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Common insects that may be disturbing your garden.

What’s eating you?

What’s worse than finding a fat worm inside your fruit? Well the answer would be half a worm… This will put many people off from picking fruit in their own garden especially after waiting so long for the fruit to ripen.

It may be discouraging, but unfortunately insects will always be there. Some of them are good and are needed within our garden, whilst others can be very harmful to your trees and fruit.

Have you noticed all the leaves, full of holes, eaten by insects at night? And when you look at the plant during the day you cannot find any visible pest.

It may seem that they keep beating you to the punch and then as quick as they arrive, they disappear.

Did you know that a single insect can produce 100 000 descendants in just a few weeks? As much as you think they may have disappeared, their descendants may just take time to grow.

Take the time in your garden and look at the signs from the trees. You may not be able to kill all the pests quickly but you can certainly prevent them from destroying your plants.

The following pests are common in most gardens.

Aphids

They come in many different colours ranging from green, black, red, orange or even white. Although they show no visible damage at first, they do suck the juices out of the plants which greatly weakens them. The residue left behind from the aphids, in turn attract ants which is just another indication that you have an infestation of aphids.

The best way to remove them is to spray them off with a forceful stream of water. In order to keep them away, you need to spray your trees regularly with neem oil or a pesticide spray.

Because neem oil is natural it is best to spray regularly after the rains. This will prevent the aphids from returning for more feasting, allowing your plants to grow as they are meant to.

Borers

These are small larvae from certain insects like beetles and moths, that burrow into the tree trunk, often just above ground level.

Most fruit trees are targeted by borers, which is evident with some sign of sawdust together with a weakened condition of the tree. A single borer can weaken a tree enough to break off at ground level.

Borers are attracted to weakened trees, so keeping your plants healthy is the first step in controlling them.

The most efficient way of dealing with borer are to insert a wire into the holes they have created and brutally destroy them. Spraying the tree trunk regularly with Neem Oil will assist in controlling these borers.

Ants and Termites

Ants and termites can get into any space and once they are there, they just seem to multiply. In many cases ants are only attracted by the residue of certain insects and not by the plant itself.

Ants are not the culprits destroying your plants, they indicate that there are other pests around.

If the ants are just too much, then remember that they do not like citrus, so using lemon as a repellent is a great natural remedy.

Harvester termites can cause serious damage as they feed on dead and living plants like grasses, twigs and leaves. When you notice these termites kill them instantly to prevent them from spreading to other areas.

Snails

Slugs and snails are those slimy pests that really make you quiver. They especially like strawberries but have evolved to eat just about everything. Because of this they are very dangerous to plants.

DID YOU KNOW? 

The common garden snail has over 14000 microscopic teeth, yet they are not used to chew. The teeth slice off the food and then shred it as it passes through the tongue.

Even more remarkable is that when the teeth are worn they fall out and a new set grows back again.

Snails are nocturnal and enjoy damp climates. A common way to control snails is by placing a saucer with beer in the garden. Snails won’t crawl over copper thus using copper strips will deter them.

Table salt, coffee grounds and even a weak ammonia spray are other remedies to eradicate snails from your garden.

Beetles

Not all beetles are harmful to your garden, especially ladybug beetles, but one particular beetle that appear this time of the year is the Christmas beetle.

A sure sign of beetles in your garden is the lacing of leaves on roses, raspberry plants etc. They feed on most plants and are a serious threat to your garden.

An organic method to deter beetles is to place a lamp near your garden with a bucket of oily water underneath the lamp. The switched on lamp will attract the beetles towards the light and they will then fall into the water below the lamp.

Because they start off as larvae and hide in the compost and soil, spraying your plants regularly with a a bicarb solution or pesticide  will prevent them from growing and destroying plants.

Spider mites

Spider mites are actually not an insect but classed as a type of arachnid. The first sign of spider mite damage appears as small lightly coloured dots along the leaves.

You may not see the spider mites with the naked eye but may see little spots moving around on the leaves.

As the spider mite population grows and continues to feed on the plant, the leaves in turn, turn yellow or red and fall to the ground.

Use a strong spray of water to remove the spider mites from the plants, especially under the leaves. A good quality Neem Oil is again a great organic pesticide to help control these pests.

How does Neem oil work?

When we suggest a pesticide we opt for an organic product such as Neem oil, which is natural and not harmful to the rest of the environment. But what does it actually do and how does it get to work?

The ingredient found in neem oil are similar to the hormones found in harmful insects, they just cannot tell the difference. When the oil enters the insects system, it will stop the hormones from functioning correctly. This causes the bugs to forget many things, from eating, mating and even laying eggs. Because of this, the bugs life cycle is put to an end.

Neem oil only effects sucking and chewing insects. As insects do not enjoy the oil, it prevents them from eating the trees and leaves. So regular spraying with neem oil (early morning or late afternoon) will most certainly keep the harmful insects at bay.

With so many insects around it may seem like a loss to grow fruit in your own garden. Just remember that prevention is better than cure. Invest in a good pesticide like neem oil, and spray your fruit trees regularly especially after some heavy rain. Visit our nursery for some great advice and let us assist you in making a success of your fruit garden.

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