Dig It! Good and Bad Bugs (4 June 2018)
This week's show is all about bugs - helpful bugs like bees, hoverflies, ladybirds and lacewings, and unhelpful bugs like ahpids. Bees like nectar-rich plants like borage, sunflowers or wildflowers like clovers and vetches. Their bumblebee cousins also like the nightshade family, like tomatoes and aubergines and solitary bees like all flowers. All bees also appreciate a puddle of water to drink from too.
Butterflies like brightly coloured flowers with nectar like Echinacea, daisies, or wildflower mixes. Night-time moths like evening primrose and tobacco plants as well as honeysuckles and jasmines.
Hoverflies like any plants from the Umbellifer family like Anthriscus or cow parsley, and they are very attracted by yellow and orange-flowered plants like marigolds. Adult hoverflies are excellent pollinators and the larvae are voracious predators of aphids.
Ladybirds and lacewings are even more voracious predators of aphids and you can buy them from Swiss company Andermatt Biocontrol.
Aphids are a real nuisance in the garden and on balconies and terraces, particularly in spring in summer. they are small, sap-sucking insects that produce lots of honeydew that ants love. You can reduce their numbers by introducing more ladybirds and lacewings, which will eat them, or hand-squashing, spraying them off with jets of water or sprying the plant with a very dilute mixture of washing-up liquid and water. For details of the wildflower mixes for bees and butterflies, go to www.myseedball.ch and to buy ladybird and lacewing larvae, go to www.biocontrol.ch