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Other land-based pests

Several pests are capable of gnawing, devouring the roots and the neck of salads. Adult insects, caterpillars and larvae, thus attack seedlings and adult lettuces.

In many cases, the culprit (s) are not very far away. By looking closely at the affected plant (s) and their environment, we can find the pest (s) involved. The main pests that can be involved in this root damage are mentioned in the following table.


Organs attacked and
nature of damage
Last name Description of the pest

Roots devoured
Melolontha melolontha
(ver blanc, hanneton commun)
Larvae 3 to 3.5 cm long, white in color. The head and legs are brown and shiny (Figure 1).

Roots devoured and
collar perforation
Agriotes spp.
(yellow worms, wireworms, wireworms)
Cylindrical larvae of 2.2 to 3 cm
long, yellowish-brown in color and shiny, cylindrical
to subcylindrical (Figure 2).

Gnawed collar
Hepialus spp.
Caterpillars 3.5 cm long, white, shiny and translucent. Light brown head and prothoracic plate.

Root collar and gnawed roots
Tipula spp.
Larvae 3.5-4.5 cm long, greyish and dull in appearance. Head black, small and inconspicuous (figure 3).

Gnawed collar and leaves
near the grazed ground
Bourletiella hortensis
(garden springtail)
Black to dark green adults,
1.5 mm long. Big head
with long antennae. Eyes black, prominent, circled in yellow.

Gnawed collar and
cut leaves
(cutworms, soil-dwelling moths)
Caterpillars 3.5 cm long, fleshy, variable in color, greyish to greenish, topped
dark spots or bands
(figures 4 to 7
Last change : 11/16/21
  • Author :
  • D Blancard (INRAe)
Figure 1
Figure 2
Figure 3
Figure 4
Figure 5
Figure 6
Figure 7