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Grenfly particularly bad this year?

Does anyone think that greenfly and other bugs have been more abundant this year? In particular, greenfly have been very abundant in my garden this year and my aquilegias were infested very badly, something I've not seen on these plants previously.

Initially I sprayed them but once they were in flower I wasn't able to because of the bees feeding on them. So I had to laboriously deal with them by hand.

My guess is that the mild wet winter was good for insects generally, including pests. On the other hand I've had much less problem with red lily beetles and blackfly than in previous years. What have other people experienced?


  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 34,051

    I've not seen a single  greenfly here in the garden in Devon. 

    Blast them with the hose on high pressure. As Jones would say " they don't like it up 'em"

  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Posts: 8,024

    Interesting, Soulboy.  I think the recent warmth has caused an explosion in insect numbers.  I never spray against aphids (or anything else, come to that), but rely on the blue tits to collect them for their young.  Very rarely I'll need to rub them off some plant which is suffering, but usually I just leave the birds to get on with the job.

    I've had many fewer slugs this spring though, presumably because it's been dry for so long here.

    Since 2019 I've lived in east Clare, in the west of Ireland.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,070

    Much the same as Liri. Although we had milder (for us) weather in December, once we were into the new year it was normal service resumed. Then very cold but very dry from March onwards so the slugs were in much smaller numbers than usual. It only started warming up recently - during May. Blue tits have had any greenfly. I don't grow many susceptible plants, so that probably helps. 

    It depends whereabouts in the country you are. image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • soulboysoulboy Posts: 429

    I'm in Sheffield where the weather has been so mild that some plants such as some of my calendula flowered all through the winter. The spring was colder but very wet and we've not had temperatures colder than just below zero.

    The problems I've had have been in the front garden, which is next to a road and the birds don't feed there. In the back garden, which is surrounded by other gardens and where there are many trees the birds, including many blue and great tits congregate and there has been much less of a problem. And, of course, with the damp conditions I have my constant battle with slugs and snails.

    Unfortunately I don't have a hose at the moment but it is a method I've used in the past, particularly with blackfly. It's very interesting to know that it's been different in other parts of the country. I do find it odd though that the aquilegias, which have been left alone in the past have had loads of greenfly on them this year. I always have them on my roses, philadelphus et al.

  • Ladybird4Ladybird4 Posts: 36,182

    If you encourage birds into your garden they will feed on the greenfly but spraying is not good for birdlife.

    Cacoethes: An irresistible urge to do something inadvisable
  • Ladybird4Ladybird4 Posts: 36,182

    p.s. nor pollinator life either. Gardeners are between a rock and a hard place.

    Cacoethes: An irresistible urge to do something inadvisable
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,070

    Over feeding plants also causes lush, weaker growth which is gourmet dining for greenfly. Growing plants a bit harder makes them better equipped to deal with pests and diseases of any kind. 

    Getting the balance right is the tricky bit! image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • soulboysoulboy Posts: 429

    As a matter of interest, I only use bug killing sprays when plants are not in flower and before the pollinating and beneficial insects such as ladybirds and hoverflies arrive in the garden. Otherwise I do it by hand or with water sprays when i have the equipment.

    But as has been said it's a difficult balance and inevitably I will have killed some 'good' insects, particularly those that may just be coming out of hibernation. I think though that my methods and the fact that there are astounding numbers of insects means that the eco damage is minimal.

    Having said that I'm currently researching more organic methods of pest control using things like garlic, sodium bicarbonate and mild soap, not necessarily all together.

    I've also learnt that there are other organic methods of controlling certain pests. For example, I usually plant climbing nasturtium in the garden somewhere and that attracts the blackfly away from other plants. So many blackfly accumulate on them that you can't see the stems. But it's then relatively easy to wipe and spray them off.

  • graham10graham10 Posts: 86

    I use the old fairy liqiuid and water to  spray on roses i hope this is okfor the bees

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