Predators are the “good guys” or natures’ little helpers. In the right conditions, they can really make a difference, especially if you do not kill them by spraying them with pesticides.
Ants. For some reason, ants seem to get a very bad press In some garden centres. There are more metres of shelf space allocated to ant killing sprays and powders, than to killing anything else!! They may build their nests in the shelter of a slab or stone, but they are not likely to cause any real problem in an allotment. Yet it is said that they can help in keeping greenfly under control by harvesting them and dragging them down into their nests, where they milk them for their sugary secretions.
Hoverfly larvae. As they love to eat aphids, you should grow some flowers to encourage hoverflies to your plot.
Ladybirds and their larvae. These are dedicated aphid killing machines and should be encouraged as much as possible. The recent introduction of harlequin ladybirds from East Asia for the commercial control of crop pests in Europe, is now causing problems for the native species such as the two-spot and ten-spot native ladybirds. They are being out-competed for food and even attacked by the harlequins as well. The harlequins are particularly voracious hunters of aphids. There are some 47 ladybird species in the UK.
In the Spring, aphids breed so fast that the predators cannot keep up with them. Eventually, the predators catch up with the numbers of the aphids and bring them under control. In a good year, you may see swarms of ladybirds hunting for food.
Wasps. Yes, even wasps have their uses as they kill caterpillars. The trouble is that they eventually cause much damage by eating fruit.
Toads live on slugs and other creepy crawlies and therefore should be encouraged to take up residence in your garden or allotment by providing a small pond where they can breed in the Spring. They are quite frequently found in a greenhouse hidden under some protection where they may hibernate over the Winter in a small burrow.
Frogs and toads also live on slugs and other creepy crawlies and therefore should be encouraged to take up residence in your garden or allotment by providing a small pond where they can breed in the Spring.
Hedgehogs also live on slugs and other creepy crawlies and should be encouraged to take up residence in your garden or allotment. Places where they can hide and hibernate through the Winter, should be provided.