How to get rid of blackfly on runner beans – 3 gardening tips

Gardeners' World: Adam Frost gives advice on 'weekend jobs'

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It’s every gardener’s worst nightmare after putting hours of effort into their veggie patches only to have their precious crops devastated by pests. If you have carefully nurtured your runner beans how can you ensure they aren’t ruined before you have a chance to harvest them? Here are some top tips to protect your plants.

Runner beans are one of the easiest veggies to grow, they are an allotment staple.

For many Brits, summer would be incomplete without this quintessentially British crop.

Runners beans when picked young have a great flavour and texture, they are packed full of nutrients and are far tastier than the stringy beans you’ll find in the supermarkets.

Black bean aphids or as they are more commonly called Blackfly can attack a wide range of garden plants.

From trees to shrubs these flies can easily cause a great deal of plant damage in your garden.

Blackfly is particularly drawn to vegetables in particular beans and peas, with runner beans being one of their favourites.

Blackflies aren’t as easy to get rid of as some other common garden pests such as birds.

How can you spot blackfly?

Blackflies are usually found in large quantities on the undersides of leaves as well as on soft new shoot tips or buds, so they may not be easy to spot at first.

You must check regularly for Blackfly in the summer as they can quickly overwhelm plants.

In the summer months read the label carefully as some sprays can kill the crops you are trying to protect.

If you don’t fancy using harsh chemicals on your crops you can remove the flies by hand.

It is best if you act quickly to stop these pests from creating irreversible damage.

Inspect plants regularly in the summer and deal with outbreaks immediately.

Remove as many as you can by hand and if needed cut off infested shoots and stems to protect the rest of the crop.

Then spray the infested areas with a hosepipe at high pressure to blast away any remaining flies and to keep numbers down. Do this as often as needed.

Fleece can also be used to stop flies from attaching themselves to your beans.

Although this method works well it may also stop bees from accessing your plant.

How to protect runner beans against slugs

Blackflies aren’t the only pests attracted to these plants, young runner bean plants are highly susceptible to slugs.

There are several ways to deter slugs from your crop.

You can use slug pellets, beer traps or place copper rings around the stems of young plants.

If you favour a less aggressive form of slug deterrent you can cover the soil around the plants with crushed oyster or eggshells, gardening grit or sharp gravel.

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