The Garden has an army of birds, insects and amphibians to control pests and diseases. By encouraging a diverse range of wildlife over many decades we have achieved a balance between pests and predators. We accept a low level of pests and some damage to plants but this means we rarely ever have to use chemicals.
In the hot and humid environment of the Glasshouse Range, pests can quickly become a problem, and here we employ an integrated pest management plan. This primarily uses biological control, so a range of predators are introduced through the season to control pests. In 1964, a tiny wasp, Encarsia, was collected in the Garden's Glasshouse Range which has proved a highly effective parasite of white fly. Encarsia is now bred in hundreds of millions and is a major component of biological control systems for pest management under glass. You will see little packets containing the eggs of this tiny wasp attached to plants throughout the Glasshouse Range.
Occasionally, if the pests become too numerous, we may use modern pesticides based on soap-like compounds which work by blocking the insects' breathing systems rather than by poisoning. This is both good for the environment and helps the predators gain the upper hand again.