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posted 18 Dec 2015, 04:07 by D Graves   [ updated 18 Dec 2015, 04:30 ]
As Summer kicks in, and with everything growing well due to consistent rains, we are noticing more and more predators in the gardens.  Well, I think there are more. This is great because on some days we  inspect the fruits trees or berries, or almost any other food plant for the menace - and end up squashing dozens of grasshoppers like the one below:

They eat almost everything, even rhubarb leaves(!). Anyhow, so that's where the predators come in - we need their help. Here are some of them:

praying mantis on citrus tree

frog next to the back door (catching flies that can't get through the fly netting)

my new favourite - spider in the feijoa - caught in the act of wrapping up a grasshopper! and another snared in the web - can you spot it?

these little tree frogs abound, this one on a lovely flax leaf, but often on rhubarb, citrus, and grape

lizard eating a cicada (I think) - there are many other kinds of lizards around - trying to photograph a large one, but it's very shy..

another amphibian!

And of course there are many more 'helpers' - predatory wasps, birds, bats, and so on and also the domesticated; the ducks and chickens when they are out roaming...

I think the keys to success are:
1.) not spraying any chemicals to kill anything (incl the beneficials)
2.) providing plant diversity for predator habitat
3.) not squashing ALL the bugs - only when they are clearly devouring a plant
4.) creating insect hotels (do a Google search for examples) and other habitat; ponds, rock walls/piles, drilling holes in old wood, and so on
5.) allowing nature to find a balance - if there are too many predators they will run out of food, which means there will always be some undesirable food eating bugs to keep the predators fed...