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Top 10 garden pests 2011

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Slugs and snails back as most troublesome pests

12 January 2012

Garden snail. Helix aspersa

Slugs and snails are once again number one in the top 10 of garden pests in 2011. Viburnum beetle temporarily knocked the gastropods off the top spot in 2010, but the latter have made a return to number one last year.

The RHS Entomology team, based at RHS Garden Wisley, compile their annual list of garden pests based on enquiries by RHS members to its Advisory Service during the last year. It comments; 'nearly all gardens suffer from slugs and snails and since they damage a wide range of plants it is not surprising that they often generate most enquiries.'

The 2011 RHS list features two pests making their debut in the top 10; fuchsia gall mite, at number six and leek moth, at number eight (see below).

Are your fuchsias affected by gall mite?

Fuchsia gall mite damage Image Andrew HalsteadFuchsia gall mite was discovered in a garden in Hampshire in 2007 and sent to RHS Members' Advisory Service. Subsequently it has become established along the south coast and is moving northwards. 'This is a devastating, microscopic pest of fuchsias that will probably eventually spread throughout Britain,' says RHS Principal Entomologist Andrew Halstead. 'Unfortunately there are no effective pesticides for garden use. Because the damage cannot be controlled, it may lead to a decline in the popularity of this valuable garden plant.'

Top Ten reported pests

2011 2010
1. Slugs and snails 1. Viburnum beetle
2. Cushion scale 2. Slugs and snails
3. Vine Weevil =3. Cushion scale
4. Ants =3. Chafer grubs
5. Viburnum beetle 5. Harlequin ladybird
=6. Fuchsia gall mite 6. Vine weevil
=6. Cypress aphid 7. Lily beetle
=8. Leek moth 8. Horse chestnut scale
=8. Chafer grubs =9. Glasshouse red spider mite
=8. Mealybugs =9. Ants
=8. Brown scale  




Effects of leek moth

Leek moth

Although mainly a problem on leeks, leek moth also affects onions and shallots.

  • Young caterpillars mine the leaves but later they bore into the stems of leeks and the bulbs of onions and shallots.
  • Infested leeks often become infected with secondary rots and die.
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Andrew Halstead interview

12 January 4.30pm
Hear RHS Principal Entomologist Andrew Halstead talk about his 40 years working for the RHS and 2011 worst garden pests on Radio 4's science programme Material World.