Garden pests | Greenfly - Slugs and snails - Midges - Cats!
Pests pests more garden pests!
You may notice, that in around late May or June there is a marked increase in pests in your garden. Its just their time of year alas! But how can you stop them from feeding on your flowers, plants or shrubs?
The most common garden pest is the green fly. You may have seen them congregate and feeding on the tips of your roses in the garden lately.
What they do: the greenfly feeds on the sap of the plant and can multiply rapidly. They damage any new growth and stunt the plant by drawing out the plants sap.
How to get rid of greenfly
There are a number of different ways in dealing with greenfly's, one of the best ways is use a safe organic spray called
- Pyrethrum: has naturally occurring ingredients made from Chrysanthemum flower family. This can be very affective. One particular version of it is probably the oldest known pesticide, made from the dried flowers of a white daisy known as 'Tanacetum cinerariifolium'. Organic pyrethrum spray paralyses insects that come into contact with it and is the strongest insecticide allowed under National Organic Standards guidelines. In fact, if you feel creative, its one that you can make yourself! See here.
Also very good is
- SB Plant Invigorator: which is a non-toxic dual purpose spray (also good for White fly, Aphid and Spider Mites). This mix kills the Greenfly, while at the same time gives nutrition to the plant itself. It wont affect Bees or Birds (which is always a great thing). It utilises a 'physical mode of action' that is non-chemical and non-biological. Pests do not become resistant.
Slugs and Snails
Q. Hannah, in Booterstown Dublin.
"Help! How do I combat slugs? My garden is riddled with them!"?
Ah - the age old question! There are Nematodes for slugs. You make them up in a watering can, they are a living organism and will only effect the slugs, and will do you no harm. You can get ones that specifically and solely target slugs. They are perfectly harmless to children, pets, and other wildlife, and pose no threat to food crops. In fact there are millions of them living quite happily in your garden right now. You can get them at any good garden centre and should help. Read more about Nematodes here.
Also, use the old half filled beer can buried in the garden trick. By using a can (and not a glass), the slugs can't climb back out of it as easily. The slugs will be drawn to the beer inside the can and end up drowning - but this will be an on going battle till the end of time alas! Top tip: Make sure to bury the can in your garden LEVEL with the ground. Make it easy for them to get it there!
A personal pet peeve of mine! They can be extremely annoying in the late evening (and often after a shower of rain on a hotter day, interesting). Unfortunately there is little that can be done with them. The only really effective way is to simply cover any exposed areas of flesh (think hats / face guards (like a bandanna) gloves / long sleeve tops etc).
Also worth mentioning is smoke. Like a lot of incests / animals, their instinct is to avoid smoke. This may not a very practical solution (or it may be - depends) , but, may be worth knowing none the less. I have tried it, and it does work.
Q. Fionn. Knocklyon.
"My garden pest is my lovely neighbours cat! She uses the flower beds as a litter tray. Any ideas"?
Get a dog!
Ah no - this can be a bone of contention amoung neighbors. Moth Balls can act as an excellent deterrent. Its not something that I have tried, but I have heard good reports in relation to this, so worth a go.
Top tip: Another approach is to set a plant known as 'Catmint' or Nepeta. Cats are drawn to this like magnets, so you could either set it in a hidden part of the garden, or better still, GIVE IT AS A GIFT to your neighbbour and let them set it in theirs! Problem sorted!