UK’s very own Royal Horticultural Society has finally cast its vote on what the most unpleasant guests are to have in your garden. These statistics are based on a number of distress calls made to the Society by upset British gardeners, who’ve by now convinced themselves they can even hear ‘their children’ screaming under the attack of vicious pests.
So here they are, the miniature destroyers of worlds. Crusaders against vanity who have made it their mission that your flowers will NOT look pretty!
10. Lily beetle
In only three decades, this pest has spread across all across the country. It won’t get an award for a hard-working beetle traveller, though – instead, it comes in number 10 as an enemy of the Crown. Fear the lily beetle and its, as said by the RHS, sausage-shaped eggs. They will damage your plants’ appearance and make them struggle to flowers in the year to come!
Tip: Inspect your flowers regularly from March to October, removing any beetles, larvae and eggs you come across.
9. Fuchsia gall mite
The Fuchsia gall mite is microscopic, but is a true crusader against vanity for it takes only the prettiest flower and turns it into a deformed atrocity.
It attacks only Fuchsia plants and you wouldn’t have to deal with this pest if you would only stop growing them. How could you, though, when it’s so beautiful.
Tip: Find a species of Fuchsia that is not as susceptible to the mite infestations, such as Baby Chang, Cinnabarina, Miniature Jewels, and others. Once settled in, though, these pests are very very hard to get rid of.
8. Cypress aphid
The cypress aphid thrives on breaking the rules of nature. It turns evergreens brown, feeding on the stems and leaves of conifers.
Tip: Spraying your conifers with a suitable thiacloprid-containing product early in the summer can stop infestation occurring.
7. Woolly aphid
Just like the cypruss aphid, this pest feeds on sap, only it really hits where it hurts – it specifically attacks fruit trees.
They might be interesting to see the first time because their fascinating ‘furry’ tails make it look like the tree is covered in cotton. Well, it’s actually covered in sap-eating pests that make lumps on the tree and gives way to fungal diseases.
Tip: Where you see a light infestation in spring and early summer, you can use a stiff-bristled brush to remove it. In case of heavy infestations, consider deltamethrin, thiacloprid or other pesticides.
6. Soft scale
These pests’ strategy is to look as harmless as possible – but don’t be fooled. Just because they barely even look alive doesn’t mean they can’t turn your garden upside down. Their power is that they attack a wide range of plants, causing them to grow poorly or stop growing altogether.
Tip: A species of parasitic wasps, Metaphycus helvolus, can be used as a form of biological control.
5. Glasshouse mealybugs
Their name sounds rather quaint, and even their pest by-product has a charming ring to it – honeydew. Well, they definitely didn’t fool British gardeners – over 30 of them called the RHS last year to complain about these pests, causing black mould to appear on house and greenhouse plants. They are our number 5 invaders for a reason!
Tip: Inspect a plant for mealybugs before bringing it into your house or greenhouse, remove dead leaves and prunings regularly.
It’s odd ants made it all the way to number 4, with over 40 calls made to the RHS regarding these social critters. Why it’s odd? Ants are not even garden pests! They cause almost no damage to plants, and they are a garden nuisance at worst. Nonetheless, ants are known for protecting aphids for their honeydew, which may result in an increased aphid population.
Tip: Ants pose no threat in your garden, but you should keep guard if they start coming indoors and consider proofing your house against these insects with ant control.
THE FINAL THREE
We’ve finally come down to the real outlaws, the ones every gardener in the UK is on the look for.
3. Vine weevil
One of the most common and devastating garden pest, active all year round and attacking virtually all plants grown in containers, and then some. The vine weevil is a known plant killer and gardeners find it very difficult to make it pay for its crimes. A true menace!
Tip: Start looking for the pest in early spring, removing or trapping the adults. Introduce natural enemies like certain nematodes and consider pesticides.
2. Cushion scale
Another type of scale, cushion scale is often found on evergreen plants and shrubs such as camellias. If you have a cushion scale problem, you will see a sooty fungus forming on the leaves.
Tip: Spray your plants in late June-July when they are most vulnerable to a cushion scale infestation
With a wet summer and conditions to thrive in, the snails in the UK caused a record of 100+ calls to the RHS regarding people’s devastated gardens.
From spring to autumn, they eat vegetables, flowers, invading gardens and greenhouses – a true terror moving in 0.013 m/s. Worst yet, the Royal Horticultural Society themselves say slugs cannot be eradicated completely. What an infuriating enemy to have – it moves so slow and you still can’t beat it.
Tip: Place barriers, traps, hand-pick the slugs in the evenings and consider chemical pest control.
Images by: 1. Percita (Changes were made), 2. Richard Fischer, 3. Swallowtail Garden Seeds, 4. James Denny Ward, 5. Tom Woodward, 6. Scot Nelson, 7. Cory Campoora, 8. Steve Shattuck, 9. Danny Chapman, 10. Graham Wise, 11. Martic Cooper
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