Controlling Those Summer Pests by Charlie Albone

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When pawing through garden design books, Instagram and Pinterest as well as all other forms of inspiration, it appears the beautiful gardens and vegetable patches around the world live in a pest free zone. Let me tell you, this most certainly is not the case!  Every garden gets pests; but a varied management plan is a successful one and here are my 5 tips to creating one.

1. Call in the Cavalry

You’ll need a cavalry to fight for you against the most common of pests such as aphids, mealy bugs and cabbage moth so build yourself a bug hotel. These come in various shapes and sizes and can easily be made out of twigs, bricks and stones found around the home and garden – all you’re trying to do is create a place for bugs to shelter, especially over the cool of winter and the heat of summer. If you can entice blue tongue lizards into the garden you’ll never have a snail or slug problem again so make sure there’s some water around too.

2. Call in Air Support

With the ground troops sorted for accommodation you’ll also benefit from the airborne cavalry. Flying insects such as wasps will also prey on your pests too, but you need to bring them in by providing landing pads for them. These can be grown and you’ll need to plant flowers that have umbel shape or those that spread out. Dill and parsley work well as do carrots if left in the ground over winter and let to flower the following season.

3. Create a Housing Estate

Pests such as beetles, slugs and snails like to shelter under large broad objects so set traps with some large pieces of bark or even cardboard will do. Come back and check your trap regularly and remove the findings so you can dispose of them however you see fit.

I’ve had varied levels of success with setting traps of beer to bait snails and slugs. Apparently they find the smell and taste irresistible and end up drowning themselves as they gorge on the beer – not too bad a way to go I suppose!

4. Defend Your Garden

For chronic outbreaks of pests, I’m not against using chemical sprays to get them under control and if possible I use the organic or eco variety. Always read the label and follow the instructions to the letter – just because you use more doesn’t mean it’s more effective. I love using Richgro Beat-A-Bug on all my plants especially edibles as it’s made from all natural ingredients such as Garlic and Chilli that repel all sorts of insects including everything from earwigs to aphids.

In areas affected by Fruit Fly, it’s best to get on top of it early. There are several methods to prevent fruit fly such as baits and traps. Richgro Fruit Fly Spray contains Garlic and Fish oil which can be sprayed on all your fruit to prevent fruit fly from coming onto your fruit.

Ants can be a real issue in the garden as well, they often come around when your lawn is really dry. I start my protection against them with a soil wetter such as Ezi-Wet as this ensures water penetrates the ground and doesn’t dry out as quickly, keeping lawns hydrated. You can then follow up with Richgro Ant Killa products. Either sprinkle around ant nests and trails or spray where pests are prevalent. Do not use these products around your vegies though.

5. Keep it clean and tidy

Simple mechanical removal of visual pests is effective but also not easy and very time consuming so protect your plants with small covers. Cloches or tunnels made of shade fabric will protect your seedlings as this stops bugs getting to them. It also speeds up new seedling growth as it creates a pocket of warm air around your plants leaves.

The simplest and most effective way to get pests out of the garden is to keep it clean and tidy by removing spoiled fruit and spent plants. This gets rid of excess food and breading grounds for pests and diseases, as well as making the garden look Instagram worthy!

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