Kew Gardens expert shares their natural methods for controlling pests ahead of new show

Kew Gardens: Staff outline their work on tourist attraction

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Channel 5 will be taking viewers behind the scenes at Kew Gardens in a new series called Kew Gardens: A Year in Bloom. The first episode will reveal the secrets of the iconic glasshouses and the incredible staff that keep the Royal Botanic Gardens thriving all year round. The series will open in Winter and share with viewers some insight into the banana plants inside the Palm House. spoke to botanical horticulturist in the Palm House Solene Dequiret.

Pests are a common occurrence in most gardens and greenhouses across the country, and can cause irrevocable damage to even the most well-looked after plants.

Solene discussed how they use natural solutions to remove pests from the Palm House.

She said: “In the Palm House we’ve got the normal pests you would get in a glass house.

“Some ladybirds, cockroaches and aphids sometimes and spider mites.

“For those we use biocontrol which is the use of biological produce or biological insects.

“We will release all of the insects that will attack the bad insects.

“We try and do that as much as we can as well as the pruning that we do in order to improve the air circulation and then we remove any pests that will be accumulating on the foliage of the plant.

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“That’s good hygiene and watering as well on the leaves helps keep them clean.

“All that is to avoid chemical spray as much as possible but we do have to do some sometimes when it gets out of control.”

Solene said a classic example of insects that can help keep pest numbers down is using ladybugs to get rid of aphids.

The horticulturist also said they use tiny paralytic wasps which are no bigger than midges to get rid of aphids.

The wasps will lay their eggs inside the aphids or pests and the larvae will eat them.

Solene said she is excited to see the show for herself and is looking forward to seeing the work and effort the Kew Gardens staff have put in.

She said: “It’s been such a tremendous year for everybody and it’s very gratifying to know that our efforts have been recorded.

“I’m looking forward to seeing that that unity of work between all of us and the spotlight being shone on our work and effort – it’s very gratifying for us.”

The first episode will also see staff gearing up for the 25th Orchid Festival that is on show in the Princess of Wales Conservatory.

Storm Ciara also wreaked havoc, closing Kew Gardens on its opening weekend.

The show will share insight into how the team worked together to clean up the mess after a horse chestnut is an unfortunate casualty of the storm.

Kew Gardens: A Year in Bloom starts at 8pm, Thursday 13th May on Channel 5

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