The Battle with Bugs – Part 2

After our first post on this subject, one of our readers asked if we would talk about how to spot what bugs are bugging their alstroemeria. We'll also share some environmentally gentle ways to keep them under control.

So here is how you can spot them as well as some additional possible solutions to the ones mentioned in our previous post.

Bugs that Bug Alstroemeria



How to spot ‘em In most cases they cause little or no damage to plant health. However, when the numbers get out of hand your alstroe can have twisted and curled/yellowed leaves, stunted or dead shoots and poor growth.

Solution Wash them off with a strong spray of water. Plant other plants that will attract natural enemies like lady beetles and wasps, as mentioned above. Organic pesticide such as neem oil can help. However, be aware that using any product on your plants can deter beneficial pests such as pollinators.

Harlequin Bug

How to spot ‘em Besides the fact that these bugs brightly coloured armour is easy to spot, the leaves will most likely be turning yellow and have white spotty areas that will eventually turn brown and cause the leaves to die.

SolutionMustard plants are their favourite. Once they have all congregated on there you can then employ the manual pick-off-and-squash method as mentioned previously.

Snails and Slugs

How to spot ‘emIrregular holes in the leaves and the flowers, aside from the usual tell-tale slime trails.

SolutionBesides the manual removal method, slugs and snails have many natural predators such as ground beetles, shrews, moles, hedgehogs, toads, lizards and songbirds. Many of these animals would not survive without their slugs and snails so make your garden into a mini ark for a variety of creatures.

Two-spotted Spider Mite

How to Spot ‘em The undersides of affected leaves are tan or yellow and have a crusty texture. Heavy infestations of spider mite make a fine webbing that may cover the entire plant.

Solution Manual removal and mindful use of organic pesticides can be effective. Predators include predatory mites, thrips, lacewings, and minute pirate bugs. Again, creating an environment that encourages these beneficial bugs is ultimately the key to bringing about balance.

Silverleaf and Sweetpotato Whiteflies

How to Spot ‘em When the weather gets warmer, keep an eye out for these little sap-suckers. Related to aphids, scales and mealybugs, their name comes from the white wax covering the wings and body on adult whiteflies. You will see a sticky honey dew-like substance on the leaves and they will be yellowing or dying.

Solution Again, the lacewings and pirate bugs can help with these too and parasitic wasps like Encarsia can help.


For more details on what these bugs look like and how to deal with them, have a look at this.

To conclude, it is possible to work in harmony with nature, but of course it may be a bit more of a trial and error process than a one-size-fits-all approach.

After all, these so-called “bugs” are just one little part of a system that hasn’t benefited from our “assistance” (read: interference).

What do you think?

Feel free to share your thoughts with us via social media.



Harlequin Bug

Harlequin Bug



Spider Mites

Spider Mites



The Battle with Bugs – Part 1

You starting to see more bugs in the garden?

It can be tempting to want to go out there, all guns ablazing, ready to annihilate all those pesky pests from your beloved flowers.

However, it is important to keep in mind that with critter control in gardens, the aim is not to remove all bugs completely.

It is possible to protect your plants from serious damage while maintaining an environment that attracts a variety of critters.

Working in harmony with nature encourages more diversity in the garden. This way the environment will be more balanced and it will require less interference from us.

These are some general chemical-free methods that can help control pests.

Good Hygiene

For humans, keeping things clean is in the best interests of our overall health. And it is similar with plants. Good cultivation and sanitation are the best first steps in preventing pest and disease problems in the first place.

Just like people, when plants are stressed and unloved their health suffers and DIS-ease soon follows.

So keep them well-fed and appropriately watered. Rather more seldom, long watering than frequent shorter sprinkling.

However, sometimes in spite of our efforts, disease still blows in from somewhere or certain weather brings pests to the party.

When this happens it’s best to keep an eye on your plants and keep the number of pests down, as viruses can be spread by insects.


Sticky or pheromone traps for whitefly, codling moth and plum moth can be used to good effect. This won’t get rid of all of them but it will help keep the numbers at a manageable level.

Manual Removal

If you are in your garden regularly, most bug infestations can be prevented pretty easily by manual removal. Hosing your plants can be an effective way to get rid of bugs like aphids and slugs and snails can easily be picked off.

Helpful Habitats

Some swear by what has been called “companion planting”, whereas others have found it to have little affect at all. Again, nature has so many intricate symbiotic relationships woven through it. It’s not as simple as "plant X and you’ll get Y" (interesting discussion on this here).

So here are some suggestions on plants and habitats to try that could help attract natural predators that feed on the pests. Experiment and see what works for you:

  • Coriander, Caraway, Dandelions, Fennel, Marigolds, Sunflowers, Thyme and Yarrow is loved by ladybirds that like to feed on aphids
  • Open flowers that have easily accessible pollen and nectar such as ones in the daisy and umbellifer families attract short-tongued hoverflies that predate on pests
  • Beetle banks and ground cover can attract ground beetles that feed on snails and slugs. If you buy or make a Bug Hotel, make sure it is kept dry (bugs don't like the damp)


The Crux

All in all, it seems the key is to let them all be and do their thing as much as possible. The more we start nitpicking, trying to create a perfect pest-free environment, the worse things tend to get. And the more work it is for us!

In the end they’re not really "pests". They’re all just part of a wonderfully made food chain that effortlessly takes care of itself when it’s in balance. All without our assistance!

In our next post we’ll go in to how to spot what’s bugging your alstroemeria and what you can do to bring about a balance.