5 DIY Remedies to Keep Fruit Flies Away

Fruit flies are a nuisance. Imagine yourself enjoying a meal and then suddenly, you are being swarmed by tiny insects trying to have a taste of your food.

Not only are they an annoyance, they also pose threats to you and your family as they carry diseases by contaminating food with E. Coli and Coliform bacteria that are both very harmful to the health. Read more

Stingless Bees: Tetragonula and Austroplebeia

Australia is home to over 1500 species of bees. 10 of these are stingless, honey-producing bees such as Tetragonula (formerly known as Trigona) and Austroplebeia.

There are a variety of names given to these bees such as native bees, native honey bees and a peculiar one called sweat bees which was named such because it tends to land on sweaty person just to quench its thirst. These bees are generally hairy, small and dark in colour. They carry nectar and pollen through their hind legs which are purposely hairy to be able to hold pollen and nectar. These bees, especially Tetragonula and Austroplebeia, are both very common in the Brisbane area. Read more

Myths and Facts About Pests [Infographic]

Let us get up close and personal with our unwanted house guests. If you think you know everything there is to know about cockroaches, spiders, rats and other creepy crawlies you are sharing your house with, you’d be amazed to know there’s a lot more you are yet to find out. Read more

Importance of Hygienic Practices in the Kitchen

Proper hygiene must always be observed most especially when handling and preparing food. This is not only important in the food industry but should also be observed strictly even in domestic settings. Read more

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What You Need to Know About Silverfish

Perhaps when asked which is the oldest pest to ever roam the earth, many of you would say, “cockroach”. Old? Yes, that’s true. After all, they’ve been in existence since around 320 million years ago, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth.

But the oldest? Nah… It’s the silverfish.

This is not a well-known fact because, quite understandably, the silverfish is an underrated group of pests. It’s probably because they are not in any way harmful to humans and they do not carry any diseases. Read more

3 Must Dos in the Garden in Spring

Deciding on what to plant and what not to plant in Spring is not much of an issue anymore since we all know the weather allows us to plant ‘almost’ anything we want.

Here are some things you ought to try this Spring. Read more

4 Natural Pest Control Remedies for Your Garden

Every garden is a gold mine. They make a good food source as they bristle with both plant and animal life. However, this is also the very reason why you need to take extra measures to maintain the abundance of your garden. Eco-rich gardens attract pests, especially those that are organically grown. Read more

Grooming Your Pets to Avoid Flea Infestation

When you ask pet owners what they despise most about when it comes to their fur babies, more often than not, their response would be fleas.

Have you got a flea problem with your pets? Your best approach in getting rid of them is to intervene with their life cycle. The methods for first defense are actually simple. To control adult fleas, you just need to vacuum and launder regularly, along with constantly grooming and bathing your pets. Read more

Mozzies in Australian Suburbs

Mosquito-borne diseases are now back in the spotlight with the outbreak of Zika virus, which has now been reported to be affecting a rapidly growing list of cases all throughout the globe. Currently, it is said to be present in almost 40 countries, from Norway to North Queensland. Read more

Creating a Pest-Free Organic Garden

Are you wondering what it takes to have a beautiful and relatively pest-free garden? You can actually create one. There is a series of strategies you can use to create this type of garden. However, these strategies will only be effective if you have the willingness to learn about the beneficial interactions that might happen between plants and other life forms. Other than that, you need to have a better understanding about the ultimate goal in gardening —and that is not having the ‘perfect’ plants. At the same time, you should be aware that not all insects are harmful to you. When you know how to create livable ecosystems in your yard, you will be rewarded with a rich and abundant garden, bursting with fauna and flora.

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You cannot achieve this by showering your garden with pesticides, fungicides and herbicides. If anything, they actively create conditions that are susceptible to pest explosions and they lack the natural defences that help prevent pest build-up.

Natural Strategies to Get Rid of Pests

Choose the right plants. Design your garden based on the climate and soil. Choose a suitable selection of plants. Plant health relies on the time of the year that rain falls. They become vulnerable to disease problems if rain falls at a different time of the year. Take for example the Grapes Vitis vinifera, tree lucerne Chamaecytisus proliferus and figs (Ficus carica). These plants all evolved in a Mediterranean climate with a dry summer and will likely to suffer fungal attack with a predominantly summer/autumn rainfall.

Use healthy soil. This is a major factor in pest balance. Mulch, a layer of material added to the soil, creates a habitat for insect predators such as ground beetles, centipedes and spiders, thus protecting the soil and improving its fertility and health.

Crop rotation is a practice of growing different kinds of vegetables belonging to different plant families in beds the following year, which is considered a useful strategy as it prevents the buildup of soil-borne diseases.

Crops known as green manures are grown to produce and build nitrogen and organic matter levels. They can break disease cycles such as root-rot fungal pathogens and knot nematodes when used in crop rotations. For example, the Marigold (BQ Mulch) are buried into the soil. The chemicals from the decomposing plants are then released to suppress diseases.

Invite insect-eating birds. Birds known to eat insects are the Honeyeaters, Thornbills, Flycatchers, Robins, Warblers, Pardalotes, Treecreepers, Willy Wagtails and Wrens. Build nesting sites in your garden that can provide privacy and are free from predators. Native shrubs make good nesting sites, at the same time, it can provide nectar to attract nectar-feeding birds like Honeyeaters.

Here’s a list of other shrub species that can be made as nesting sites:

  • Grevillea
  • Hakea
  • Leptospermum
  • Melaleuca

Water. Whether it comes in a form of a birdbath or a small pond, water is a fundamental element of the landscape. It provides a reliable source of water for birds, making the garden a good place to build a nest in. Birdbaths should be placed close to densely foliaged shrubs, allowing birds an easy escape from predators. If you have cats, it would be best if you fit them with multiple, small bells, or a mirrored collar to help prevent decimation of the wildlife population, as does restricting their wandering.

If you opt to have a small pond, allowing predators like frogs to live and breed in your pond is definitely a smart move. Known to be active nocturnal animals, frogs can devour large numbers of pests giving you less to worry about. However, you may have to avoid putting goldfish in your pond as they will eat the tadpoles. Another predator you should encourage are the dragonflies. Their larvae feed on mosquito wrigglers and as they grow into adults, they start to prey on flying insects.

Important predators. Not all insects are pests. Some are even considered to be beneficial to people being predators of other insects. You should be able to recognise the good bugs from the bad and here are some of the few:

  • Spiders
  • Centipedes
  • Ground beetles
  • Ladybeetles
  • Predatory mites
  • Wasps

Apart from creating a beautiful and healthy organic garden, providing shelter to beneficial insects should be part of your goal as well. Dealing with pests alone is not enough. You must find the real cause of the problem and design a way to resolve it. What we often miss to see is that our gardens are often devoid of habitat. Before resorting to biocides, we simply need to create a garden using the principles of natural ecosystems.