What to do about summer garden pests


DIY and how-to

Caterpillar with black and yellow stripes crawling on a green leaf.

Hello, summer, and hello… bountiful bugs! When plants are stressed by high temperatures, they are far more susceptible to attacks by garden pests. Here are a few common summer garden gremlins to look out for – and how to protect your precious plants from getting nibbled.

Red spider mites 

These little critters breed at a rapid rate during hot, dry weather. You’ll typically find them on the underside of the leaves of roses, vegetables, shrubs and annuals. They suck the sap from the foliage of these plants, leading to a silver or grey colour on the leaves. The bad news? Once a plant is infected with these bugs, it will quickly deteriorate.

If you suspect that a plant is infected with red spider mites, carefully pick one of the leaves and then shake it vigorously over a sheet of white paper. If many specks of “dust” fall off the leaf and then move around on the paper, you probably have a case of red spider mite. You can spray the undersides of leaves with a fine stream of water to get the mites off, but it’s more effective to use an appropriate insecticide. 

Hawkmoth caterpillars 

These wrigglers can cause havoc at this time of year, feeding greedily on bedding plants like impatiens. They feed at night, so arm yourself with a torch and look out for them when darkness falls – you can simply pick them off your plants.

Lily borer 

These pests love to feed on clivias, amaryllis and agapanthus, and are particularly destructive, eating their way right into the crown of the plant and eventually causing it to die. Regular application of Margaret Roberts Biological Caterpillar Insecticide should save your plants and keep them healthy.

Ready to get to grips with your garden critters? Get comfortable and read more bug-busting guides below:

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