Ants of various species, especially the Black Ant, are responsible for many types of damage in the garden. In borders and rock gardens, their underground nests loosen the soil round the roots of plants, causing them to wilt and die. On lawns, the small piles of loose soil round the entrances to their nests are unsightly and may impede mowing. Ants may also swarm over plants infested with aphids and feed on the honeydew excreted by these pests, but they rarely damage the plants directly, although they may sometimes injure the blossoms when hunting for nectar. They also feed on ripe fruit, particularly when it has already been damaged by earwigs or wasps.

Soak the nest thoroughly by pouring aldrin into the entrances, or apply aldrin dust to the entrances and runs.


These are the larvae of the Cockchafer and related beetles. The largest of them grow to 1^ in. long, and all species have whitish, C-shaped bodies with brown heads. They feed on the underground parts of many plants including shrubs and trees.


Dress infested land with aldrin dust or, if no root vegetables are to be grown for 18 months, with lindane, forking the dust thoroughly into the top 4 in. of soil. If the pests are attacking the roots of established plants, water the soil well with liquid aldrin or lindane, but lift the plants as soon as possible and replant them, after the grubs have been removed, in soil previously treated with insecticide.


Cutworms are fat, brown or greenish caterpillars which feed on the surface of the soil at night, gnawing the stems and leaves of plants at ground level, and hiding just under the surface or among long vegetation during the day. If the stems are damaged, the plants wilt and collapse. Cutworms attack many types of vegetables as well as ornamental plants, such as marigolds, chrysanthemums and rock plants. They also damage roots and gnaw into potato tubers and root vegetables.


Dust the ground under attacked plants with D.D.T. or aldrin.


The larvae of the harmless Cranefly or Daddy-long-legs are the notorious and destructive leatherjackets. These legless, grey-brown or grey-black grubs grow up to U in. long and have tough, wrinkled skins. They feed underground on many types of plant roots as well as bulbs and tubers, and are also common pests on lawns, where they cause patches of grass to die. These pests are inevitably more troublesome after a wet autumn as they must have moist conditions to survive. They are seldom serious pests in dry, sandy areas.


In mild weather during late autumn or spring, when the grubs are near the sur-face, spray infested soil with D.D.T. Or dress with aldrin or D.D.T. Dust. Lawns should be thoroughly watered with a dilute D.D.T. Solution.


Snake Millipedes are often mistaken for wireworms because they also have shiny, cylindrical bodies, but they can be distinguished by their numerous short, bristle-like legs, and by their peculiar habit of coiling up like a watch-spring when disturbed. They grow to about 1 in. in length, and vary in colour from cream to black. Less common are the Flat Millipedes which have flatter bodies than the Snake Millipedes.

These pests feed on the roots of many plants, will destroy the sown seeds of peas and beans, and may also extend the damage caused by slugs and wireworms.


Dress the soil with aldrin or lindane dust. To protect pea and bean seed, dust the drill with aldrin before covering.


Slugs and sometimes snails can be very destructive creatures in the garden. They attack many types of plant, particularly the low-growing ones whose foliage touches the soil, by eating holes out of the stems, leaves and petals. The damage is often confused with that done by caterpillars and other insects, but slugs and snails usually leave trails of slime on the plant. These pests are abundant in wet, cool conditions, especially on soils containing plenty of humus. They feed at night, and during the day hide under vegetation or under the soil surface.

Strawberries are the only fruits which are likely to be seriously damaged by slugs, although raspberries and gooseberries may sometimes suffer. The pests cat large cavities out of the flesh of the fruits, and the young foliage is also attacked. In the vegetable garden they often eat holes in lettuce, spinach and cabbage. Celery is also a favourite food and the stalks are often badly damaged after earthing up. The small blackish Keeled Slugs are particularly trouble-some, as they usually live underground and feed on roots and tunnel into potatoes, carrots and turnips.


To make poison bait, mix l oz. Powdered metaldehyde with 3 lb. Bran or (for Keeled Slugs) bone meal. Spread the bait thinly on the ground or place it in small heaps, and protect it from rain by raised tiles or by placing it in a small flower-pot laid on its side. Proprietary slug baits can be bought ready-made and there are also metaldehyde sprays which can be applied to the plants.


Swift Moth caterpillars are large, whitish creatures with brown heads, which wriggle quickly backward when disturbed. They live in the soil feeding on roots and tunnelling into bulbs, tubers and corms.


Dress the soil with aldrin dust and work it into the top few inches. Established plants should be watered copiously with liquid aldrin.


Wireworms, the cylindrical, golden-yellow larvae of Click Beetles, grow up to l in. long and, unlike the millipedes with which they are often confused, have only three pairs of legs at the front of the body. They are present in the soil of most gardens, but not always in sufficient numbers to be troublesome. They feed on the roots of a wide range of plants and tunnel into potatoes and other tubers. They may attack bulbs and corms.


If the damage is serious, dress the soil with aldrin dust and fork it into the top 4 in.

Lindane dust may also be used on ground where no root vegetables are to be grown within 18 months.


Woodlice are the grey or brownish creatures with oval, armour-plated bodies which are found in the dark, damp places of every garden, hiding under stones, under loose bark and in tangled vegetation. They cause serious damage only in sheltered, humid conditions, such as frames and greenhouses, or if they are present in large numbers. At night they feed on the roots, stems and leaves of most plants.


Eliminate the dark, damp hiding places frequented by the pests during the day or, if this is impossible, dust or spray the hiding places and infested areas with D.D.T. Or B.H.C.

25. September 2013 by admin
Categories: Gardening History, Plant Biology, Top Tips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on GENERAL GARDEN PESTS


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