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Harness nature with biological controls

16 May 2014
Harness nature with biological controls

Harness nature with biological controls, the environmentally-friendly way to tackle pests which uses the natural enemies of your pests to keep their populations under control.

Biological controls are usually tiny nematodes, parasitic wasps or mites, harmless to people and plants but fatal to many of our most-hated garden pests such as slugs, snails and vine weevils. Just choose the one you want from the shelf your garden centre here in.

They're straightforward to use: depending on the type of control, you either hang a card among your plants, sprinkle granules on the leaves or dilute according to instructions and water on.

Follow three simple rules for success:

- wait till it's warm enough: greenhouse controls need at least 10°C, including at night, while water-on slug controls require soil temperatures at 5°C: it's usually warm enough for both by May.
- choose the right control: diagnose your pest before you buy to target the control properly. If you're not sure, ask our friendly garden centre staff who will be happy to help.
- introduce them early: biological controls take a few weeks to build up numbers and make a dent in pest populations so as soon as you see signs of a problem, release them straight away.