Greenfly and blackfly

Meandering around the garden at the weekend I was delighted to notice clusters of buds appearing all over the rose bushes. A closer look revealed however, that they were in need of a little bit of TLC. Some forming flowers were full of greenfly.

In the shed is some bug spray that I try only to use when all else fails. Simple reason: I think it may kill the ‘good’ bugs along with the ‘bad’, and generally mess up the eco system in the garden. With the onset of greenfly, the ladybirds should be inviting all their friends and family along to rose bush picnics. But I haven’t actually noticed any around this year… are they late, or is there a shortage?

The greenfly population hadn’t actually taken up full occupancy, so I simply squashed the few there were with my fingers. I’ll make regular checks in case any come back.

Whilst on the subject of garden bugs, I’ve also noticed black ants running up and down the runner beans. Apparently the ants take up residence just before any blackfly appear. The ants will ‘farm’ the blackfly and feed on the sugary stuff they secrete. So if I can get rid of the ants, I should in theory, lessen the risk of attack from the Black Army.

Looking on the internet, it seems that I can make my own non-pesticide spray, either from soapy water or by adding garlic, crushed cloves or rhubarb leaves to water. In a bid to deter the bugs and ants before the plants are inundated with them, I’m trying out the crushed cloves method. I simply whizzed a good handful of cloves in the food blender to chop them up a bit, and added them to a spray container with water in it. This I left for a good couple of days to stew, strained to get the bits out, and gave both the roses and broad beans a generous squirt at the weekend.  I’ll keep you informed.

Turning to the chickens, the recent onslaught of heavy showers has taken its toll on their run. Part of the coop is covered, but the rain has got in through the open bits, resulting in squelchy areas of mud – and wet feet do not make for happy chooks. As I surveyed the damage, the girls greeted me forlornly at the wire, wearing scornful expressions that could have said,

“Oi! Sort it. We’re not ducks, you know!”

When we get a free weekend, it’s now on the list to re-roof the entire run, but for now the first priority was to dry out the floor. In went a generous covering of wood shavings which seems to have done the trick, as the girls are now happily scratching around in their new, dry ground cover. Happy clucking sounds have now replaced the strangled “Bwaaark” noises of earlier.

This one appeared in The Hinckley Times on 27 June 2013

Hinckley Times article about greenfly, blackfly, chickens and black ants

The Hinckley Times 27 June 2013


3 thoughts on “Greenfly and blackfly

  1. Meandering around the garden!!! I thought you were off meandering around the West Indies. :o) Still, you’re back in time for the Cricket. Anyway, we have had record rainfalls here. The highest rain we have ever had here in the arid lands, is 74 mm back in 1901. We cracked that by a a fair bit and recorded some 115 mm for the month. So we’ve had it a wee bit wet too. Never knew I had so many weeds – everywhere…

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