Northwest berry Foundation

Management Detail

Garden Symphylan

in Strawberries

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Latin name: Scutigerella immaculata


Symphylans are tiny, white and centipede-like. They have 10-12 pairs of legs, are 1/8- to 1/4-inch long and live in the soil feeding on fine roots and organic matter. High populations can cause low vigor and weak growth. There are no good controls for symphylans once a planting is established, so treatment for symphylans is best done with fumigation prior to planting.



  • Weak spots in a field may indicate symphylan root feeding.
  • Sample by taking a shovelful of soil down to a depth of about 8 inches.
  • Carefully search through and count the number of symphylan present. At least one shovelful per acre should be sampled.
  • More than 5 per shovelful can indicate a problem although thresholds are not well established.
  • Symphylans can also be baited by putting out half a potato on the ground and covering it with a white pot with no holes.
  • Baiting can get variable results depending on time of year, weather and soil conditions.
  • Other possible causes of similar symptoms: Root Lesion nematodes, root weevils, root rot.

Cultural Controls:

  • Thorough tilling before planting will help reduce the population.


For information about chemical controls, check with our Pesticide Guide.


photo by K. Gray

photo by D. Calvin


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