Start a new thread

1 to 20 of 42 replies

I feel the same about mosquitos - no discernable use to anyone. I've had some success repelling them with a lavender gel and, believe it or not, eating Marmite! Don't knnow if it works for horseflies as I don't see them here.
I saw a lady bird today the first one in ages, all these useful bugs seem to be dissapearing whilst things that are no use to man or beast seem to thrive, I fear for our bee's and butterflies as well.I must admit horse flies and mosquito's are my worst enamies,along with wasps,they all seem to bite me.
Can you please advise me when it is the right time to cut down all spring leaves from Heleborus, they re growing strongly and cramping other plans in the woodland garden, i.e. hostas. Is there such a plant as "hot lips". thenk you. Eileen Carter.
@bunnysgarden Yes, Avon's Skinsosoft, applied liberally to all exposed skin, is a popular and fairly effective protection from biting insects. It won't necessarily stop them landing on you (it's not a repellent) but it seems to make them less likely to bite. I was first tole about it by a squaddie (apparently they buy it for themselves and take it out in their bergens, which is a fun image) but now you'll find it in places like camping shops (eg Tisos) especially up here in Scotland where midges are the real concern.
im finding ants seem to be my problem i think that i have kill them all and then they pop up again and again.


I am so with you all on this subject! I went out in the garden this evening, I had been looking forward to a bit of garden time all day; three minutes later I had been bitten so badly by mosquitoes I had to come in. However much you use insect repellent they always seem to find the square inch uncovered. I have tried skinsosoft too but it didn't work.
Eileen, there is a Salvia called 'Hotlips'.Red and white flower petals. I don't usually get bitten by much...maybe my skin's unpalateable!, but when I used to ride, horseflies were the bane of our life in hot weather. Ants are a pet hate of mine. When we moved into our house we had to lift the floorboards in the kitchen to get at the air vent in the wall and remove an ants nest, very nasty. That was one of the black ant colonies, further down the garden were a few red ant nests, even nastier. A combination of bait, boiling water, and disturbing the nests (and 11 yrs of doing it!) seem to have moved the blighters on.....for now!!
We haven't had horse flies til this year - and only on the allotment where we collected horse manure and spread as a mulch. I have managed to keep them from biting me by covering up and insect repellent -though I'm with Pippa on not really wanting to use chemicals on my skin - but they LOVE my husband, and his legs are their favourite "blood snack". We eat garlic with evening meal, perhaps we need to do so for breakfast!!
I am moving house in late august and want to take my tree peaony (4 yrs old) with me. I know they do not normally like being disturbed. Has anyone successfully done this? Many thanks.
Pippa, horseflies are astonishing creatures. For one thing they have the most beautiful eyes in the animal kingdom, all dots and bars of metallic blues, green and reds. Secondly, they stalk their prey with a delicate precision that is awe-inspiring. The silent swoop to the back of the neck is something vampire story writers cannot match. Thirdly, they are declining widely in the British countryside, part of a general malaise of which these and other insects are key indicators. Some are especially handsome too, there are well-documented reports of entomologists visiting the New Forest and stripping off their shirts (this was in the early 20th century so quite shocking) in attempts to attract the large horsefly species for which the area was well known.
I have a small yard where i grow great hostas. This year I have been bitten by flies or midges etc. I tried eating garlic and didn't seem to do much. my brother inlaw suggested putting a tiny amount of jeyes fluid in my saved rainwater. I did try the garlic in there as well but although the hostas look strong did not stop the flies. Any ides as I don't want to ruin the plants that are doing well.
i spend all of my spare time in my garden and it normally gives great pleasure, until the last 2 weeks! suddenly i have to dress like it is spring or like a bee keeper!i cannot get to the bottom of the garden to my summer house without being attacked by horseflies! they should all be exterminated, i used the avon product last year for a holiday in scotland and it seemed to work,well reminded, thankyou
We may find insects like horseflies and mosquitos a nuisance, but they play an important part in the food chain Swifts, martins and swallows eat mosquitos by the million and they're also food for bats, other birds, dragonflies and amphibians. Fish feed on their larvae. Horsefly larve provide meals for invertebrates, shrews and mice and birds eat the adults. Remove any of these pestilential inects (in human terms)from the food chain and there are upsets all down the line.
the last post was just a test post... i have been bitten by what i think is a horsefly.. after reading your blog pippa i now realise what these two big blisters on my arm are from. Having acquired an allotment this year it can only be horsefly bites, as i have never been bitten so badly in all my life. These flys are quite nasty things really..


I do not have a cure for horsefly bites which are some of the most painful I have suffered, but if you are plagued by mosquitos, make sure your water butts are covered as that stops the larvae breeding. If you don't have a cover, put a drop of light oil in the water - It stops them breathing through the surface. Also at this time of year watch out for ticks in long grass and leaves. In the area I live in they carry Lyme disease which is much worse than a horsefly bite!
Shine 52 - much better to leave your tree peony for the next occupier of your house and look for a seedling at the base which you can then pot up. It will grow quickly. Otherwise why not ask them to send you some seed (they are very large) and grow a new one? The ants are driving me wild this year.
Hi, I'm makeing a raised bed and it will be sitting on concrete as I want to grow climbers onto my garage wall.Will this work? or is it a daft idea! Please advice. KK.
Shine 52, I did move my tree peony when I moved house, and it has gradually whithered away, branch by branch, and no flowers at all for last two years. So am with happymarion - don't do it. Though I've never managed to get peonies to grow from seed - do they need vernalisation?
Pippa, I've just been using your pests and diseases book to identify that all our runner beans have been struck with virus and need pulling up and disposing of. Could you clarify - is the virus in the soil (its a new allotment and we double dug the bed and cleared the dandelions from it, adding well rotted horse manure before planting). Do I need to remove all the soil, or will I be able to grow runner beans there in future years after crop rotation? What other veg will be affected if I rotate something into it? Courgettes are in the other half of the bed and seem ok at the moment - they are cropping well. Thanks for any info you can give.