Manna from Mallee

Lerp on Eucalyptus behriana

It’s been a while between posts and there has been a number of things I have meant to write on. Maybe I’ll catch up soon. But on the weekend I went for a walk in the “Melton Mallee” – Long Forest nature conservation reserve, that is – and I’ll share a few interesting things I saw.

I was there on a hot day, which I find is a great time to be out in the bush. The light is strong and really brings out the bright greens and bronzes of Eucalypt leaves and trunks. The sparse shade is all the more welcome, and the big sky stretches above. Not too many animals are out in the heat of the day, and it’s quiet enough to hear those that are. Continue reading

Harlequin Bug Hell

The Harlequin Bug, Dindymus versicolor, is a native Australian insect that can become a pest in gardens and agriculture.

You can buy poison to kill it; I wouldn’t put poison in my garden if I can avoid it.

For ornamental plants, the commercial product Confidor is available; its active ingredient is Imidacloprid, a neonicotinoid – a class of chemicals now banned in some countries because of their suspected role in colony collapse disorder of bees.

Heidi, the blogger at A Year In A Gippsland Garden, relays the recipe from Gardening Australia’s Peter Cundall: a strong mixture of cheap (hopefully, biodegradable) detergent in water. Spray it on the bugs, or knock them into a bucket of it.

(photo from A Year In A Gippsland Garden – visit that blog for more excellent pics and discussion)

How to get it out of your garden by other means? I looked for scientific papers and there isn’t much, but here’s what I found.

Control of mallow/hibiscus species (like the weeds that commonly grow in my lawn here) seems sensible, based on a paper from Latrobe University, published in the Australian Journal of Ecology in 1981 (see table reproduced below). Continue reading