The old remedy was to put hay-filled pots on the top of stakes amid the plants, but this is unsightly and also entails the irksome task of emptying the pots and killing the sheltering earwigs daily. Still it is effective, although B.H.C. has rendered it largely unnecessary.
A reasonably effective bait can be made up from 2 lbs bran, -12- pint treacle, lb sodium fluoride (a commercial poison) mixed with water.
Thin the treacle with water, dissolve the sodium fluoride in a little water, add the two together and then mix with the bran. Sufficient water should be used to make the mess moist but not too wet.
Place in heaps among the plants, particularly those which show signs of damage, and cover with a piece of slate to prevent cats or dogs from being tempted to sample the rather unappetizing mash, to their detriment.
The main thing to bear in mind, whatever spray or dust is used, is that it must be given at regular intervals, say once every ten days, and more frequently than this if rain happens to fall within two days of application. T
he biting insects, capsid, the allied tarnished plant bug, earwigs and caterpillars, although they do not transmit the virus in addition to their other misdeeds, are still capable of causing considerable damage if left to feed unchecked.
Capsid, and the tarnished plant hug, tend to attack the growing points of dahlias, and also the developing buds, worming their way down to feed in comparative comfort.
Their unwelcome attentions cause distortion of the attacked part, which, in severe attacks, is almost eaten away, so that the buds and growing points fail to open properly, or if they do open are full of minute holes.
The base of the bud is often attacked also, so that this becomes lopsided and misshapen. Fortunately both are easily eliminated by the same sprays and treatments recommended for the aphides and thrips, so that the spraying, dusting routine advocated will eliminate these.
Place in conical heaps near affected plants, or in the frames, covered with a piece of slate. Dead, or seemingly dead, snails and slugs should be collected daily if possible, and dropped into a pail containing a strong solution of salt and water to make sure they are dead.
This is a necessary precaution as the pests may sometimes recover if the weather is extremely wet. As an alternative to the use of metaldehyde in solid there are a number of proprietary solutions available containing this chemical in liquid form.
These should be diluted in accordance with the maker’s instructions and the affected areas watered well with the dilute solution. A most effective measure, but a little expensive if a large number of plants are grown.