My garden is a war zone – now the ants are milking the Aphids!

When I finish cutting the lawn I always stroll around the garden with a self satisfied smile on my face as I proprietorialy inspect the plants. And there they were again Sawfly caterpillars, but it gets worse, there was also greenfly and Rust. My garden is the equivalent of North Korea a potential war zone.

9th April: Things I have been doing today.

🌾 Cut the lawn. The grass is now into its growing stride and you need to cut it at least weekly. Keep the blades quite high otherwise you may get scorching. It is also good to feed once a month with a high Nitrogen feed. This not only feeds the grass, but the weeds hate it.

🐛 Check your Plants we are under attack. I am about to set up the equivalent of Neighbourhood Watch only for plants; if anyone would like to join I will develop a coat of arms and a motto; we may even get t-shirts. Anyway, despite my constant patrolling – and wearing my glasses. The Sawfly caterpillars are back despite me picking all of the last lot off by hand and humanely disposing of them!!! Not only that they have brought their smaller but just as unwelcome cousins the Aphids and the farmer ants.

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Return of the sawfly caterpillars- they’re back and they’re bigger

🐜 I not only have greenfly on some of my roses but I have discovered them on my Dame de Noche as well – to misquote Lady Bracknell “to have one set of Aphids is unfortunate, but to have two is carelessness” It was only whilst looking closely at the Dame de Noche stems that I noticed some very small ants and instantly I knew we had a problem. Ants would not normally be found this high up a plant unless they were up to no good. And sure enough there were the Aphids being happily milked by the ants. This is a symbiotic relationship whereby the ants protect the Aphids who in turn, when stroked by the ants antennae release a sticky honeydew like substance. Unfortunately the Aphids paid the wrong gang protection money – their days of being milked are over.

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Ants milking Aphids! What next chicken beetles

🔴 Just to add to the insect war, my roses have developed Rust. If you have roses then you will be familiar with rust. It is a form of mildew that leaves a “rust” like coating over leaves, stems and flowers. It is very damaging to plants and extremely difficult to get rid of. Spray with a proprietary brand and follow this up twice a week for about three weeks. Do not under any circumstances compost leaves or cuttings that have rust. Instead pick them all up from underneath the plant and dispose of separately.

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Rust! I feel I am cursed with plagues and I didn’t even hold the Israelites in servitude

 

 

Author: spanishgarden

I live in both Spain and the UK and am a very keen gardener. I garden every day and enjoy sharing all the secrets that God allows us to discover in our gardens.