Lifestyle

Hedgehogs and ladybirds keep your garden pest-free – here's how to befriend them

While we’re more in tune with nature since the pandemic – we are also more aware of the pesky critters undoing all our hard work in the garden.

The last thing you want is to find that bugs or birds have nibbled at your leaves and chomped through your stems.

Don’t worry, Simon Akeroyd has written a book packed with clever tricks to outsmart common invaders like aphids, slugs, foxes, snails, caterpillars and squirrels without using any harmful chemicals.

Over the next few weeks we’ll be sharing his top tips.

This week we take a look at who you can recruit to join your army in the war against garden pests.

Befriend Hedgehogs

A hedgehog can be a gardener’s best friend, says Simon.

‘Building a simple hedgehog home will not only provide you with a maintenance-free wildlife ‘pet’ that is a joy to watch, but is also an environment-friendly pest-controller and hunter of snails and other garden mini-beasts that feast on plants.

‘Hedgehog numbers are on the decline, so providing them with a home will
also help them survive.’

You will need:

  • Wooden box or 12cm (5in) flower pot
  • Dry leaves, straw or grass twigs

Ladybird, ladybird, come and stay

Need an effective, environmentally friendly way to reduce aphid damage? Create an army of ladybirds, says Simon.

‘Build a ladybird hotel! Ladybird adults and larvae love to feed on aphids, particularly greenfly and blackfly.

‘Each ladybird will consume around 5,000 aphids in their lifetime.

‘And as an adult ladybird lays 20-50 eggs a day, your colony of ladybirds will continue to breed, providing long-term, chemical-free pest control.’

You will need:

• Five or six pine cones with open scales
• String bags (that previously held oranges or nuts)
• 10cm (4in) lengths of dried hollow stems (such as bamboo, kerria, sambucus or forsythia)
• String
• Scissors

Buy RHS 50 Ways To Outsmart A Squirrel And Other Garden Pests by Simon Akeroyd (Octopus Books) for £12.99.

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