As well as flowers and plants, your Lanzarote garden is full of enemies and friends: creatures that can break your heart or save your skin. As you get used to gardening here, you’ll get to know many of them, but here are the main friends and enemies you’ll encounter.
Aphids are greenfly, and also come in several varieties. They all, however, suck sap from plants, damaging buds and weakening plants. Ants are no defence against aphids – in fact, ants often defend aphids from other predators, as they “milk” their sweet honeydew. Aphids can be controlled with Bacillus thurigensis pesticides, soap spray, and ladybirds.
Whitefly are a widespread pest of tomatoes and courgettes. They suck the sap of plants, weaken them and transmit viruses. They can be controlled with Bacillus thurigensis pesticides and insecticidal soap.
Small insects that lay their eggs in plants and damage them with their bites. There are several varieties of thrip, and they can be a real pest. Thrips can be controlled with Neem oil.
Several varieties of caterpillars can be found on Lanzarote, and they attack all types of plants, especially the leaves. You can pick them off by hand, use Bacillus thurigensis pesticides or apply Neem oil.
The curse of Canarian farmers in recent years, the tomato moth is a new arrival that is incredibly difficult to eliminate. So widespread that many local tomatoes are sold with the dark spots caused by the moth’s larva, which people just cut away from the rest of the fruit. Fortunately, its more likely to go for large crops of tomatoes than individual plants in your garden. By the time you’ve discovered it, it’s usually too late.
A strange pest that attacks vegetables and ornamental plants, laying eggs in the leaves which are marked with strange “pathways” burrowed by the larva. Leaf miners are hard to get rid of, as they are hidden inside the leaf, but two or three applications of Spinosad can work.
Ladybirds are not only beautiful, they’re voracious predators whose favourite food is greenfly. Much loved on Lanzarote, where they’re known by the delightful word sarantontón, ladybirds can occasionally arrive in huge swarms.
These likeable little lizards live under rocks and other covered places, and venture out at night to catch insects. They’re famous for their ability to climb walls, and are an undoubted asset in your garden. Unfortunately, if you have a cat you may have to forget about having geckos.
The local lizards are generally the gardeners friend, eating insect pests. However in dry spells they can also nibble fruits or leaves for moisture. Leave a little water out in a sheltered place for lizards to avoid this.
Spiders eat flies, but they also eat a wide variety of insect pests. If you see a spider in your garden, leave it alone. It’s on your side.
In rural areas where snails and slugs attack plants, hedgehogs can be a real help. A little cat meat will keep them hanging around.