Allotment Articles 2.
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When a pond is freshly filled with sterile tap water it is a fairly inhospitable place for life, but very quickly the water softens and becomes a friendlier place. Within a week, or two insects suddenly appear as if by magic. Some are very beneficial to the pond acting as a good source of food and others can be a menace to small fish.
DAPHNIA, or water flea is perhaps the single mast beneficial insect to arrive in your pond. It is a tiny insect about 1 or 2 millimeters and looks just like a flea with its jerky movements through the water. It feeds off the algae and breeds prolifically.
Daphnia are an excellent source of food and can be bought by the bag full at most aquatic retailers. Fish love them and go frantic to catch them when any are introduced.
MIDGE LARVAE are another good source of food for fish and will arrive unannounced in the season. They wriggle about in the water and are often to be found hanging upside down from the surface as they breathe.
BLOOD WORMS will arrive and breed in any rotting vegetation such as leaves in the Autumn, or an infected lily. They are also often sold at aquatic retailers as food for tropical fish. Blood worms are like tiny red worms that continuously wriggle in the water and provide fish with a good source of natural protein.
WATER BOATMEN These insects grow quite large and their legs move in a rowing action making them look like a little rowing boat moving through the water. They are silver underneath so that the fish cant see them because although they are quite large and tough the bigger fish love to eat them. Water boatmen prey on other pond life and even small fish so it is a good idea to remove any that are found.
POND SKATERS as their name suggests skate on the surface of the water held up by the water tension. Again the bigger fish will eat them and they are fairly harmless.
GREAT DIVING BEETLE is an aggressive predator that grows very large for an English beetle. It will dive and catch small fish killing them, so it should always be removed. LILY BEETLE is a tiny beetle that eats lilies making holes in the leaves. If any leaves are infected the best way to cure the problem is to simply remove the leaves.
DRAGON FLIES are an enormous insect with shimmering wings that will visit most ponds to lay its eggs. The eggs develop into a larva that is quite vicious, but as fish will eat them they donít generally get the chance to develop and prey on the smaller pond life.
SNAILS are not of course insects but they will be found in most ponds just the same. There are two types of snail to be found in British ponds, the Stagnallis and the Ramshorn. The latter can be bought at aquatic shops and is said to be a good scavenger not eating healthy leaves. The Ramshorn snail is black and its shell looks like a coiled up hose pipe, or curly rams horn hence its name.
The Stagnallis is conical and will eat lily leaves, or any other sort of vegetation so should not be encouraged. However in a well-stocked pond it is unlikely that either will grow and multiply because the fish love to eat them. If you have snails in your pond you will see a string of jelly on the underside of the lily leaves. These are the eggs that will eventually develop into 100s of snails. It is a simple job to remove them, or treatments can be bought to kill the snails if they become a nuisance.