The enemy of my enemy is my friend
Over the past few years we (and others out there) have been experiencing an explosion in the number of green shield / vegetable / stink bugs (Nezara viridula). We try and be accommodating to the various other creatures we share the world with, however these things are especially annoying with the damage they do to summer vegetables and fruit. In particular we find they enjoy tomatoes, beans and corn with lesser damage done to capsicums and fruit.
While there are a number of documented predators of this insect the only ones I have actually seen in action are poultry and spiders.
A year or two back I introduced a juvenile bug to a small jumping spider who quickly pounced and commenced feeding. More recently some visiting students noticed a decent sized wolf spider (Lycosidae) lunching on an adult shield bug.
It's reassuring to witness the local ecosystem operating to maintain balance and equilibrium. As the population or one organism increases so does the opportunities for their predators. Knowing this it is essential that our gardens provide adequate and appropriate habitats for these various helpers. And while our tendency for binary, blank and white thinking makes us quick to label species as friends or foe we should take a moment to contemplate that, just like humans, other organisms have multiple roles to play, giving and taking as they participate in the dance of life.March 27, 2020
Predatory insectsSince arriving at this location in 2009 and allowing it to revert to a more natural way while introducing lots of new biodiversity, we have noticed a continual increase in the numbers and types of insects and other small creatures. There is a whole world of barely noticed activity where spiders and flies, ladybugs and butterflies live out their tiny dramas...
Here a preying mantis devours a fly on a pear tree.April 02, 2019
LadybirdA positive site in the garden, the common ladybird is a beneficial insect as it consumes aphids. Shown here on a sunflower leaf they are also fond of the flowers of parsnip, coriander and celery. A quick audit of a small section of the garden revealed over 120 of these wonderful creatures.December 17, 2015
PhaceliaDetails Quick growing manure crop or as a sanctuary for predator insects to feed and plan their assaults from. Dig or plough in anytime. Sow from September through to April at a rate of 30g per 10m2 or 1kg per 300m2.Common name PhaceliaLatin name Phacelia tanacetifoliaHeight (m) 1Forest layer herbaceousDate July 08, 2013Propigation method Sow directShade / Sun Full sunSoil type MostFlowers PurpleSource http://www.kingsseeds.co.nz
The mitesI noticed a bee land and franticly clean itself the other day. There was obviously something 'wrong' or upsetting it. I was able to pin it down and inspect what appeared to be some kind of parasite. Using tweezers I was able to catch one of the slippery little creatures but at least one more eluded me, hiding between the bees thorax and abdomen. On further research I am confident what I saw was verroa, which is known to be present in the area.
The good news is... while verroa mites have been found on bumblebees they are not able to reproduce on them however this does make the bumblebee a vector for spreading the mites.
June 14, 2013
Wild-flowers spreadingAs part of our commitment to the humble bumble and our general enjoyment of displacing grass, we have established a bunch of micro pioneer gardens. These are bubbles of hardy, self seeding, bee friendly blooms that will (hopefully) expand and spread until they join and fill the available space.
This approach of trying to passively replace grass using seed dispersing annual flowers did not work. Poppies returned for a few seasons before vanishing.December 14, 2012
Bumblebee nestOur efforts to create a hospitable environment for bumblebees seems to be paying off. The fuzzy little creatures can be seen on almost any of the numerous types of flowers we have spreading across the property. To top if off we discovered a nest inside the concrete block wall of the chook house and piggery.
There is a contented buzzing humming emanating from the wall and every now and then individuals can be seen bumbling in and out.November 20, 2012
September 04, 2012
Stage 1 - Trees, shrubs, ground cover and climbersThe first part of planting is complete with over 150 new substantial, long lived plants finally in the ground.
Selected species include:
- Silk tree
- Tree Lucerne
- Winter Sweet
- European hazelnut
- South African tree heath (pictured)
- Shining gum
- Flowering ash
- Hybrid witch hazel
- Green flowered hellebore
- Golden rain tree
- Amur maakia
- Kobus magnolia
- Fraqgrant epaulette tree
- Japanese fodder willow
- Chinese sweet box
- Chinese wisteria
- Black Locust