Top 10 Gardening Pests, Ranked by the RHS

The Royal Horticultural Society has revealed its top 10 list of pests, based on inquiries from gardeners in 2016. Last year slugs and snails were pushed off the top spot by the box tree moth, but in 2016 the pests came back with a vengeance and a record number of enquiries.

But while the top spots were predictable, it was the emergence of pests such as glasshouse thrips and fuchsia gall mite that changed the look of the list.

Slugs and snails

Last year slugs and snails were pushed off the top spot by the box tree moth, but in 2016 the pests came back with a vengeance and a record number of enquiries.

But while the top spots were predictable, it was the emergence of pests such as glasshouse thrips and fuchsia gall mite that changed the look of the list.

Fuchsia gall mite

Fuchsia gall mite moved up to third most problematic pest of 2016. First detected in mainland Britain in 2007, it is now widespread in southern England and has become a serious problem for fuchsia growers. The microscopic mites infest new growth at the shoot tips, where they suck sap and secrete chemicals that prevent the normal development of leaves and flowers. As the infestation increases, foliage becomes distorted until the plants no longer produce normal leaves or flower buds.

Glasshouse thrips

The rise of glasshouse thrips was even more spectacular, coming from outside the top 10 in 2015 to fourth place in 2016. Also known as thunder flies, glasshouse thrips were primarily a problem within greenhouses until 2008 when the pest began to be reported on outdoor shrubs. It is thought that most outbreaks occurred on shrubs in sheltered positions in warm urban areas, although further research is required to determine why they have become such a problem outdoors. Adult glasshouse thrips have narrow, dark brown bodies up to 2mm long with an orange-tipped abdomen and insects that feed by sucking sap from leaves and flowers. Infestations are characterised by a silvery discoloration of the upper surface of leaves.

Top 10 Pests:

2016 enquiries 2015 enquiries
1. Slugs/snails 1. Box tree moth
2. Vine weevil 2. Slugs/snails
3. Fuchsia gall mite 3. Large cabbage butterfly
4. Glasshouse thrips 4. Vine weevil
5. Woolly aphid 5. Cushion scale
6. Tortrix moths 6. Lily beetle
7. Box tree moth 7. Rosemary beetle
8. Rosemary beetle 8. Fuchsia gall mite
9. Viburnum beetle 9. Woolly aphid
10. Ants 10. Rosy apple aphid