Garden Bugs talk by Dr Ian Bedford

Cohabit, Conserve or Control

Right from a child Dr Bedford had an interest in insects particularly butterflies and moths, which he used to catch and allow them to lay eggs and then release them back to the wild. He was employed by the John Innes Centre an an Entymologist, now retired. He was very involved in finding solutions to severe insect damage to crops such as Cassava, and Tomatoes in Spain by sap sucking insect which decimated the plants. Very heavy doses of pesticides were used so much that the crop was unsaleable.  He advised them to use a combined approach such as soft soap which break down the waxy coat, netting and removal of weeds which act as a breeding ground for these insects. (Weeds+aphids >damaged crop)

On to slugs of which only a few will damage the plants others feeding on plant debris. He advised damp carpet or cardboard or pots with crocks, overnight the slugs will retreat underneath where they can be picked up and disposed of in the morning. Sawflies are warded off by pheromones, The hated Lily beetle by spraying with an organic substance called Graziers, G4. Sap sucking insects once again soft soap and SB Invigorator.

Insects such as cockchafers, cut worms, dig around the stem of the plant so the birds can reach them. vine weevils a product named Zee No Weevils, also works on Sciarid Flies.

Beneficial creatures need to be encouraged as they are the good predators, a thick bark mulch is good for them,plus we also have Blood suckers, spiders,predatory mites, house flies, lady birds. certain internal parasites such as wasps. Control and conserve!

Pyrethrum thought to be a safe insecticide actually kills the good creatures like bees. Aromatic plants and oils help controls pests as does garlic.

Due to Global Trading many pests are now thriving over here, like Oak Processionary Moth and leaf minors also the Spanish Slug, Eventually it has been observed that our own blackbirds and starlings will eat them when they realise that they are food. A word of caution, Spanish slugs contain parasites, so even though they might be dead they need to be soaked in bleach to kill the parasites which can be very harmful to dogs if ingested.

Such an interesting and thought provoking talk by Dr Bedford.

PHOTO BY: Sheila Pettett
Gardening Club in Lowestoft

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