Vine weevil larvae in composter

Hello, everyone. I think I might have made a big mistake and I could use some help...
About a year-and-spare-change ago I started a compost heap in a plastic grid composer, using mainly leaves and mowed grass. This week I finally dug into it, and found the compost inhabited by fat creamy-white grubs up to 2cm in length. I didn't think much of it and simply picked them out of the compost I planned to use, returning some to the composter and disposing of the others. Doing some research this weekend, I discovered to my dismay that what I'm dealing with are vine weevil larvae!
Here's what worries me: I used the soil they produced throughout most of my garden, and although I'm sure I removed all the grubs before using the soil, I'm still worried whether there are any sneaky grubs eating through my plants. I'm also not quite sure whether to expect all the eggs are hatched; I didn't *see* anything that might have been eggs, but that's hardly any assurance, right?
On the other hand, most of the information I've read focuses on the disaster the larvae make in potted plants - and I've got an outdoor garden, complete with a surrounding forest of Other Stuff the larvae can nibble on, and hopefully an array of natural enemies they can fall prey to. Furthermore, I've been working in this garden for nearly ten years now, and although I've often seen adult vine weevils lurking about in the summer, I've never had any problems with them, whether it's the adults eating the leaves, or the larvae at the roots (and this week is the first time I've ever actually *seen* the larvae).
I've read through this tread - http://tinyurl.com/ybg8ojt - but I'm still not really sure what to do. Should I start applying insecticide just to be safe, or wait to see if there's any damage being done? I repeat, I've never had problems with these larvae before, but then again, I've never used soil they'd frolicked about in before.
And what should I do with the composter? Should I leave the larvae in there and pick them out before usage? (I got the impression they were churning out some nice compost) Or dispose of them all and good riddance? Is there any way of preventing them showing up again, apart from insecticide?
Sorry about the long post - and thank you for any advice you might have!
Cheers, Marge
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Rambling Marge


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On Nov 21, 4:25 pm, Rambling Marge

I'm not sure I'd panic yet :-) First, there is no guarantee that what you are dealing with IS vine weevil larvae -- a great many soil and compost dwelling insects produce fat grub-like larvae, much of them beneficial. Vine weevil larvae is also larger than what you describe, typically 10-12 cm and with a distinctive "C" shaped curve. Personally without a confirmed ID, I'd remove them from any compost I was applying now and destroy and wait to see what happens in spring when they should become active. If you DO have a problem then - and I doubt you will - then you can apply beneficial nematodes. Nematodes need warm soil conditions to be effective so applying now would be a waste of product/money and may not even be necessary.
btw, an active compost operation that attains sufficient heat should discourage vine weevil larvae - both the turning/aeration and the heat generated will kill off any eggs that were laid that were not consumed by other soil organisms.
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Ok, new idea. These grubs seem too big to be vine weevils; after more research I'm pretty sure these are cockchafer larvae. Pests and root-eaters, the lot of them. What should I do?
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Rambling Marge


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,Rambling Marge;870300 Wrote: > Ok, new idea. These grubs seem too big to be vine weevils; after more > research I'm pretty sure these are cockchafer larvae. Pests and > root-eaters, the lot of them. What should I do?
Hi Marge, IMHO 2cm. long is too big for vine weevil larvae and when I first read your post cockchafer grubs were the 'beasties' that sprang to my mind.
Whilst they will do alot of dammage, they have to be there in really big numbers! some while ago they were really doing dammage at my local golf club, and when they were digging an area to see what the problem was the number of grubs was unbelievable. So, IMO if you have physically removed all the larvae that you can see, I think you should be OK as where as vine weevil have an annual life cycle, cockchafer I think take 2-3 years to mature.
Best Wishes from 'rambling' Coenwall
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lannerman


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