Fruit growing

How to keep pests off strawberries

Last updated on May 9th, 2022

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Strawberries are a wonderfully simple fruit to grow, especially when you consider that they produce their own runners and can easily fill an entire garden bed providing luscious, bright red fruit every year. The problem is, you aren’t the only one keeping your eyes peeled for that red fruit, and given how the fruit develops beneath the leaves, you probably won’t be the first one to see it either.

There are so many things that come for strawberry fruits. These include local cats or your dog, rabbits, aphids, slugs, snails, birds, and more.

So how can you keep pests off your strawberries so that you don’t end up with a harvest full of holes? Where everything else is enjoying the rewards of your harvest except you.

There are a lot of ways, and it’s really contingent upon the type of pest you’re having trouble with. Below we look at some of the most common pests to affect strawberry plants, starting with probably the most common, birds.

Have you ever considered growing strawberries in strawberry planters instead of in the ground? Check out my step by step guide here on how to plant a strawberry planter.

Birds

Birds are a particularly pesky problem. They are the most obvious intruders and there’s very little you can do to scare them off. If you regularly invite birds to your garden, or even if you don’t invite them, they will very quickly see your fruit and consume it before you have a chance you get your hands on it.

There are a lot of myths surrounding what you can do to get rid of birds, like fake predator birds or scarecrows, sometimes even old CDs that you hang from wire that reflect the sun. Each of these things may work for a season but their efficacy wears off once birds get accustomed to them and start to figure out that they’re being deceived. It’s important to mix and match what you are doing rather than trying all of these measures in one season. Mixing and matching just one per season may be your best bet.

A couple of ways that have proven effective are using netting or a fruit cage.


Bugs

Then there are the bugs. If you don’t have intruders from above you have them from below. Pests are drawn to the fruit because of its scent. That being said, a really good way to keep pests away from your strawberries is to plant other crops with equally powerful aromas, for example, onions, garlic, basil or mint.

Similarly, you can plant flowers that attract beneficial insects like ladybirds, spiders, and parasitic wasps who will be more than happy to eat the pests you have before they are able to decimate your strawberry crops.

If you already have an infestation then things get a bit more complicated. Organic pest controls like spraying mixtures of soap and water, neem oil, castor oil, hot peppers, and orange peels can keep insects and other pests from eating the strawberries.

Insecticidal soaps mixed with water and 4 tablespoons of dish soap can help you douse aphids if the ladybirds are insufficient. You can, of course, take the pesticide route and spray with a pesticide designed for edible fruits.


Slugs and Snails

Slugs and snails can also be problematic and for this, the good old-fashioned beer trap is a great solution. Fill a container with beer and then dig a hole so that the container or the lid where the beer is placed remains level with the soil. You can play several of these around the perimeter of your strawberry plants.

The slugs get drawn to the beer, fall in, and drown. Similarly, you can cut up or break up eggshells and leave them in the perimeter around your garden bed because these shells will physically harm the slugs as they try to cross it, preventing them from getting to your strawberries. If you use the eggshells though, you will have to replenish your border regularly. Copper strips can also be placed around the perimeter of your raised beds as a deterrent too.

Last update on 2022-03-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Welcome to my site, my name is John and I have been lucky enough to work in horticultural nurseries for over 15 years in the UK. As the founder and editor as well as researcher, I have a City & Guilds Horticultural Qualifications which I proudly display on our About us page. I now work full time on this website where I review the very best gardening products and tools and write reliable gardening guides. Behind this site is an actual real person who has worked and has experience with the types of products we review as well as years of knowledge on the topics we cover from actual experience. You can reach out to me at john@pyracantha.co.uk

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