London (change)
12 messages
25/04/2014 at 20:04


It finally stopped raining, so I popped outside and found my gooseberry bushes being nibbled by sawfly I have picked off as many as possible, but I know I will have missed some. Has anyone had any success with garlic water or soapy water? I really don't want to use chemicals so, only organic solutions please.




25/04/2014 at 20:07

Nematodes or hand pick them off is the only solution i'm afraid.

25/04/2014 at 20:08

Do you have to use the nematodes a few times through the summer to catch each brood?

I do try to hand pick them, but I am often away with work and the boyfriend is not the bug squishing type.

25/04/2014 at 20:11

Yes. It helps. Google this 

Nemasys® Grow your Own
25/04/2014 at 21:40

A squirt of washing up liquid in a full watering can applied in late Feb/early March. Or, a chemical solution although this can only be used twice in the season and fruit cannot be picked for a month after application.

Apply the washing up liquid solution over the leaves and at the base .

26/04/2014 at 21:10

Can I spray them with washing liquid water now or is it too late?

Picked a few more off this morning and have popped them in the windest spot I have, to deter the blighters.

27/04/2014 at 13:16

You can spray them now. The washing up liquid will mean the leaves won't be so tasty and the reduction in surface tension at the leaf will make them fall off. I think you'll have to sweep them up at the base of the plant though and squish them. The fruit can just be washed under the tap before use.

Best advice is to spray early March every 2 weeks. 

27/04/2014 at 18:43

Thanks Bruce, just got home and picked of a few more, but there is definitely less! I will be spraying them as soon as I get a day that stops raining.


27/04/2014 at 20:02

Too right! Just been to the plot this after when I 'thought' the rain had stopped - it's grim at the mo on the north east coast . Did a bit of weeding as the muddy boots made me taller as the hour went on, then the rain again! gave up soon after that. Anyway , good luck with the gooseberries - tip, if you want bigger berries or just one giant one ( like the victorians used to do), just remove a few off each stem.

28/04/2014 at 20:16

Yes we have some very heavy april showers here at the moment. Just picked a few more off each plant, but only about 5 each. Ooh now I'm imagining yummy large gooseberries.... I may just do that. Thank you

30/04/2014 at 09:58

Hi Meerkat,

Three years ago I was in the same boat as you ... ended up with not a leaf on any bush. Since then I've made up a spray of neem oil and as soon as all the leaves are out in April I drench each bush. Any spare solution goes onto the soil below the plant as the earthworms are supposed to love it. I do a second drench at the end of May (just in case) and have had great crops since.

Neem is totally organic and although it stinks a bit is easy to mix up and apply (see link below). I got mine off ebay .... wasn't expensive for a big bottle which will last ages. At room temperature it is solid, but goes liquid again with a couple of hours in the airing cupboard.

Am using this year on the lilies as the dreaded beetle has now put an appearance in Scotland.

Just a shame it doesn't work on slugs ....

So, worth a try ... good luck.

01/05/2014 at 17:44

Hi Bee witched,

I haven't heard of neem oil but it sounds interesting, I'm going to do some investigating. I had thought of using the garlic water spray which I used against slugs last year and it was quite effective. I wonder if they would eat the leaves if they tasted of garlic. I can't use that now, because I have fruit forming and I think garlic gooseberries would be a little odd.

I've just been picking off the odd one each day, which seems to be working at the moment. However I will look into neem oil, thank you.

Good luck with the lily beetles!

email image
12 messages