The good news is that you need not resort to chemical-laden pesticides. Take today’s catch of asparagus beetles now floating belly-up in soapy water. They love the skinny ferns of my asparagus plants that are too young to pick, and indeed asparagus is the only plant the adults and larvae are capable of eating. Right now is mating season, with eager beetles appearing day after day. As the name reveals, these mites affect fuchsia plants by distorting the young shoot tips, which discolour to a yellowish green or red.
There are several companies which offer natural or chemical-free pest control options for home garden pests. • Tobacco or tomato hornworms are also some of the most destructive garden pests which destroy plants like tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, tobacco and eggplants. The presence can easily identified by eaten leaves often towards the top of the plants. If you’ve seen any pests or beneficial insects in your garden in the past few days please report them to The Big Bug Hunt and help create a warning system to alert you when bugs are heading your way. Ladybugs, hoverflies, parasitic wasps, lacewings – just a few of the beneficial bugs that help control pests by either eating them or hatching their young inside them. Tempt more beneficial bugs into your garden by growing lots of the flowers they love, like cosmos, sweet alyssum, dill, yarrow and many more besides.
Attractive but destructive pests such as deer and rabbits can be put off by spraying their favourite plants with Grazers. It won’t hurt them but the taste will not be to their liking. Larvae and adults, can be purchased, they should be placed on aphid infested plants from spring onwards.
Sow Tagetes patula’Bo Jangle’ and ‘Scarlet Sophie’ in early April and prick out into seed trays. The dark sedum ‘Purple Emperor’ and cone flowers can also be woven along the border to provide a permanent backbone. Agastaches and achilleas are also highly popular and all four will provide stiff winter seed-heads. Bupleurum griffithii ‘Decor’ This lime-green annual has a boss of tiny flowers surrounded by a ruff of everlasting, zigzagged bracts. Firstly they like tiny flowers because they have small mouths.
These pests are an issue in countries all over the world, the UK included. However, in the UK our Mosquitoes tend to carry less diseases, meaning although their bites are irritating, annoying and un-comfortable, they aren’t deadly. The kinds of pests we see around our homes and garden in summer, varies from the kind you may see the rest of the year. Most people are unsure what pests they might be surrounded by. And let’s be honest, we’re either trying to swot it with a notebook or we’re running in the opposite direction! We don’t usually take the time to identify the pest and problem, instead we just muddle through, complaining throughout the summer how infested our home and garden is.
One mealybug destroyer can eat around 250 mealybug larvae, so their name is well deserved. Attract them by planting sunflowers, dill, fennel, and goldenrod. The larvae of the humble hoverfly feast on aphids, caterpillars, and scale bugs until reaching maturity where they will switch to eating pollen. Plants, such as common yarrow, fern-leaf yarrow, dill, and basket of gold will attract hoverflies, as well as provide a good food source for them during adulthood. Regardless of whether you are just starting your gardening journey or are already a gardening pro, the question of how to stop detrimental pests from destroying your hard work will inevitably arise.
Many wild birds are insect eaters, supplementing their diet of seeds and fruits with the protein rich bugs and mini beasts that frequent our gardens. This natural food can be in short supply; so feeding the birds can really support them through the tough times. Hedgehogs are known as a ‘gardener’s friend’ because they eat slugs, snails and other insects that otherwise might eat your crops. Place the shelter at the wildest edge of your permaculture garden, and cover lightly with soil and twigs.
As well as being pollinators, and visually attractive in the garden, moths and butterflies are an important element of the food chain, as prey for birds, bats and other insectivorous animals . Individual butterflies have developed their own chemicals to deter predators and parasites, to find a mate, and to overcome the chemical defences of a host plant. Powerful antibiotics, for instance, have been found in the Meadow Brown, one of the UK’s most widespread species. Although their life cycle is gruesome – after the egg hatches, the parasitoid larva eats the host alive before emerging as an adult – these insects have an important role to play.