Beneficial Garden Creatures

In the wild, all pests have natural creatures that keep them in check. Encourage these creatures to take up residence in the garden by providing the right sort of habitat and avoiding the use of chemicals that harm them.

Working with nature has a lot of benefits for the busy gardener. By handing over the control of garden pests to their natural predators you will save yourself having to tackle this problem. If you adopt this approach, you will rarely need to use sprays.

Ground beetles
Scurrying big black beetles that are more often seen at night. Both adults and their larvae are useful predators of slugs, caterpillars and aphids.

A group of true flies that look like bees and wasps. Their greeny brown larvae, 12mm long, feed on aphids and can eat up to 100per day.

They eat caterpillars, slugs and beetles at night. If they visit your garden put out tinned dog food rather than milk. A log pile might provide shelter and a place to hibernate.

Rove beetles
This group includes the distinctive looking devil’s coach horse beetle. Both adults and their larvae are active predators of soil grubs, insects and slugs.

A single larva can eat 500 aphids so they are worth encouraging. Two-spot and seven-spot are the most common.

These fast moving creatures eat all types of small insects. But do not confuse them with the slower millipedes which feed on plant roots. Centipedes have one pair of legs per body segment.

They pull organic matter down into the soil which saves you having to dig it in. They open up the physical structure of the soil, making it easier for the plant roots to establish and provide drainage by making tunnels.

Night feeders of nocturnal insects on the wing. You can encourage them by putting up bat boxes where they can roost. They are under threat, mainly due to the poisonous effects of chemical treatment of roof timbers.

Frogs, toads and newts
They prey on slugs, flies and other insects. They need a pond in which to breed and where they will return year after year.

Adults are bright green and have large, see through wings and long antennae. Both adults and their larvae feed on aphids.

Slow worms
These legless lizards up to 30cm long eat the small greyish slugs that feed on the growth of young plants and vegetables.

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