Garden Pest control is the practice of managing pests that damage or otherwise inhibit the growth of fruit, vegetables, and other plants in the garden. This is important to produce higher quality and higher yielding crops. The best gardens are teeming with life, and maintaining the right balance of beneficial pests and wildlife while reducing or eliminating the populations of damage causing insects and pests is what pest control is all about. There are a few methods to consider and usually a good mix is the key to success.
There are several different methods for controlling pests in the garden
Biological (using living organisms to control pests),
Barriers (Creating a barrier between plants and potential pests),
Psychology (deterring pests using psychological means).
Non-Toxic Pest Control
We prefer the non toxic approach when it comes to pest control and stock only safe, non-toxic pest control products that actually work. A lot of leading garden pest control products can have adverse affects on various components of the garden's eco-system, they can poison and kill pets and other forms of wildlife such as frogs, birds and hedgehogs. Maintaining the correct wildlife population is beneficial in any garden, alot of these animals feed on slugs and other pests for you. Not only can they be harmed by toxic pest control products, they can also become poisoned from eating a slug or snail that has been exposed to them. All of the products we stock are completely harmless to people, pets, and other forms of wildlife.
Pesticides Pesticide Based measures are used to attract and/or destroy garden pests. There are three main methods in common practice; Herbicides are used to kill unwanted plants and weeds, Insecticides are used to kill insects, and Fungicides are used to kill fungi, some of which can cause serious damage to agriculture. Traps are one of the oldest forms of animal and pest control and are also the most grisly, we don't use or supply traps for wildlife or rodents as we prefer deterring them. We do have a selection of traps for slugs and snails, certain moths, wasps, and fruit tree destroying beetles. Some traps don't have to kill the pest in question, only hold them until you can remove them to an area far removed from your crops.
Pest Control Covers & Barriers A good crop cover offers the ultimate plant protection from insects, animals, and weather. There are a range of materials available including; poly covers for pest and weather protection, micro mesh garden netting for insect protection, bird netting for bird and butterfly control, and fleece covers for cold and pest protection. Other barriers include electronic pest deterrents, mini polytunnels, cloches, cabbage collars that protect cabbages and other brassicas from the root fly, and copper slug and snail barriers. Garlic barrier products are a natural pest control solution, they not only repel aphids, slugs and snails but also act as a tonic for the plant.
Electronic Pest Control Electronic pest control are barrier devices that deter pests such as; cats, dogs, foxes, martens and rabbits from your lawn or garden. They are generally multi-frequency deterrents that are completely harmless to all species and are inaudible to the human ear. They are a quick and easy way to protect your lawn or garden from unwanted pests and can be used to protect fish ponds, birds, flower beds, pets and livestock also. The devices we stock include: Foxwatch, Catwatch, Pest free, Cat free, and Pest controller. They all have large detection ranges, protect a wide area and are designed to work all year round in all weather conditions. These work like miniature motion sensors, only emitting an ultrasonic alarm when triggered. They can be placed at ground level or on the base of a fence, wall, or tree and should be moved around the garden randomly so pests don't get used to the alarm.
Biological Pest Control Biological pest control is the controlling of pests using other living organisms. A garden pest can be controlled using their natural enemies or predators. Just like cats can be used to control a rodent problem, and ladybirds can be used very effectively to control aphids, many other insects, animals, and birds can be used to combat pests. Frogs can be used to destroy flying pests, and ducks go mad for slugs and snails. Nematodes are especially beneficial in the fruit and vegetable garden as they can control all manner of pests. Nematodes are microscopic organisms found in healthy soil, they aggressively attack a wide range of only insect pests and are harmless to wildlife, earthworms, bees, bumblebees, pets and children.
Psychological Pest Control These methods of pest control include anything that deters pests, animals or birds using psychological methods. The most common example of this is the good old fashioned scarecrow, there are a wide variety of more modern bird scarers available on this site. Animal and pest psychology is a humane method and a solid deterrent.
Companion Plants Use nature's own pest control and eliminate the need for pesticides or herbicides. Companion planting is a really fascinating organic pest control measure, it is all about growing plants together that benefit and help each other grow. Various plants have natural pest repelling properties and some can also help with pollination. A lot of plants have natural pest deterring properties for specific pests, for example; grow marigolds to deter aphids, sage to repel slugs, nasturtiums are a magnet for aphids and caterpillars and will draw them away from cabbages and other vegetables. There are many more plants with similar properties.
Common Garden Pests
Birds & Butterflies Shortly after sowing seeds, birds and butterflies can become a problem. Making it difficult for birds to access your vegetable garden will stop them from destroying it, some mesh netting placed across freshly planted seeds or seedlings will keep them away and give your garden a chance. Bird netting will also prevent butterflies from laying their eggs on your crops, these eggs turn into caterpillars which will decimate cabbage plants etc. The netting can be laid directly on the area that has been planted but it should be placed on supports to raise it off the plants once they start growing. There are many bird scare methods including the trusty scarecrow that each have varying levels of effectiveness. Bird scare line can be strung around crops, the line hums slightly with the wind and emits a slight vibration that deters birds, video and audio tape can be used for this also. Hanging various small reflective items like old cds or bits of foil on a line also works but the birds can become used to them if their positioning is not changed periodically. We recommend using the birds away kit as it's a bit more sightly than hanging cds around the vegetable garden.
Slugs & Snails Slugs and snails are a pest that have a presence in every garden and cause more damage to vegetable crops than most other pests. Controlling this menace is an on-going battle for all gardeners, and it seems that it is impossible to be free of them. What makes them so formidable is that they are hermaphroditic and lay their eggs only a few days after reproduction. They lay an average of about thirty eggs and these can lay dormant in the soil for years. Slugs and snails can destroy foliage faster than the plants can grow. It can be quite a messy business getting rid of them but there are many effective methods and products to consider.
Aphids Aphids, also called plant lice, greenfly, whitefly, and blackfly among other names, are among the most destructive insect pests to garden plants in our region of the world, they are tiny insects that cause havoc in the vegetable garden. They are sap eating insects that will feed on just about any plant in the garden, and as a bonus their saliva is toxic to plants and the often transmit diseases too. Plants affected by aphids will display a lack of vigour, yellowing foliage, leaf curl, stunted growth, and very low yields. Maintaining a good population of ladybirds in the garden is a good natural pest control solution to this menace. Ladybirds are a natural predator and feed on many different species of insect pest, including aphids but leave plants alone. We stock a range of safe to use aphid prevention and control products.
Many pests will remain in the garden causing minimal damage to crops, gardeners often accept this and even refer to it as "nature's tax". It is up to the gardener to determine how much damage they can tolerate. By understanding the pests in the garden the vegetable grower can identify potential problems and intervene early enough to prevent further damage. Regular inspections will help eradicate the unwanted pests on most plants and establish a healthy growing environment.