Thursday, 6 August 2009

Pests Ahoy!

One of the (few) real benefits of high-rise urban gardening is the lack of pests. Many gardeners I've spoken with recently have all bemoaned the rate at which snails, slugs and various garden pests are converging on crops and causing a nuisance of themselves.

Luckily, living away from the ground in urban London means that the only pests I have to deal with on the balcony are horses – as in clothes horses, laden with wet clothes and competing for space alongside plant pots, grow bags and watering cans!

This said, I did see a tiny slug on one of the leaves a few weeks back, which I presume must have been secreted in amongst some recent bedding plants that are brightening up a window box. Whitefly has also been a problem, but again, these pests were imported with some potted herbs that remained in the kitchen; luckily none of the outside plants were infected.

I was looking through my runner beans a few minutes ago when I came across this chap:

I've seen these insects before, but not on the balcony. Can anyone identify this creature and if so, is it a friend or a foe? Is it some form of aphid?


  1. Hi Callum,

    It's a shield bug nymph (a baby shield bug basically). They are sap suckers but they don't really cause any damage in the garden.

    I have loads in my garden and I think their worst point is their clumsiness. They just fly at you and crash land everywhere.

    I wouldn't say they are a problem at all. Others may disagree.

    Here's a link for you:


  2. I've had greenfly and blackfly on my 5th floor Regents Park balcony. They seemed to particularly like my mangetout but also quite liked my range of salad leaves. I sprayed them with soapy water. Don't know how much that helped but now that the mangetout is gone, the insects are too. Since then I've had some caterpillar bite marks in my leaves but found and threw away a chrysalis the other day so hopefully that's that.

    In good buggy news, I bought a chive plant the other day (I got lazy about growing stuff from seed) and there were at least two worms in the pot, that have now been transplanted into my window box. Hopefully they will reproduce and keep my soil nice and healthy!

  3. I second the sheild bug nymph id and also second that they don't cause any harm, at least they never caused any harm to my plants and I have loads in the garden.



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