Controlling Mealy Bugs – Tips on How to Get Rid of These Garden Pests, Yellow How To

How to Kill Mealy Bugs

Whether you’re a keen outdoor gardener or an avid houseplant collector, if your plants have ever suffered a mealy bug infestation you’ll know all about the damage these fluffy little pests can do. And you’ll probably also know how hard it is to kill mealy bugs.

What are Mealy Bugs?

Members of the Psuedococcidae family of scale insects, mealy bugs are about an eighth of an inch long and have a white powdery appearance.

Mealy bugs feed on plant sap and generally position themselves under leaves and at stem joints, while they attack the plant with piercing mouths known as stylets. This penetrative feeding style damages the plant by draining its sap and transmits bacterial and fungal infections. Heavy infestations can kill a plant.

A Protective Layer

Mealy bugs are soft-bodied creatures, but they secrete a powdery wax layer over themselves. This protective layer gives them their name, as it makes them look as though they’ve been coated in meal or flour. It is also what makes it so difficult to kill mealy bugs.

Spotting a Mealy Bug Infestation

To spot a mealy bug infestation check stem joints, under leaves and other protected areas of the plant for what look like small balls of cotton wool. A plant suffering a significant mealy bug infestation will look wilted and may exhibit yellowing or deformed leaves. Due to the secretions the insects use to attach themselves to plants, foliage of an infested plant may feel sticky.

Given their waxy protective coating, their adhesive secretions and their persistent nature it can be difficult to kill mealy bugs. With patience, though, and your own measure of persistence, the task can be accomplished successfully.

A number of methods of killing mealy bugs are listed below.

Killing Mealy Bugs

The first rule of successfully ridding plants of mealy bugs is to catch them early. It’s far easier to kill one or two bugs than to eradicate a full-blown infestation. Inspecting your plants regularly is essential for early detection.

The Water Cure

One of the first attempts you can make to kill mealy bugs, and one that works well in the early stages of infestation, is to simply blast the bugs off with a strong stream of water. To be effective this treatment should be repeated on a daily basis until the mealy bugs are gone.

Dishwashing Liquid

For larger infestations, try spraying with a mixture of dishwashing liquid and water. Use equal parts of each and stir to mix rather than shaking to avoid excess foam. Spray all infected areas. The soap coats the mealy bugs and effectively suffocates them. It also breaks down their protective waxy layer.

You can rub the leaves with a soft cloth after spraying to remove the bugs, or leave the solution overnight and then attack the weakened bugs with a strong jet of water.

Rubbing Alcohol

Spot treat areas of mealy bug infestation with a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol – simply dab the critters and rub them away.

Insecticidal Soap

Made from a mix of mild detergent and pyrethroids, insecticidal soaps are applied to the plant, its pot, and the immediate surrounding area. Insecticidal soaps are generally safe to use on greenhouse vegetables (but always check the label).

You can also mix insecticidal soap and horticultural oil together as an alternative approach to killing mealy bugs – use 1 teaspoon soap, ½ teaspoon horticultural oil and 1 litre of water and apply with a spray bottle.

Natural Predators

Certain insects prey on mealy bugs and can help control infestations or prevent them taking hold in the first place.

Insects which kill mealy bugs include lady birds, lacewings and hover flies. Wasps will also kill mealy bugs and you can attract these to your garden (though it maybe a bit of a double-edged sword) by planting dill, coreopsis, fennel and bright flowers close to plants that my be targeted by mealy bugs.

There is also a commercially available mealy bug predator known as “mealy bug destroyer” (cryptolaemus montrouzieri) which can be purchased from garden shops.

Perseverance Pays Off

Beating these insects can be a bit of a drawn out affair, but with our tips on how to kill mealy bugs and a little perseverance you’ll be able to get rid of those fluffy white pests.

To learn more about killing mealy bugs check out this video.

How to Kill Mealy Bugs , 3.4 out of 5 based on 13 ratings

Comments

I have retired to Thailand (Chiang Mai in the north) and have lived here for over two years. I have discovered a wonderful hobby in gardening. I have learnt a lot and recently a shrub had a manifestation of mealy bugs that I mistook for a fungus. However, thanks to this website, I am controlling these pests. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!

howto.yellow.co.nz

Mealybug in the garden — how to deal with it?

How to deal with entire garden infested with Mealy Bugs?

Re: MEALY BUGS. HELP

Keep the plants from being to moist as they prefer new soft watery growth, also don’t feed the plants any nitrogen fertilizer as this is another thing they like (high nitrogen).

Spray them of with soapwater solution. Some say rub with quivertip with alcohol, maybe if its not so much to deal with.
Natural predators is Ladybugs and Mealybug Destroyer and probably quite a few more.
Ants are many times usefull but not in this case they will protect the Mealybugs. So keeping Ants at bay can also be important if present.

Re: MEALY BUGS. HELP

Mr. Green about covered it. Here’s what Planet Natural says:

Mealybug Control

  • Prune out light infestations or dab insects with a Q-tip dipped in rubbing alcohol.
    Do not over water or over-fertilize — mealybugs are attracted to plants with high nitrogen levels and soft growth.
    Commercially available beneficial insects, such as ladybugs, lacewing and the Mealybug Destroyer (Cryptolaemus montrouzieri), are important natural predators of this pest.
    Use the Bug Blaster to hose off plants with a strong stream of water and reduce pest numbers. Washing foliage regularly with a leaf shine — made from neem oil — will help discourage future infestations.
    Insecticidal soap contains potassium salts of fatty acids, which penetrates and damages the outer shells of soft-bodied insect pests, causing dehydration and death within hours.
    If pest levels become intolerable, spot treat with a short-lived, natural pesticide that does NOT persist in the environment.
    Washing foliage regularly with a leaf shine will help discourage future infestations.

http://www.planetnatural.com/pest-probl . g-control/

Infestation like that suggests things are out of balance in your garden. I would guess over watering and over-fertilizing, along with perhaps a lack of the nectar flowers that will attract things like ladybugs and lacewings. Do NOT use poisons, even short lived ones, if you want to have beneficial insects in your garden.

Re: MEALY BUGS. HELP

Re: How to deal with entire garden infested with Mealy Bugs?

None of those flowers help at all for attracting beneficial insects. Usually what you want are some native wildflowers and I have no idea what is native in India, either in flowers or in insects. Here we say you are looking for flowers that have their nectar in tiny florets, like all the carrot family things (dill, parsley, fennel, etc). Your cilantro (coriander) plant, once it flowers will be good for attracting insects you want. Other good attracting plants in my part of the world include yarrow, tansy, sunflowers, alyssum, milkweed, buckwheat, marigold, ajuga, mint family plants, sedum, cosmos, thyme. You can look around and see what of those might be common for you.

See also:  Types of Seizures and Their Symptoms

www.helpfulgardener.com

How to Manage Pests

Pests in Gardens and Landscapes

Mealybugs

Mealybugs are wingless, soft-bodied, insects about 1/20 to 1/5 inch long. They are usually elongate and segmented, and may have wax filaments radiating from the body, especially at the tail. Most females can move slowly and are covered with whitish, mealy or cottony wax. This waxy covering is similar to that produced by cottony cushion scales. Colonies occur as white, sticky clusters among leaves and fruit. Larvae are mobile. Mealybugs are often confused with woolly aphids.

Life cycle

Mealybugs overwinter as eggs or crawlers in protected places on the tree, such as crevices in the bark. The yellow to orange eggs are laid in a cottony mass called an ovisac. The young nymphs, or crawlers, are oblong, whitish, yellowish, or reddish and may or may not be covered with waxy filaments. In spring, crawlers move to the base of growing shoots or fruit clusters and stay until maturity (late May or June). As they mature, mealybugs become purple and develop a white powdery wax covering. Mature female mealybugs are about 3/16 inch long. Males are tiny two-winged insects that are rarely seen. Mature females return to protected places under the bark and lay eggs. Eggs also may be laid in the calyx end of the fruit such as apples.

Eggs hatch in June, and the new generation of crawlers moves from the bark to tender shoots or fruit to feed with those hatched on the fruit. Adults of this generation move back to the bark in August or September and lay eggs for overwintering. Some of these eggs may hatch in the fall to produce crawlers that overwinter. Most mealybugs have several generations a year.

Damage

Mealybugs tend to congregate in large numbers, forming white, cottony masses on plants. They feed on stems and leaves of fruit trees and ornamentals. High populations slow plant growth and cause premature leaf or fruit drop and twig dieback. Mealybugs can lower fruit quality by covering it with wax or sticky honeydew upon which black sooty mold grows.

Solutions

Provide proper cultural control so that plants are vigorous and can tolerate moderate mealybug feeding without being damaged. Naturally occurring predators and parasites provide good control of many mealybug species, unless these beneficials are disrupted. Manage ants, which are attracted to honeydew and inhibit the activities of natural enemies. Removal of overwintering sites, such as loose bark, can reduce mealybug numbers. Populations often drop in summer. Mealybugs are difficult to control with insecticides and systemic materials may be required. On ornamentals, insecticidal soap, narrow-range oil, or a forceful stream of water can be applied to reduce exposed populations with minimal harm to natural enemies that may migrate in later. Mealybugs are sensitive to heat and their waxy coat protects them from insecticides. Treatments are usually not justified or effective on home fruit trees.

Citrus mealybug adults


Mealybugs covering stems


Longtailed mealybug


Grape mealybug crawlers

Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
All contents copyright © 2017 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

For noncommercial purposes only, any Web site may link directly to this page. FOR ALL OTHER USES or more information, read Legal Notices. Unfortunately, we cannot provide individual solutions to specific pest problems. See our Home page, or in the U.S., contact your local Cooperative Extension office for assistance.

Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California

ipm.ucanr.edu

Tips For The Control Of Downy Mildew

A common but under diagnosed problem in the spring garden is a disease called downy mildew. This disease can damage or stunt plants and is difficult to diagnose. But, if you are familiar with the different ways this disease presents itself and with the conditions it which is can grow in, you will be better able to take steps to control downy mildew in your garden.

What is Downy Mildew?

Often times, when gardeners hear the name downy mildew, they think this disease is related to another common garden disease called powdery mildew. While the two have very similar names, they are two very different diseases.

Downy mildew is caused mostly by organisms that belong to either the Peronospora or Plasmopara genus. While powdery mildew is cause by a true fungus, downy mildew is cause by parasitic organisms that are more closely related to algae.

Because it is closely related to algae, downy mildew needs water to survive and spread. It also needs cooler temperatures. You are most likely to see downy mildew in your plants in the spring, where rainfall is frequent and temperatures stay cool.

Symptoms of Downy Mildew

One of the tricky things about downy mildew is that it can appear different ways, depending on what kinds of plants it is infecting. Most often, an infection of downy mildew will also include a fuzzy, soft looking growth that can be white, grey, brown or purple. This growth is most commonly seen on the lower leaves of the plant. This growth is where this disease gets its name from, due to its downy appearance.

Other common symptoms for downy mildew include mottling or spots on the leaves. The spotting will be yellow, light green, brown, black or purple. In some cases, the mottling may look like chlorosis.

Plants that are affected by downy mildew, may be stunted or have leaf loss.

Controlling Downy Mildew

The best control of downy mildew is to make sure that your plants do not get it in the first place. Because downy mildew needs water to survive, the very best thing you can do to prevent downy mildew is to water your plants from below. Water that sits on the leaves of the plant gives the downy mildew a way to infect and spread on the plant. The spore of downy mildews spreads by literally swimming through water until they come across live plant material to infect. If there is no water on your plant leaves, the downy mildew cannot travel to or infect your plants.

Good garden hygiene is also crucial to stopping downy mildew from developing in your garden. This disease overwinters on dead plant material, so removing dead plant material from your garden in the fall will help prevent the disease in the following spring.

If your plants become infected with downy mildew, the organic control of downy mildew is your best bet. The reason is that once a plant is infected with downy mildew, there are no effective chemical controls, though if you have a reoccurring problem with downy mildew, there are some preventative chemicals you can use. Downy mildew is not a fungus, so fungicides will not work on it.

Once your plants have downy mildew, the best thing you can do is to try to eliminate moisture and humidity around the plants. As mentioned, make sure your are watering from below. If possible, try to improve air circulation through selective pruning. In enclosed environments, like in the house or in a greenhouse, reducing the humidity will help as well.

Regardless of what you do, downy mildew normally clears itself up in the outdoor garden once the weather warms up, as this disease does not survive well in warm temperatures. If your plants only have a mild case of downy mildew, your best option may be to simply wait for warmer weather.

www.gardeningknowhow.com

Coping with Waterlogged or Flooded Gardens

Flooded gardens and wet soil can cause even more problems than a drought. Unless our plants are in moveable containers, there is little we can do except wait for the weather to change. After that, it is time to take stock of how your garden held up.

Effects of Flooding

If your soil is waterlogged, chances are good your plants are showing signs of stress or soon will be, because flooded soils contain insufficient amounts of oxygen. This means that plant roots cannot take up and release water or release excess carbon dioxide, which they must do to survive. Plants may paradoxically look like they are wilting, but it is not because of too little water, it is because they can no longer access the available water. This leads to root rot and death.

A short-term period of soggy soil probably won’t cause much damage. Rather, it is prolonged periods of flooded soil that cause problems. Although some plants, like willows, bald cypress, flag iris, and other bog plants, can adapt to long periods of floodwaters, most plants cannot; some can handle as little as a few days.

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Symptoms of Water Damage

Symptoms of water damage can be hard to identify because they can look just like many other plant problems. Symptoms will generally first appear on the leaves. In trees and shrubs, however, symptoms may not manifest for a year or more, so keep watching especially if other nearby plants are exhibiting symptoms of damage. Signs your plants have been damaged by waterlogged soil include:

  • Stunting
  • Yellowing leaves
  • Twisting leaves
  • Dropping leaves
  • Soft, spongy areas at the base of the leaf
  • Wilting despite plenty of water
  • Roots turning dark, often with a rotting odor.
  • Lack of flowers or fruits
  • Shoot dieback

Several factors determine how much damage is done to plants by flooding, including how long the soil is waterlogged, whether it is fresh or saltwater, the time of year and the type and age of the plant. Flooding during warm weather is more damaging to plants because they are actively respiring and need more oxygen than during cold weather.

What to Do

Unfortunately, once the soil is flooded, there is not much you can do but be patient. Many plants that show signs of distress during a flood may eventually recover. In the meantime:

  • Don’t walk on the waterlogged soil. You will just compact it and cause more damage to distressed roots.
  • If the plants were underwater, clean them off with a hose, to remove any sludge and other residues.
  • Keep an eye out for diseases that will take advantage of stressed plants. Fungal diseases, in particular, favor damp weather.

You can purchase a relatively inexpensive soil moisture meter at most hardware stores. A meter will tell you the percentage of water remaining in your soil. If you still have mud, you won’t need a meter to tell you the soil is waterlogged. However, if you are wondering if it is dry enough for the roots to get the necessary oxygen, a meter will tell you when the soil has reached that level (usually between 40 percent and 70 percent).

Container Plants

Fortunately, you have more options for protecting and supporting your container plants.

  • If the waterlogged plant is in a container and you can’t move the container somewhere sheltered, take the plants out of the container and let them sit and drain on newspaper or cardboard overnight. Once they have dried enough to see the roots, prune off any that feel slimy, before repotting in dry soil.
  • Potted plants that have been contaminated with sludge are best disposed of.
  • Empty and clean pots, water trays and saucers, then wash them in warm soapy water.
  • The soil in flooded containers will have lost most of its nutrients and will need a new dose of fertilizer. Use a slow-release organic fertilizer, to release the nutrients over time, as the plants recover.

Protecting Your Plants

If you live in a flood-prone area, it’s wisest to design your gardens to withstand flooding. There are a number of ways to do this; some are easier and less expensive than others.

www.thespruce.com

13 Common Garden Pests & How to Keep Them Out!

There’s nothing quite so disheartening to a gardener than discovering all your hard work has been eaten or otherwise destroyed by marauding garden looters.

Since the beginning of time we’ve been fighting to keep our crops healthy and ensure we have enough to feed ourselves. Luckily these days we don’t need to worry about starvation, but it’s still miserable to find a damaged plant that you’ve spent a lot of time and money on.

Garden pests are creatures that eat your plants. They range from rabbits to slugs, snails and insects. Pests are different from disease. Diseases include fungus, black spot, rust or blight – but that’s another topic!

Let’s take a look at what garden invaders are likely this year and how you can deal with them…

Cat and Foxes

Cats and foxes can be a nuisance. Cats see your freshly dug border or pea shingle as a huge litter tray, dig up seedlings and disturb plants. Foxes dig up the soil looking for earth worms, go through the bins and make a frankly appalling smell when they mark their territory.

How To Stop Cats and Foxes Coming in Your Garden

Remember it is against the law to hurt or poison animals. Cat deterrents work but need replacing especially after rain. Some people swear by lion poo which you can buy online. If cats are a persistent problem use ground cover plants to protect bare earth and net your seedling areas – or you could get a dog!

There are several good fox deterrents, but they’re usually looking for food, so don’t leave out scraps, get a tight lid for your bin and compost heap. Use chicken wire to net any holes in your fence. If you have outside pets such as rabbits, ensure they are locked away before sunset in a sturdy hutch.

Slugs and snails

Even the staunchest townie can identify a snail or a slug. They come in all colours but have only one thing on their minds – eating your plants. Slugs and snails will eat anything green. They love lettuce, cabbage, clematis, hostas, even potato tubers. Nothing is safe, particularly when it’s damp.

How to get rid of slugs and snails from your garden

If you can’t spot a snail but see silvery trails across your patio, fence or soil, you can be sure you have them. They eat ragged holes in leaves, and some species even tunnel into the earth for roots. They lay eggs on your tender greenery so minute versions can continue the rampage a week later. It bringing me out in a sweat just thinking about them!

Many people choose to use pellets. They work well and are easy to use. Unfortunately they don’t do other creatures much good. If you must, use them sparingly and pick up dead slugs and snails the morning after so birds and hedgehogs don’t eat them.

There are lots of ways to contain slugs and snails that don’t require chemicals – here are a few of the most effective:

1) Pick up the snails and move them elsewhere. Use a field not your neighbour’s garden as they will just head back!

2) Nematodes sound terrifying but are simply natural predators. You can buy them online. Slug and snail nematodes are tiny eelworms that are watered into your soil. They infect snails and slugs with bacteria.

3) You could also buy a trap from your garden centre or even make one yourself if you are inclined. Simply sink jars of watered down beer into the earth around your prized plants. The snails and slugs fall in. It’s not much fun emptying these, but empty them you must! Butter tubs, squash bottles and other recycled bits work well too.

4) Or you can make the environment uncomfortable for them. Placing copper tape around container rims gives the wet-footed pests a quick electric shock. Gravel, eggshells or stones make a rough barrier. Slugs and snails like wet smooth ground, they don’t like a prickly surface. Surround your seedlings moat-like with a gravel barrier.

5) Rake over your soil as often as possible to disturb their hiding places too. Snails and slugs like dark wet homes so they don’t dry out. Check your hostas, ferns and any other leafy plants that could provide a comfy home.

6) Slugs and snails are tasty treats for certain creatures, so if you’re not using pellets encourage hedgehogs, birds, frogs and toads into your garden. They will do the hard work for you.

Pigeons

We like to attract birds to our gardens, but often all the feathers we spot are grey. They eat everything and mess all over the lawn, not mention your car.

How to get rid of pigeons from your garden

The best way to keep pigeons out of the garden is to keep all bird food in feeders or on a table that they can’t get into. Try netting any green vegetables such as cabbage as they will strip leaves back to nothing in a few hours, especially if we have cold weather.

Aphids

Aphids are tiny sap-sucking vampires that feed on vegetables, fruit, and flowers. Aphids usually feed on the leaves, foliage and stems stunting plant growth and leaving a sticky substance behind. This is called honeydew but it’s a far cry from the attractive name. There are over 500 types of aphid in the UK – get me a drink! However, you can control them whether they are greenfly, blackfly, mottled, fluffy or woolly versions.

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You’ll spot aphids clustered on your plants. If you don’t spot moving aphids you might find curled over leaves. If you open these you’ll find aphids sheltered inside.

Sometimes ants farm aphids so if you notice ants heading in one direction they may lead you to the aphid farm. Sooty fluff and stunted growth all indicates an aphid infection, particularly on young plant tips and beneath new tender leaves where the sap is sweetest.

How to get rid of Aphids

You can spray them with a bug killer. This does a good job and they are unlikely to return. However, chemicals are not the only way to banish aphids. If you are not squeamish, pop on some washing up gloves and run your fingers across the aphids to squash and remove them.

You can also make up your own spray. Soak the peel of a lemon or orange overnight in hot water, and spray it directly on the aphids. They also dislike soapy water. You’ll need to do this a few times for results, but it does work if you have patience.

If you spot a ladybird pop her on the aphids. Ladybirds are the natural predators of aphids along with lacewings and hoverfly larvae. Leave spider webs intact too as spiders eat the aphids that land in their webs.

Companion planting is an underestimated ploy for pest control. The Tudors used it in their kitchen gardens well before pesticides were invented. It’s all about using plants that pests don’t like. French marigolds for example clear aphids and whitefly from tomatoes. Mint and garlic are also stinky enough to deter flying pests.

Aphids are less likely to damage a healthy plant so make sure yours are in tip top shape and able to withstand some aphid action.

Cabbage Caterpillars

If you grow green veggies you will be familiar with the white butterflies that lay eggs on the underside of the leaves. These develop into an army of very hungry caterpillars. It’s cute in the children’s book, not so much in the garden. The eggs are usually small, orange and laid in perfect lines. The caterpillars are black and yellow and VERY hairy! The small cabbage white caterpillar is small and green with soft hairs. You’ll know you have them when holes appear in leaves. You may also find, I’m sorry to say, caterpillar poo.

Scraping off the eggs works very well, use washing up liquid and gloves to get traction because they are sticky and tiny. You can also net your greenery to prevent butterflies getting there in the first place.

Of course you may choose to spray. Be careful and follow the instructions. It is better not to spray vegetables that you are going to eat, but sometimes infestations are so bad there’s little choice.

Box tree caterpillar

This is a fairly new pest that has seen a sudden rise in numbers. If you have any box (buxus) in your garden, beware of the box tree moth. Look for caterpillars that are about 4cm in length with black stripes. They can be found beneath box leaves under fine white webbing. They grow from tiny yellow eggs that are flat and overlap like scales. The moth itself is white-winged with a brown border.

Your box will suffer die back and damaged foliage from this unlikely looking pest.

How to get rid of box tree caterpillar

If you want to treat box with chemicals try an insecticide as most will destroy the eggs, but if you don’t like chemicals simply remove caterpillars when you spot them. If you have a bird table give your robins a treat. They love caterpillars and they make great soft food for hatchlings. Another effective non-chemical control is a pheromone trap that lures male moths in.

Woodlice

Ok, this is a trick inclusion. Woodlice aren’t pests but you may find many of them in your garden. They might have a nibble on young soft shoots, but prefer to eat decaying materials. If you want to be rid of woodlice clear away rubbish and turn over your earth regularly.

Sawfly

Another of my sworn enemies, these larvae burrow into shrub stems. You’ll identify them when you move close and they rear up onto their tails in an ‘S’ shape. As with most flying insects it’s the larvae that do the damage. Sawfly lay their eggs on plants such as roses, gooseberry, trees, and flowering shrubs with the result of defoliation. The larvae are usually green with black spots.

How to get rid of sawfly

You can use a chemical spray but the best way to deal with sawfly is to remove them by hand. Serious infestations can kill a plant.

Leaf-cutter bees

Roses and shrubs are targeted by leaf-cutter bees that do no more damage than their name suggests. You’ll spot a circular cutting in a leaf. This is taken to build a nest. It can look unsightly but doesn’t damage the plant. Given the benefits we gain from pollinating insects I think we can forgive these bees a few holes.

Vine Weevil

Chances are you’ve spotted this quick and hungry pest but don’t know the name. Vine weevils are beetles that eat a wide range of plants, but particularly those in pots. They are very common. Often grubs have done the damage before your plants even flower. Grubs live in the roots eating their way to maturity during the winter. Strawberries and rhododendron are favourites.

You’ll spot a vine weevil when you notice notches in your plant leaves. They are irregularly shaped and often blamed upon slugs. Look closer and you might spot a beetle that’s almost black but has splodges of dull yellow on its wing cases. They usually measure 10mm long and have lengthy antennae. The grubs are white with a brown head.

How to get rid of Vine Weevil

What can I say? Squash them if you value your plants.

Look in the foliage and under pots for vine weevils. The RHS has a great recommendation – in the evening take an umbrella outside, hold it upside down and shake your plant. The weevils fall out into the brolly. Natural predators for vine weevils are frogs, toads, hedgehogs, birds and other beetles, so it’s worth encouraging them.

There’s also a nematode available for vine weevil that’s worth a go if you just can’t shift them. Chemicals can’t be used in open ground, but in pots you can use a compost drench to kill the grubs.

Ants

Ants don’t eat your plants but many gardens have them. Does anyone remember hiding indoors when a flying ant nest hatched in summer?

Ants are useful because they can lead you to aphids. They farm aphids because they love the sticky honeydew. Conversely, ants won’t cross anything sticky, so Vaseline around a shrub stem works wonders. You should also keep the ground damp as they prefer dry conditions. Don’t worry about ants too much though, not when there are slugs and aphids more worthy of your attention.

Being kind to the environment

It’s worth remembering that as annoying as these animals and insects are, they are only trying to survive. It’s not personal! Pests are part of the food chain, wiping them out entirely disrupts nature’s balance and can’t be a good thing.

Often the best way to tackle pests is to detect them early. Don’t let a full on infestation happen, as this can be pretty tricky to deal with without resorting to chemical sprays.

If you choose to use chemical sprays – use them wisely. Don’t spray near children or animals, wear gloves and don’t stand downwind. It’s best to spray any chemicals in the evening, preferably by torchlight so that bees and other helpful pollinators are not directly sprayed. Shake the plants first to dislodge spiders and ladybirds and always follow instructions on the label.

You should only need to use a chemical control once or twice over the summer. Remember they are indiscriminate and kill most things they touch.

I wish you the very best of luck in your battle with garden pests this year! Give those natural non-chemical methods a go before dusting off the spray. They do work with persistence and you’ll get those feel good vibes from helping our native wildlife.

diygarden.co.uk

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