Grrr… there is nothing more annoying than a rose bush consumed with greenfly, a beautiful row of lettuce ruined by slugs, or an army of spider mites marching across your patio. Unfortunately, waging a one-man, or woman, war against common garden pests is never likely to result in victory. It’s best to play the long game instead by following our guide to the common garden pest and what you can do about them.

 

Greenfly

Sometimes known instead as aphids, greenfly feed on sap and destroy your plants. They make roses shrivel and kill off tender stems before they’ve even had a chance to bloom. They also increase the chances of viral infections because of the way they feed. Nasty critters… Fortunately, nature has a way of controlling greenfly in the form of the lovely ladybird, and our feathered friends. If you’re lucky enough to have a good ladybird population in your garden, you shouldn’t have too much trouble. If not, you can rub the greenfly away, which can be quite yucky, or you can wipe with soapy water. Some gardeners swear by placing a bird feeder nearby likely victims and letting the blue tits have a nice long lunch.

 

Slugs

Bleurgh… slugs! Is there a more detestable creature? The slime, the mites (yes, really), the damage, the slime - deserves to be on there twice - slugs cause serious problems in the garden. The pain caused by slugs eating through your prized lettuce, the tell-tale slime trails criss-crossing all over your beautiful vegetable patch… say no more.

 

We’re yet to meet a positive side to the garden slug but we do know there are an awful lot of methods for getting rid of them. Depending on how squeamish you are, and how you feel about ‘slugicide’, then you might want to get the salt out, or start boiling the kettle. The alternative is prevention. Copper tape, raised beds and a healthy bird population are all excellent ways to deal with slugs without the guilt.

 

Vine Weevil

These nasty little things really are the Lex Luthor of the garden pest kingdom. These little guys nibble on plants during the spring and summer, while their grubs munch on plant roots over the winter months. This means they are really hard to spot. They are also the death knell to container plants and especially like the taste of succulents, hydrangea and rhododendron. These troublesome creatures can be controlled by vigilantly picking them off plants each evening, increasing their predators – hedgehogs, birds and frogs (amongst others), shaking shrubs to dislodge them, and by using nematodes as part of a biological war against them.

 

If you know the pain of losing your prize marigolds to a sudden vine weevil attack, or your tender leaf spinach to a slug midnight feast, then you will also know it pays to try to get ahead. Now the weather is warming up, get out there and check under pots and shake off those shrubs. Together, we can do it!