Join the RHS today and support our charitable work
Keep track of your plants with reminders & care tips – all to help you grow successfully
RHS members get reduced ticket prices
RHS members get free access to RHS Gardens
Free entry to RHS members at selected times »
Reduced prices on RHS Garden courses and workshops
020 3176 5800
Mon – Fri | 9am – 5pm
Help us achieve our goals
Join the RHS today and support our charity
Swift moth caterpillars live in soil feeding on plant roots and at the base of plant stems which can cause plants to collapse.
Garden swift moth (Hepialus lupulinus) on Crocus
Heavy infestations of swift moth caterpillars can cause affected plants to lack vigour and they may be killed. Roots of herbaceous perennials such as Michaelmas daisy, paeony, chrysanthemum and strawberry are particularly at risk.
A mixture of nematode species for controlling caterpillars and some other vegetable pests is sold as Fruit and Vegetable Protection and is available from some biological control suppliers. To be effective the nematodes need to be watered into moist soil while soil temperatures are in the range of 12-20ºC (54-68ºF). These temperatures occur between April and September. Nematodes should be applied as soon as possible after purchase, following the suppliers’ instructions. It may be necessary to water the soil before and after application to ensure the soil is sufficiently moist for nematode activity and survival. Repeat application may be necessary.
Biological control suppliers (Adobe Acrobat pdf document)
There are currently no pesticides available to home gardeners or the treatment of soil pests.
Angle shades moth
Box tree caterpillar
Brown tail moth
Chafer grubs in garden borders
Chafer grubs in lawns
Cotoneaster webber caterpillars
Elephant hawk moth
Moths in your garden
Oak processionary moth
Protect your garden
the RHS today and get 12 months for the price of 9
RHS members can get exclusive individual advice from the RHS Gardening Advice team.
The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.