In 2005, in the nursery district of Pistoia, began the first sightings of a new Beetle of the Curculionidi family, causing considerable damage to all cultivated Ficus carica.
We are talking about the Aclees cribratus, a beetle originally from Southeast Asia, found for the first time in France in 1997. More in-depth studies have shown that the population present in Tuscany is made up of newly emerged individuals, which are not yet ranked taxonomically, generally defined as Aclees sp..
The adult appears as a large (15-16 mm) curculionide, black in color, with a wide back, no hull, narrowing to the elite base and covered by spots.
In the nursery, this insect runs two annual cycles: the first in June, the second in September. After flickering, the adult is divided between the plants of guest Ficus and the turf grass. Its main nourishment is the bark and the fruits, especially the maturing ones and placed in the apical part of the branch.
The females dig long tunnels in the wood making themselves big thanks to the rostrum. At the bottom of each tunnel they lay an egg that will have an incubation period of 10-20 days. The larva is xylophone and hypogea, or it feeds on the wood that is in the soil.
Attached plant can accommodate up to 8-12 individuals. The larvae, nourished with frenzy, excavate articulated tunnels in the wood, thus causing great damage to the root and collar. The affected plant is so weak, with growing difficulty, with diffuse necrosis and in some cases it can get to death.
At present, various tests have been carried out to control this insect; the fight against larvae has proved to be unsuccessful, especially because young stadiums reside within the hypogeum wood and are therefore difficult to reach. Also systemic or biological insecticides (with the use of nematodes) have proved useless.
However, good results have been obtained with the fight against the adult, in particular by using contact insecticides such as pyrethroids.
The interventions must be made regularly, bearing in mind that the two pecking pairs of the insect are in June and September.
After the first apparitions in the nursery, the Acless was also found on plants planted. The great damage that this insect causes to Ficus Carica L., a plant typical of the Mediterranean Area and with considerable ornamental aptitude, makes it necessary to find specific methods of fighting, possibly larvicide.
In this sense, a rational path to be undertaken and already under study could be the selection of new strains of insecticidal microorganisms capable of colonizing the jar planting substrate.

Mulching is an essential step to helping plants grow strong and healthy, without being disturbed by weeds and other problems.

The process of covering the soil with a loose material stops weeds from growing, maintains the right amount of moisture in the soil, protects from erosion and hard rainfall, stops the formation of a crust along the surface of the ground and helps maintain the structure of the terrain, raising the temperature of the ground itself.

The materials used for this operation can vary, but we have selected and opted to use the following types of mulch:


Miscanthus is a fast-growing plant, generally cultivated for its biomass. One of the most innovative uses of this crop is as a 100% natural mulch. Once chopped, the resulting dried material is quite effective in stopping weeds from growing and providing excellent protection for the plant.
Stable against the wind and runoff water, Miscanthus is characterised by high levels of water retention, which limits evaporation during warm weather. Miscanthus decomposes naturally and is a source of minerals for plants. In addition, its light colour complements the aesthetics of potted plants.


Container mulch is made of conifer wood, barked and chopped into 2-10 mm particles. During the production process, the material is heat-sterilised and dyed with natural pigments which give it its characteristic rosy hue. The material should be applied upon potting, creating a layer of at least 2 cm. After the first watering, Container mulch will form a compact but permeable layer which is resistant to wind and water runoff. In addition to blocking weeds, the mulch layer slows the drying out of the pots while providing an aesthetically pleasing chromatic aspect. Container mulch is available in 70 lt. bags and 3m³ Big Bales.


3 mm thick felted vegetable fibre discs, Discoplus forms a barrier against the growth of weeds. Discoplus is heat sterilised and each disc lasts 12-18 months and comes in a range of diameters, from 14 to 56 cm. Discoplus should be placed over the substrate when potting, making sure that it covers the all of the exposed surface within the pot. The disks are water- and fertiliser-permeable, biodegradable and they also limit evapotranspiration.

 Pellet Biopacciamante

Organic Mulching Pellets are a mixture of chopped and pressed hay and straw. Once placed in the pot during planting, the pellets should be wet with water. Absorbing the liquid, they will grow four times in volume to form a compact layer (1 cm of pellets will become a 4 cm layer within the pot, once wet). In addition to stopping weeds from growing, the material limits evapotranspiration and acts as a snail deterrent.

The Cydalima perspectalis is a real menace for the boxwood plants in the vivarium and gardens of the old continent.

The first report in Europe is dated back in 2007 in Germany. In the next years the parasite has continued to spread, reaching the year after France, Switzerland, UK and the Netherlands; in 2009 it was detected in Austria and in the Netherlands; Finally in July 2011 its first discovery in Italy, in Lombardy, in the province of Como.

Fearing the rapid spread, in 2007 it has been inserted from the EPPO (European and Mediterranean Plant Protecion Organization) in the list of alert (Eppo alert list) where then it remained for more than three years.

In 2011, the reporting given was considered enough and therefore, in the absence of particular requirements from the EPPO member countries to combat the insect, it was deleted from the alert list.

Unfortunately, it is not extinguished. Fortunately this is not a quarantine pest, but the larvae that feed on the leaves of boxwood are due to large and substantial damage, physiological and economic.

Description and biology

The adult is a butterfly with a wingspan of 4 cm, and white wings with nuances of gold to purple and brown edges. The biological cycle in Europe is not yet clear: the first observations made in Germany and Italy seem to show that the insect performs four generations per year and it is able to spend the winter as a chrysalis on the plants.

The following year, during the month of March by reaching 20° C temperature, the development is completed; adults flicker and through spawning, they start the first generation.

The butterfly lives an average of 8 days and it can also fly for several kilometers.

Despite its excellent flying capacity the main cause of its diffusion in new areas,  very distant from Those of origin, is the transportation of box trees coming from infested countries.

Eggs, large few millimeters, are laid in groups of 25-30, partially topped one on another, below the leaf page. Initially pale yellow almost transparent, they turn brown with ripening.

The yellowish green color larvae are characterized by black and white streaks bands along the body, they are also covered with sparse hairs which grow from black pustules present longitudinally on the body.

At maturity they reach 4 cm and they are the heads of major aesthetic damage, feeding on both the leaves and the sprouts.

High infestation levels can lead to the complete defoliation of the plants on which we note the presence of a dense network of silk threads. They take about 25 days to reach maturity and become a chrysalis.

Pupae measure 2 cm, and initially have a green color with black stripes along the dorsal part, then, with age, they become dark brown. They are well-hidden in the vegetation where, thanks to the silk threads, remain attached to the leaves for about 14 days, long enough to grow again in adults.

At the end of the third generation the chrysalis doesn’t mature right away, but it winters waiting for the spring favorable thermal conditions.

Prevention and defense

The prevention is currently limited to the control of incoming plants from contaminated countries.

You must verify that there are no clear signs of attacks, eggs, larvae or pupae over boxwood plants purchased.

When the insect has successfully colonized a new areal, spreading quickly, the only solution is to intervene with targeted insecticide treatments.

The fight against this defoliating can be biological, chemical or biotechnology.

They can be used natural products such as those made of Pyrethrum or Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki.

The chemical and biotechnological fight must be done using crop protection products authorized for the type of treatment mentioned.

Considering the many generations that this moth plays and the different stages of development achieved in a season, it could be very efficient a mixture between a biotechnological product (growth regulators, chitin inhibitors) along with anti knockdown insecticides.

The most appropriate time to carry out the treatments and prevent the damage is during the hatching of the eggs, or in the early stages of larval development.

What do we do here in Vivai Capecchi

Very well aware of the damage that a single infected plant can cause an entire garden, we take care of our products with a biological product containing Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki.

We work to prevent and treat this problem by following the insect’s biological cycle, working directly on the new generations.

Practically, when the insect feeds on plants treated with Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki, this latter produces the toxin that blocks the insect’s gut and rapidly leads to death.

The ideal conditions for this to happen exist only in those individuals that possess a digestive system with a pH greater than 9, that is only specific groups of animals as mosquitoes, Lepidoptera larvae and little else; all mammals are totally excluded (men, dogs and cats including), fish, birds and practically all the good insects including natural predators. This mechanism ensures that it is eliminated only the target insect, respecting any other form of animal life Present On the treated plants.

If you need further clarification Contact us Directly and we’ll provide you all the necessary data.

How to prevent frost damage

In the late autumn season plant-health measures on ornamental plants are reduced to a minimum, in parallel to the biological cycles of pathogenic microorganisms (biological agents responsible for the onset of the disease condition in plants), whether insects or fungi.

In this period, however, you need to pay more attention to the performance of the temperature, planning a rational strategy for preventing the damage caused by frost.

The cold stress felt by ornamental plant, grown in pots or in open fields, it is essentially caused by two types of frost:

  • From radiation – determined by the loss of soil heat during the nights with clear skies, low humidity and weak winds. In these conditions the hot air, lighter, tends to move to several meters from the ground level, leaving space for a layer of cold air
  • From advection (in meteorology, horizontal transport, by wind, of some properties of the atmosphere (heat, steam, momentum, etc.). – determined by the large cold air moves, usually from northerly winds during the course of the disturbances

The damage caused by frost are caused by cell water which, when the temperature decreases, it solidifies going to affect both the cells themselves and whole plant tissues.

After the thaw, the affected green tissues appear as emptied and undergo desiccation.

Symptoms of frost damage are visible on the various plant organs, and can occur in various ways:

  • Redness and browning of the leaves, especially those located in the apical part of the young branches.
  • In case of severe frosts the desiccation may involve whole branches, causing browning spread on the foliage.
  • The buds are protected by the perule (leaves transformed in a way that they can provide protection to the buds of plants), but in the spring time, or if placed on branches not well lignified, may receive damage, even coming to detach from the plant.
  • On the stem may occur swelling of the bark, which can lead to cracks or “peeling”.



What to do to maintain the health and beauty of the plant

In the nursery the plant, receiving the necessary fertilization and irrigation, tends to grow a lot and for longer time, compared to the natural conditions, becoming more sensitive to the symptoms described above. This necessitates some targeted operations dedicated to strengthening or better hardening plant tissues, such as:

  • Copper based treatments. Normally designed as fungicides operations, they have also a phytotoxic effect. In response to the treatment, the plant tends to stop his growth and clappers its tissues; in fact it is going to become more resistant to frost.
  • Adopt the right fertilizer. In nurseries served by ferti-irrigation, it is necessary to adopt the correct nutrient solutions according to the seasonal trend. In the late spring/early summer period there are used solutions rich in nitrogen, which promote the growth of plants. On the contrary, with the approach of the fall season, it should reduce the concentrations of nitrogen favoring potassium, in order to induce the plant to harden.
  • In case of strong forecast and sudden frosts, it is recommended to intervene with specific antiperspirant products, that limit the gas exchange between the plant and the environment, reducing the risk of freezing of the water present in the plant tissues.

Considering that at this time of year the frosts can affect the quality of the nursery product, you must pull the analytical knowledge of the meteorological phenomenon to some technical measures that make the plant more resistant.

For more tips for maintaining your plants healthy and beautiful, we are always at your disposal with an internal agronomist able to meet your needs. Write us, we will respond within 48 hours.