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Garden Pest Removal and Bugs That Are Good For the Garden

Wednesday, 30 April 2008

The sun is back and it's time to get the gardens pest free!

Today our resident gardener Eugene Higgins will be showing us the ways to get rid of common garden pests and will also be speaking about bugs that are beneficial to the garden!

Eugene Higgins - Bug Buster!
I was born into Horticulture in a plant nursery/garden centre in north Co Dublin started in 1940 by my grandfather, so my excuse is, "that its in my blood".
On leaving school I worked in various Dublin radio stations and spent my spare time working in the family run garden centre, this soon reversed after spending an intervening number of years in Australia.
Over the last 12 years I have been combining Horticulture and media work.besides working on the Afternoon Show since season 1 my media contributions have also included:

. BBC   Room For Improvement (Season 1)
. FM 104  Claire McKeon Show
. Lite Fm Dublin Saturday magazine

In 1999 I returned to retailing opening Colour Green Garden Centre in Malahide Dublin, which won "Best Specialist Garden Centre 2002-Ireland".
In 2004 we subsequently moved the business to Tullamore, Co Offaly, where we have a lot more space around us and have concentrated on developing our Colour Green Landscaping Services. Our highlight to date was, being commissioned last year by the Afternoon Show to restore a nursing home's spectacular Japanese garden that had run into serious disrepair (Carrigoran Nursing Home, Co Clare).

I am currently working on an exhibit suburban style landscaped garden in Dublin with a working title of "The Garden Gallery" based at Blackbanks' Garden Centre, Raheny, Dublin which should be completed by late Spring 2008.

Most Common Garden Pests

Vine Weevil
These grubs eat their way through leaves and stems leaving gaping holes in what they have eaten. Plans may appear to be wilted and a yellow colour if the vine weevil has taken hold.

Tips On Getting Rid of Vine Weevil
. Vine Weevils lay their eggs into the soil and the young grubs eat into the roots. A great way to deter them from laying their eggs in the soil is to place grit on the soil.
. The adult vine weevils feed at night so go out at nighttime and take them from the soil by torch light.
. Get a natural predator such as the one displayed on today's show, they are very effective in getting rid of vine weevil.


Aphids - Greenfly and Blackfly
The first sign that an aphid is present in your plant may be stickiness along the stem of the plant. This is due to the fact that aphids pierce the plant and suck the sap. 

Tips on getting rid of Aphids
. Try and use washing up liquid / soap. If you cover the affected area in washing up liquid blocks the aphids breathing pores and kills them.
. Hose the plant with a strong stream of water (be careful as not to damage the plant) This will knock the aphids off the plant>
. Try and run your thumb and forefinger along the stem of the plant. This will brush the Aphids off and they will not climb back onto the plant.
. Encourage natural predators of Aphids include ladybirds and lacewings bu leaving plants that they like


Slugs can eat their way and destroy a whole plant over night. The best place to find them throughout the day is in dark, damp places.

Tips On Getting Rid of Slugs
. Sink a container of beer into the soil. Slugs are attracted to beer and when they drop into the container they drown.
. One common misconception is that salt will deter slugs. Salt is very bad for plants and may even kill them if placed around plants.
. Slugs come out at night so go out at nighttime and take them from the soil by torch light. They can then be placed into a park.


Plants To Encourage Natural Predators Into The Garden
. Nettles - Home to ladybirds who love eating Aphids (greenfly and blackfly)
. Fennel, dill and angelica - These encourage hoverflies into the garden.
. Geraniums - These encourage lacewings who in turn eat Aphids (greenfly and blackfly)
. Marigolds - Greenfly hate the smell of marigolds so they are an excellent deterant for them.


Eugenes Advice On The Dangers Of Some Pesticides
. When you spray pesticide you not only kill the bad guys but you also kill the good guys so instead of blasting around with chemicals wait for nature to do the job and establish a balance of nature in your garden.