Gardening: Expert shares advice for dealing with bugs

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Slugs and snails are a real nuisance and can easily devastate container plants. Slugs and snails often leave gaping holes in leaves and foliage. Patch plant expert Alice Vincent has shared how you can “trap” slugs and snails using citrus skins before they eat your plants.

She said: “Slugs and snails are particularly a problem if you keep plants in a damp and shady spot.

“Basement gardeners you will find plenty of them.

“You’ll know if they’re there because you’ll see holes in the leaves and those telltale slightly grim slime trails.

“It’s easiest to spot the slugs and snails at night so if you want to confirm your suspicions get out there with a torch to get rid of them.

“You can try placing upside down citrus skins around your plant to trap them well.”

Alice also said using copper wire around the rim of your pot will keep them away.

She added: “If all else fails, netting around your plants will stop slugs in their tracks.

“A particularly lazy way is to get a can of beer because they’ll crawl into there and die happy.”

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Another common pest in UK gardens are aphids which are small sap-sucking insects.

An aphid infestation can make a plant look very unwell but it’s relatively easy to get rid of them.

Alice continued: “Unfortunately one of the facts of life with outdoor gardening is that they’re much more exposed to pests than indoor plants so it’s important to know what you’re looking for when you’re identifying a pest infestation and how you can deal with it.

“Aphids are one of the most common pests you’ll find in your garden.

“They love to eat the new growth emerging in spring and they particularly thrive in warm weather.

“You’ll recognise them because they form clusters of super gross small green black or brown insects on the shoots and leaves of new plants.

“Some gardeners like to deal with this just by spraying an insecticide everywhere, and yes it does get rid of them.

“But it also puts more chemicals into the environment and you might prefer to choose an organic method.”

Another way to get rid of aphids is by planting more flowering plants which encourages other bugs to eat them.

The gardening expert added: “A lot of people like to use companion gardening and this is when you prevent infestations by growing flowering plants that will encourage ladybirds lay swings or hover flies to visit your container garden.

“These guys eat the aphids and so they can be your little bouncers and they keep everything in check.

“If an infestation is already in place you can wipe off the aphids from the leaf and spray with an insecticide solution.”

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