Wildlife in your garden can be magical but there’s nothing nicer than spotting bees pollinating flowers, beautiful birds, bumbling hedgehogs, frogs, and butterflies. But while many of the creatures that come into your garden are beneficial (and we should do all we can to make homes for them in our outside space) there are animals and insects that we should actively try and prevent. These can cause damage to plants, buildings and in some cases even pose a health hazard. So what kind of wildlife should we be attracting into our gardens, and what are the pests that we need to avoid?
Slugs and Snails
These little molluscs can seem harmless enough, but can munch their way through your plants in a surprisingly short amount of time. They’ll do severe damage to greenery, especially to seedlings and your vegetable patch which can be costly and frustrating. To make matters worse, they can also spread lungworm to dogs which can be fatal in some cases. The best way to control the slug and snail population in your garden is by using a combination of methods. Remove any slugs and snails you can see in the general area as well as clear away any potential hiding places such as debris and weedy areas. You can use a combination of traps and barriers, as well as toxic methods such as baits and pellets. However sprinkling down toxic chemicals to kill these pests should be avoided in most cases, they can cause death in pets and are very dangerous if you have young children playing in the garden.
These tiny sap-sucking creatures cause distorted growth, transmission of plant viruses and weaken plants. Almost all plants can be affected (including houseplants) and so if your garden is looking a bit sad aphids could well be the cause. You’re most likely to spot them on the underside of young leaves, on flower buds and shoot tips. Treating aphid infestations with chemicals can be effective. However you can only do this on plants that are established enough to be sprayed. By doing so, you also risk killing friendly pollinating wildlife too. A great non-toxic method is actually just squash them by hand or spray them off plants using a hose. Introducing more natural aphid enemies such as ladybirds into the garden means you can control them biologically too.