While some insects are beneficial, others are an ever-present pest in the vegetable garden, but there’s no reason they should get the better of you, or your crops.
How to Beat Bugs in Your Garden
Beneficial insects, birds and amphibians can do a lot of the pest control work for you but sometimes you’ll still need to protect crops with barriers or other methods to foil those pesky pests.
In this short video, we explain how to enlist natural allies, plan defensive barriers and work strategically to prevent pests eating your hard-won harvests.
A healthy plant is less likely to fall victim to pests, so make sure your crops are as healthy as possible by following good growing practices.
Encourage Natural Allies Insect predators such as ladybugs, birds and toads can destroy pests before they become a problem. Plant flowers such as calendula and fennel to attract predatory insects into your garden. Make sure to grow a range of flowers so there is something blooming in every season. A handy selection of suitable flowers can be found in our Garden Planner.
Other ways to attract insects:
- Install bought or home-made insect hotels
- Leaves some areas of grass to grow a little longer
- Leave dead wood in corners of the garden as breeding areas for predatory beetles
- One or two clumps of nettles will also draw in beneficial bugs. Install a pond to provide a breeding place for frogs and toads, which will eat slugs and many insects. If you only have space for a small pond, try sinking a watertight container into the ground.
Water is also vital for birds, including insect-eaters. Include trees, shrubs and hedges to your garden to provide nesting sites and food for birds.
Install Barriers Physical barriers such as netting or insect mesh will keep flying pests such as aphids away from your crops. Set them into position before an attack is likely.
Group together crops that require the same type of protection. For example, crops in the cabbage family, such as broccoli and kale, may be grown next to each other in the same bed and easily covered with a single piece of netting to exclude cabbage white butterflies from laying their eggs on the leaves.
You can add barriers such as row covers to a garden plan. Start by selecting Garden Objects in the Garden Planner selection bar, then scroll through to select what you need.
To know when to install barriers, you need to know which pests are heading your way. That’s where the Big Bug Hunt helps as an early-warning system. Please report any pests or beneficial insects in your garden to us at http://BigBugHunt.com