How to Manage Pests

Pests in Gardens and Landscapes

Garden symphylans

Garden symphylans are slender and white. They are not insects; they have twelve pairs of legs, fourteen body segments, and a pair of antennae. They run rapidly when exposed to light.


Symphylans feed on roots of many crops and weeds. They may damage seedlings before or after emergence and may slow the growth of larger plants. They are associated primarily with moist, organically rich soil, and feed on decaying as well as living plant material.


Garden symphylans are difficult to manage. Flooding for 3 weeks can limit the problem in some situations if your soil will hold the water. Vigorously disturbing the soil when it is dry just prior to planting by rototilling may reduce populations through abrasion of the pest's soft body.

Adult garden symphylan
Adult garden symphylan

Symphylan damage to strawberry plants
Symphylan damage to strawberry plants

Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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