Cloeme a great plant bug catcher
PLANT MORE CLEOME
Cleome are one of the best ‘‘catch plants’’ for attracting green vege bugs away from your beans and tomatoes.
They are tall (around 1.5m), robust flowers that don’t seem to be too badly affected by the bugs if you pick them off regularly.
Their botanical name, Cleome spinosa, gives a warning, so watch out for the prickly stems. The thorns on mature stems can easily pierce a gardening glove. As well as their bug patrol duties, cleomes are worth growing for the pink, mauve or white flowers as they bloom for months – right through to late autumn.
Sow seeds (from Kings Seeds) directly the garden or in trays in spring. Grow in full sun or semishade. I plant mine close together (25cm) and let them grow tall and slim at the back of the border. You’ll get more flowers on stockier plants if they’re planted 50cm apart and you pinch out the growing tips when the seedlings are 6-10cm tall.
The best time for hunting green vege bugs is first thing in the morning when they are sluggish.
As cold-blooded insects they need the heat of the sun in order to warm up enough to move quickly.
Knock them into a jar of soapy water or stomp on them when they land on the ground.
MAKE YOUR OWN DIY FLY TRAP
I know flies have a useful role to play in the great circle of life, but I would rather they weren’t circling round my kitchen. The first blowfly of summer buzzed in last week so it’s time to refresh the fly traps. A female blowfly can lay 150-200 eggs at a time and around 2,000 eggs over the course of her lifetime. Hopefully, disposing of flies in early summer will cut down the numbers in the coming months. For the past two years I’ve used a McGregor’s Bye Bye Bugs Fly Trap from Bunnings. The supplied bait is a smelly brew that attracts the flies but is non-toxic. The flies can get in the holes in the lid but can’t fly back out. They eventually die and fall into the liquid. The water level needs topping up when it dries out and the traps need to be emptied when they start to fill up. When the supplied bait ran out, I used a mixture of yeast, a little sugar and some warm water. After a couple of days building up a stink it worked just as well as the commercial product. Other ideas for bait include a small piece of meat or rotting fruit, and dog or cat poo – if you have a particularly strong stomach! The base of the old trap was cracked but luckily the top fitted a jam jar so it’s been pressed into service for another year.
I’ve made a couple of new DIY versions too (pictured). Cut across a plastic fizzy drink bottle about one third of the way down from the top. Add the bait of your choice into the bottom section. Invert the top. Use a hole punch or a heated metal skewer to make holes for a handle. Thread fine wire or string through the holes. This column is adapted from the weekly e-zine, get growing, from New Zealand Gardener magazine. For gardening advice delivered to your inbox every Friday, sign up for Get Growing at: getgrowing.co.nz Hang where flies tend to congregate – usually in sunny, sheltered spots – but where the smell won’t bother you or the neighbours. Make another trap to use inside. Bait with red wine, fruit juice, apple cider vinegar or a piece of banana floating in water. Add a drop or two of detergent and place the trap by the fruit bowl. That cloud of fruit flies hovering over your ripening fruit will be lured to their doom.