Inground pests destroying garlic cloves

  1. One of the items grown in my Toronto garden are garlic cloves. The last few years there is a worm (?), about the diameter of two needles, that eats the garlic leaving a brownish stain on the cloves. Eventually it eats the roots killing the plant. I have tried planting two areas about 25 feet apart, but they still show up. Is there anything I can do to either control or eliminate this pest?

Hello, it very much sounds like you have Onion maggots. This is a problem that often strikes when we have very wet springs, and our last few springs have certainly been that.

The first thing to do is to entirely remove the infected plants, and also the surrounding soil where the maggot has laid eggs.  This can be a big job depending on the area where you have your garlic planted.  Make sure that you do not put the plants or the soil back into your compost pile.

Once you have replaced your planting area with clean soil, and have replanted your garlic, cover the plants with floating row covers to prevent the fly from landing on the garlic and laying more eggs.    Other methods to try would be to add sand, ash or cayenne pepper to the base of your plants in order to repel the flies   Make sure that once the season is over that you remove all of your garlic from the ground so that you do not encourage the maggots to overwinter in your garden!.  I hope this is helpful and good luck with your garlic!

the following links may be helpful to you: