Spring growth and pest control

With the start of spring growth, there’s inevitably an influx of pests, making pest control a priority for all gardeners and farmers. We plant more than 50 million seeds, but pests don’t care about the numbers – they’re just as interested in your back garden or allotment plot, as they are our Rapeseed plants – so how can you deal with them?

We follow a three step procedure, here at Duchess Oils:

  • Step 1: Understand what pests you are dealing with
  • Step 2: Establish the extent of the problem
  • Step 3: Make a decision on how to deal with the pests

Luckily, our Rapeseed plants are, on the whole, looking rather great at the moment. However, it’s not the time to get complacent, as the entire crop is vulnerable and it only takes the smallest of nibbles to lose a plant completely. This is why we continuously check our crops, looking for both health and pest-related issues and this is an essential part of the three step procedure…

Step 1: Understand what pests you are dealing with

The obvious pests are pigeons and rabbits, but not all pests are that easily spotted. Slugs and beetles are more elusive, but their munching is just as damaging! Here’s a snapshot of the typical damage caused by slugs and beetles:

(left/mid photo is a slug damaged plant and right/mid photo, a beetle one).

Once you know what pests you are dealing with, you can move onto Step 2.

Step 2: Establish the extent of the problem

You’ve found the evidence, it’s now time to ascertain how big a problem you are dealing with. For pests such as rabbits and pigeons, you can clearly see the numbers involved, but the elusive guys are harder to count – and this is why I use a slug trap (pictured here), to get a better idea of how many slugs are in the field.

Step 3: Make a decision on how to deal with the pests

Once you have an accurate picture of what you’re dealing with and the numbers involved, you can use this information to decide on how to deal with them. Obviously, the most natural and eco-friendly ways are the best. Here’s a few ideas to get you started:

  • Look to encourage natural predators into your gardens; hedgehogs love slugs, as do ducks!
  • Provide a tastier distraction!
  • Relocation. Use bait traps to collect the pests in one place, allowing you to then relocate them away from your precious crops. Flower pots, cardboard and anything that creates a dark, moist environment is considered home to slugs, whilst earwigs love wet newspaper!