Ecological solutions For Your Italian Garden
Above: Ladybug eats aphids
Above: Ladybug larvae eats even more
Often a garden full of insects and brimming with natural life can
seem somehow out of control and, to some, even full of potential garden
pests. However a garden that is able to find a harmony with its surrounding
landscape is more likely to find a positive balance between garden pests
and their natural garden predator. There are many garden pests from
aphids (greenfly) to caterpillars and larvae and like anything else
in nature each one has it’s own natural predator…
Above: The Ichneumons wasp is a voracious hunter of caterpillars.
In nature there are many battles taking place simultaneously, there
are ants protecting, moving and milking aphids for a payment of the
sugary honey-dew, produced from their rear-end.
Above: Ants protecting their flocks of aphids
Above: Ant receiving honeydew payment
There are many fly and beetle larvae feeding upon and aphids, caterpillars
and other pests. By far the most famous of these hunters is the ladybird
but there are many others, such as the simple hoverfly, whose larva
is also a voracious hunter of aphids…
Above: Hoverfly in flight.
Above: Hoverfly larvae eats aphid
Then there are the rarer, more complex natural predators, such as
the lacewing and its larvae, who both feast on aphids. The adult lacewing
is even able to sense the sonar of passing bats, such is it’s precision
as a hunter…
Above and right: Adult lacewing and its larvae.
There are many mechanisms operating in nature and its aim is always
to find a balance between hunter and hunted and only when this balance
is achieved in a garden can we hope to achieve a natural, balanced beauty.
Many of these hunters can now be bought, even online, and buying them
clearly makes more sense than simply spraying away all these wonderful
natural mechanisms with powerful pesticides… indiscriminately!
Above: A pipistrell bat and a lacewing that closes it’s wings and
falls when it senses the sonar of a bat.
By Jonathan Radford