This is the journal of my endeavours to grow a range of fruit, veg and flowers from seed, grow organically, and my attempts to create a personal paradise with 1/2 acre of maintained gardens and 1/2 acre wild meadows. Northern Ireland's average daily high temperatures are 18 °C (64 °F) in July and 6 °C (43 °F) in January. Soil type: Clay

Monday, 19 August 2013

Garden Pests

In case you don't like plant munching creepy crawlies or things that sting... this post contains a few, with photos! 

Pictured left: primarily slug damage. If you look closely you can see some slime trails on the plant leaves. I try to grow organically; apart from using occasional slug pellets (the need for this I blame on Ireland's rainy conditions where slugs thrive). I also make an effort to do evening walks to de-snail and de-slug the garden (evidenced below). 
Above: Slugs and snails in all shapes and sizes. I've grown to appreciate them, however, they are still a nuisance to my plants!
Do you spot something dark on the above nasturtium? I was walking by and did a double take.
Below: upon closer inspection looks like large butterfly eggs had hatched but hadn't time (yet) to do much damage.
These were in clear view so I was able to see them and dispose of them.
However....  these turnips (below) have been devoured by caterpillars - luckily the turnips can still be eaten but the leaves look quite bad.  
Below: caterpillars taken off the turnip plants.

Now to things that sting...
To the right of this path is a walled garden with shrubs and various plants. This time of year plants start to need tidying and shrubs need trimmed. I was out with my secateurs and garden shears when...
I got stung by a wasp - tank tops and gardening not a great combo. Then I noticed several wasps flying about and going in and out of the middle of a large heather shrub. I assume they  have a nest in there. I'm wondering should I try and get rid of the nest since it's in an area I use regularly?
The wasps seem to have a nest right in the middle of this heather shrub (where the whole / opening is)!
Anyone have any experience with wasps nesting in garden shrubs; or tips on what action to take?

Copyright: All words and photos are property of Kelli's Northern Ireland Garden.


  1. Yuck! Doesn't it make you wonder how people managed to grow anything before chemical slug-killers were invented??? If you want to get rid of the wasps' nest I think you will have to resort to chemicals - or get a professional in to assist. Would your local council be able to advise, perhaps?

  2. It's a difficult one with the wasps and trying to ;remove' them without killing the shrub!

    As for those 'eggs' they look strange and butterflies usually lat them under the leaves.

  3. Ugh! I am not a fan of any of the pests you mentioned or showed, especially wasps. We have plenty of them here in Florida in bushes. In fact, when I trim, I first take the long blade shears and punch the bush a bit and if there are any inside, they will swarm out. I manage to step back, not to get stung. Usually they are really small wasps, but still vicious. To kill them, I use a chemical wasp spray, if I can see the nest. If not, I am just very careful not to disturb them. Big hornet nests are a different thing. Do you have those in Ireland? Hornets made a big round bomb-looking nest and that is dangerous. Usually they are high up, though.

  4. That's a fair selection of things that go squish in the night Kelli! Those wasp stings can hurt!
    I've never experienced a wasp nest in the garden before so can't offer any advice except your local authority might be able to help, at a cost though!

  5. I didn't have any experience with wasps but caterpillars have eaten my whole crop of kale! I was upset. Next year Im going to cover the plants. I was really looking forward to eating kale all autumn :(

  6. Beer traps work really well on the slugs here. They're cheap drunks. I'd use a spray chemical wasp killer. They are so aggressive and can sting multiple times. Those striped caterpillars look like tent caterpillars, which can kill a tree and anything else. I'd check your local bug guide and them squish them if they're not going to turn into butterflies.

  7. Ick! Nasty stuff. So annoying to find my leaves with holes, especially the ones I intended to eat like my chard!