Each year the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) lists its top 10 Pests from the previous year and it's great to see how many of these pests we have a natural solution for! Below is listed their top ten pests for last year based on enquiries received by their Gardening Advice Team. For the 2nd year running Box Tree Caterpillar was the No.1 pest, but the hot weather ensured pests like woolly aphids and Southern Green Shield Bug were in the top 10.
No. 1 - Box Tree Caterpillar :-
No.1 for the 2nd year running and judging by the number of enquiries we are getting it is gong to be number one next year! With sightings in Wales and Northern Ireland it is spreading. The caterpillars eat the box leaves and produce large amounts of webbing and as they feed, areas of dieback appear. Box Tree Moth overwinters as a caterpillars, hidden between box leaves that it has spun together with silk before emerging in the Spring to mate and lay eggs. There can be up to 3 generations of moths per year, so this means moths can be present from April until September. Adult Box Tree Moths has up to a 4cm wingspan and it usually white wings with a brown border around the wings, although the moths can sometimes be completely brown. The caterpillars are greenish-yellow with black heads and once fully grown the caterpillars reach up to 4cm in length and will have a thick black and thin white stripes along its body. Control Box Tree Caterpillars by spraying with Nemasys® Fruit and Vegetable Protection as soon as the 1st caterpillars are spotted and then position and a Box Tree Moth Trap to catch the adult moths and protect your plants from future infestations.
No. 2 - Slugs and Snails :-
It was always No.1 until a few years ago, but it is still the pest we get the most enquiries about. You all know what damage slugs can do to your precious plants. Holes in your hostas, pits in your potatoes & lettuce looking like lace. Control slugs NATURALLY with our range of slug controls. Our No.1 best-selling Slug control is Nemaslug Slug Killer (available NOW) PLUS gardeners who use it regularly say it reduces snail numbers as well. We also have a range of barrier and traps including Slug Gone Wool Pellets, Copper Tape / Rings / Bands, Traps and Slug Collars.
No. 3 - Viburnum Beetle - Viburnum beetle and their larvae attack the leaves of viburnums in spring & late summer. Often noticed is the unpleasant smell produced by some species of Viburnum when attacked by the beetle. Treat the larvae with Nemasys Fruit and Vegetable Protection nematodes in the spring / summer. Also treat beneath the plant in the autumn with nematodes to target larvae looking for places pupate.
No.4 - Vine Weevil - Vine Weevil is a major pest BOTH under-glass and in the garden, where it can have devastating effects often causing the death of plants. Control vine weevil naturally by applying Nemasys® Vine Weevil Killer to kill the grubs and using Nematop Adult Vine Weevil Traps and / or Zee No Weevil to control the adults.
No. 5 - Woolly Aphid - Woolly aphids are unlike other aphids as they sucks the sap from woody stems, rather than soft foliage and is a is common pest on fruit trees i.e. apples and pears. Woolly aphid is easy to spot as the pest produces a characteristic white, woolly coating, which appears as fluffy wool, which is mistaken as mould. Control Woolly aphids by spraying the affected area 1st with SB Invigorator natural spray and then release Lacewing Larvae.
No.6 - Southern Green Shield Bug - A recent arrival from Europe it can attack vegetables including beans, but it tends to become numerous in late summer when beans have finished.
No.7 - Fuchsia Gall Mite - Fuchsia gall mite is a tiny sap-sucking pest that is specific to fuchsias. They infest new growth at the shoot tips where they suck sap and prevent the normal development of leaves and flowers. As the infestation increases, foliage becomes increasingly distorted until plants can no longer produce normal leaves or flower buds. At the moment there are no natural controls, so it is best to destroy infested plants to prevent the mite spreading and make sure surfaces, pots etc are sterile.
No.8 - Capsid Bug - Most capsid bugs do no harm to plants, but they are sap-sucking pests that can damage new shoots and flower buds. There is a species that attacks apple trees.
No.9 - Cushion Scale - This sap-sucking insect occurs on evergreen shrubs, especially camellia, holly, rhododendron & trachleospermum. It excretes honeydew and infested plants develop a thick black coating of sooty mould on their foliage. Use SB Invigorator natural spray 1st & then treat with Scale Nematodes.
No. 10 - Ants - Ants nests in lawns and borders can be a real problem. Tackle them by watering Nemasys® No Ants containing natural nematodes (steinernema feltiae) directly into the nests. Nemasys® No Ants controls ants of all colours (including red ones) in lawns and borders and should be applied when the ants are present and the soil temperature is above 10C i.e anytime between April and October.