi-successful in cutting down the number of said nicks).

        1. re: Eldon Kreider

          If it's larvae from flying insects, then beneficial nematodes might be a good bet for you. I'm using these in my vermicompost (worm) bin to get rid of a fungus gnat infestation.

          This link has a list of the pests that beneficial nematodes address:

          Here is an example of this kind of product:

        1. re: BeefeaterRocks

          All of the spunbonded row covers raise temperatures too much to be used on radishes in most areas. It is a great way to cause radishes to bolt without producing bulbs.

        2. One trick is to save the ash from your Bar-B-Q and cover the tops of the radish with it. The row covers work also. I grow my radish in the fall when those pests are not a problem. They are a pain for sure. Good luck.

          1. We had that problem last year with most of our root crops. We had lots of slugs, earwigs, and pillbugs. We tried DE last year and it really didn't seem to do much. This year we're using Sluggo and have been harvesting near perfect root vegtables. Not sure which is really responsible for the damage or if all of them are but the Sluggo's been working for us.