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Latest posts by Berghill

Bees setting up home in my garden....

Posted: 07/05/2013 at 10:59

If they are honey bees then maybe they would sting, but other wise the majority of bees either do not or cannot sting humans.

Complete novice thwarted by the weeds!

Posted: 05/05/2013 at 16:26

Equisetum does not have seeds, it grows from spores. Bruising the foliage with a stick or such like before putting the weed killer on is supposed to help. In a previous garden I followed a root down over 9 feet (We were looking for the house drains). Never found the end of the root (Nor might I add the drains!).

I have seen the roots going down a cliff face for over 30 feet. Not the sort of thing one can dig out!

Kohl rabi

Posted: 05/05/2013 at 16:21

Only thing to add is that they do like plenty of water to bulk up.


woolly aphid on crab apple tree

Posted: 03/05/2013 at 18:06

Pyrethrum IS safe in that it is not persistent in the way neonicotinoids seem to be. And as you say, spraying once the bees and hover lfies have gone to bed is the best option (IMHO).

Pyrethrum is actually made from the roots of the plant of the same name, Pyrethrum which is a white daisy.

Pyrethrin insecticide effects on bees and beneficial agricultural insects & Fish & Cats


Pyrethrins are “highly toxic” to bees; 0.02 micrograms is sufficient to kill a bee.50 Toxicity of commercial pyrethrin products to bees was demonstrated by an entomologist at Auburn University who showed that a commercial pyrethrin insecticide caused 100 percent “knockdown,” the inability of the bee to walk or fly. Some of the inert ingredients used in pyrethrin products appear to increase knockdown potency.51 


It is not surprising that pyrethrins, because they are insecticides, are toxic to agriculturally useful insects and spiders. The International Organization for Biological Control found that a commercial pyrethrin product killed over 99 percent of two parasitoid wasps and a predatory fly. (Parasitoids are insects which develop in and kill the eggs or larvae of another species.) This study also found pyrethrins caused 80 percent mortality of two other parasitoid species, a fly and a wasp.52 Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station researchers found that pyrethrins killed four common species of wasp that are parasitoids of house and stable flies in dairies.53  Another study found that Both the pyrethrin products tested led to 100% mortality in the adult parasitic wasps and ladybird larvae on glass plates and plants.

I  cannot really help with advice on really safe pesticides as we do not use them. The only spray of that kind which I do use is a Horticultural soft soap one specially made for fruit trees and then that is sprayed on in February when there tend be very few insects around. It kills the eggs of Apple pests on the trees.

It is not easy! Today I found a whole frame full of Alliums of various ornamental types, all with aphids on them. It took me ages to wipe then off with a damp cloth.

Friend or Foe?

Posted: 03/05/2013 at 13:45

I once, as an experiment, dropped a vine weevil adult in to a glass of pure Bleach. It swam around happily for 24 hours. You try it! See how long you survive!   Don't do it!

woolly aphid on crab apple tree

Posted: 03/05/2013 at 13:39

The trouble with any insecticide is that the coating on the aphids is waterproof and stops the stuff from  reaching the actual bug.. Lynda did say she does not use pesticides so Pyrthrum based sprays would not be her preferred option.  And sorry to harp on about it, but Pythrethroids are extremely toxic to bees.

If the infestation is small you can dab each aphid with a cotton bud dipped in Methylated spirits. That kills them.

woolly aphid on crab apple tree

Posted: 03/05/2013 at 08:21

Used properly the soap (indeed any soap)  will remove the waxy coating (the woolly bit) from the insect and then a good spray with a power washer (set so it does not damage the bark), will drown the blighters. You may have to repeat the treatment, but it does work, or at least it worked for us.

Friend or Foe?

Posted: 02/05/2013 at 21:19

That is an adult Vine weevil for sure.

woolly aphid on crab apple tree

Posted: 02/05/2013 at 21:16

They are a real nuisance. Try using a Horticultural soft soap. This is made from plant material and is reasonably organic.

another plant/weed ID!

Posted: 02/05/2013 at 09:07

If it is a wild violet then whilst it is very pretty, they are terribly invasive. They are also difficult to remove from where you do not want them as the roots, even on tiny seedlings go down a long way.

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