“When we kill off the natural enemies of a pest, we inherit their work.” – C.B Huffaker.
Many plants rely on insects for pollination and friendly bugs often need the pests for food. Along with healthy soil, insect diversity is your garden’s first line of defence.
How dynamic is your patch? What wonderful spineless critters care for your garden? At the Pest Fest the Open Lab popped up with gardening guru Sarah Melvile at the ready to help us invertebrate enthusiasts share the signs of a healthy garden! We sifted though leaf litter and found lots of great recyclers such as woodlice and earthworms. Spiders were plucked up and added to our spider spacer and wiggly worms to our wormery (made by us, design inspired by Nick Baker from his book Bug Zoo).
Pollinators are another beneficial insect to have in the garden. Overseas research into spiders as pollinators is gaining momentum while we admire the hoverfly and it’s contributions. They are relentless predators, I’d have them at my place over filth flies (such as the common house fly) any day!
Hoverflies might look like bees but they have no sting and only one set of wings. They’re flies with a wonderful purpose and helicopter dance.
There’s no need to fear these ladies either, parasitic wasps, don’t sting but seek and destroy many pests. The spike on the back is not a sting, it is an ovipositor (for laying eggs).
Can you spot a good bug? What if that bug is at the larvae stage?
A gardeners favourite to gobble up the aphids is the ladybird. Its larval form looks nothing like itself! And the lacewing does impressive work in the garden too, check out it’s larval state.
So let your garden come to life and think before you spray, because everything in it’s path will get wiped out, not just the pests.