This year has been a bad year for blackfly, made worse (in our garden at least) by the fact that they are moved around from one plant to another by ants.
They started on the broad beans which they forced me to harvest earlier than usual so they were smaller and migrated to the dwarf french beans and then to the climbing beans. Despite using a spray insecticide (something I wouldn’t normally do) the aphids were only knocked back for a couple of weeks and then spread throughout my vegetables, courgettes being the worst affected.
It was made worse by the recent spate of very hot, dry weather. The only source of moisture seems to be our vegetables. They tried attacking the tomatoes but they seem to be able to defend themselves and there are quite a lot of dead blackfly and ants around the plants.
Today seemed to be the right heat & humidity for the ants to decide to fly which encouraged lots of gulls to go around and catch them. I thought the magpies and green woodpeckers would also have a go but they didn’t seem to be interested (or at least as far as I could see). I did see what appeared to be three Red Kites though. Not seen them before in the area (but that’s possibly just not being out at the right time). Our bird book says “Red Kites are reduced to a remnant in Britain” but then it was published in 1978 since when they’ve almost become a pest in some areas. Beautiful none the less.