As temperatures rise and wildlife take to the shade, garden plants can often get covered in greenfly. It can be frustrating as your flowers and vegetables (which are finally repaying all your hard work) get ruined and makes it all too tempting to reach for the spray. However, is it possible to manage those bugs using natural predators in the garden?
Recently, I’ve read that wasps are big eaters when it comes to bugs, this is good news and has pricked my otherwise indifferent attitude to wasps. Then there’s Lady birds who are the most quoted when it comes to loving the green-goop but do they warrant their reputation? Well it turns out that ladybirds can eat up to 5000 greenflies in their life-time. They are so effective that it is possible to buy Ladybird larvae online and so desirable they have their own bughouse product-lines! How do the wasps compare? There doesn’t seem to be as much information re their capabilities compared to Ladybirds but they definitely do consume aphids. Hoverflies get the next best press after Ladybirds with claims that they can eat around 150 greenflies in their (short) life-times.
In the bird world, Blue Tits are voracious greenfly eaters and are often seen scouring roses to pick them off. Apparently, Sparrows don’t eat greenfly themselves but will feed them to their chicks therefore keeping numbers down. Yet another reason to love the cheeky Sparrow who already does the job of eating loads of flies. Just remember to supply these hard-workers with plenty of water, especially in hot weather.
Overall, the message from the RHS website and greengardener.co.uk is that it is indeed possible to manage these bugs naturally. By encouraging more birds and insects into our gardens we create habitats that can more easily cope with spikes in greenfly numbers. Dalefoot Composts fits into this ‘natural’ ethos as we provide Soil Association accredited products that are chemical free. They’re perfect for the environmentally conscious gardener who want to grow organically, avoiding sprays and powders. We’re totally and always have been peat-free which means that gardeners grow quality produce without compromising peat-land habitats which in turn provide important environments for wildlife. In fact, we professionally restore degraded peat-bogs across the U.K.
Going back to the original question of Spots versus stripes? It’s clearly spots all the way. They are champion of champions when it comes to the volume consumption of green-goop. So much so, I’m considering committing to some bug-house real estate for next year.