Indiscriminate use of pesticides destroys the delicate balance of a garden's ecosystem so its far more sensible and indeed eco-friendly to leave natural predators to deal with unwanted aphids and other pests.

In addition to a range of spiders, several insects are also friends of the gardener.

Foremost among these are ladybirds, hoverflies and lacewing flies whose larvae consume huge numbers of aphids attacking our choice plants. The photo shows a ladybird larva among a group of aphids and those will rapidly be eaten.

Whatever people may think of them, common wasps, far less common nowadays, play a vital role in keeping harmful insects in check during their nesting season and only when nests die off in late summer and with no more grubs to feed, will they seek out the sweet things in life and pester us at picnics or barge in on the barbeque.

Some years ago when walking along a remote country lane and when butterflies were plentiful, I became aware of dozens of peacock and small tortoiseshell butterflies flying over the hedge beside me, dropping onto the road, collapsing and dying where they fell.

Clearly the flowers and nettles on which they were feeding and laying eggs in the field on the far side of the hedge had been sprayed with insecticide .

It was heartbreaking to witness such senseless mass slaughter happening right in front of me.