Ecological solutions For Your Italian Garden
Above: Ladybug eats aphids Above: Ladybug larvae eats even more
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