Nature's Place

Bugs Galore …

This one went to sleep in the Sunflower, no better place to wake up first for an early start to the day.

This one went to sleep in the Sunflower, no better place to wake up first for an early start to the day.

… or, how to attract bugs to your garden so you don’t have to go hunting and can’t say you can’t find any to shoot – with the camera of course … :) You don’t have to be a gardener, sense will do, just don’t think too much.

Bugs need all the same things we do, so it shouldn’t be difficult finding any once the basics are provided – by you and the available but often unknown, unpredictable or hidden nature. These days, after so many years of insecticide and habitat destruction, ignorance of the simple fact of things, nature can do with a little help from friends – people who have some respect for the little things without the need of reward other than the nature itself. That’s the idea anyway.

This one came in the house one night and I caught it when it landed, put it on a Sunflower and got a few shots - no idea what it is, Sawfly maybe ...

This one came in the house one night and I caught it when it landed, put it on a Sunflower and got a few shots – no idea what it is, Sawfly maybe …

Where to start? Put yourself in the creature’s shoes and look at what you need for the basics. They are no different to us, just smaller and it’s a jungle to them, or a desert, but wild and savage either way. We’ve got a piece of earth, no matter how small or barren it is, and depending on what is most obviously absent I would start with that. If it’s shelter that’s missing provide some, in the form of plants and old tree trunks if there are any handy, or anything that will provide shelter from the elements will do, even bricks or just bits and pieces.

Plants need water and so do bugs, so water is necessary, watering the plants and an open and available source which can be as simple as a bucket you keep filled – bird’s love it too – will serve many creatures as long as there is ramp access of some kind, like a stick or other stable buoyant object/s for them to drink and gather from.

Got a good watering as I do the daily rounds, didn't seem to mind much ...

Got a good watering as I do the daily rounds, didn’t seem to mind much …

For food a compost heap of only vegetable matter is a great production ground. Keep it moist and shaded and it will be a centre of life in the garden even if it’s not obviously so. Don’t be too discrimination, the spiders and plant bugs have to have their day, and the garden will eventually find its own equilibrium. Save any plants you can and be generous to the garden and its needs – and it will be generous in return. That’s the way it works, diligence is always rewarded, and you don’t have to be an expert though there’s nothing stopping you if that’s what you want in order to know and understand more.

Flies, love the compost heap. Also attract predators, another form of life in the wild little nature.

Flies, love the compost heap. Also attract predators, another form of life in the wild little nature.

Shelter is essential if the other basics are in place. If there’s nowhere to sleep or rest the bugs won’t stay for long – would you? So the plants are shelter to some bugs, the compost is that to others, you can have a heap of wood in another spot, and then there is the mimicry of specifics such as for bees that I have.

I have an old cut log that I drilled varying sized holes in for all the flying creatures that might take up residence. I had it up for months before any bee took an interest, and then wasps and other flying creatures came along and many holes are now occupied by the next generation.

If I am attending enough I may even see some of these babes emerging.

If you have wings and are the right size, and like holes, this is the place for you - see the bee approaching bottom left ...

If you have wings and are the right size, and like holes, this is the place for you – see the bee approaching bottom left …

One thing the little nature doesn’t need is philosophy, or teaching of any kind. They are instinctively intelligent and don’t need to dwell on anything outside the moment so they are as content as can be, no problem.

One thing I have to watch out for is the Ichneumon Wasp, she parasitises the others nests and that won’t do. So I discourage them, in my way. Just as I discourage parasites of another kind, the human kind …

Mantis, keeps the hungry Grasshoppers in check, naturally ...

Mantis, keeps the hungry Grasshoppers in check, naturally …

Other predators are also attracted to the garden if you give it enough time.

Mark Berkery ……. Click any picture to enlarge in a new tab – best in FireFox

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20 Responses

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  1. Alex Jones said, on 31/12/2012 at 8:07 am

    Sustainability in motion. Well done.

  2. Jonan Castillon said, on 16/12/2012 at 4:33 pm

    Awesome macro photos of our popular bugs. The contrast of bee and sunflower is quite picture perfect!

    • Mark said, on 17/12/2012 at 3:55 am

      Thanks Jonan, it’s the best I could get Picasa to do with the JPG …

  3. Ryan said, on 12/12/2012 at 7:43 am

    Love the idea with drilling holes in the wood, thanks for the tip.
    Amazingly beautiful Jumper as well..

    • Mark said, on 12/12/2012 at 3:22 pm

      Thanks Ryan … Holes are where many creatures rest overnight, and make nests, so it just seems natural.

  4. biobabbler said, on 12/12/2012 at 3:01 am

    Amazing photographs, jeepers. Everybody loves a compost pile. My chickens love it, the local deer love it, ground squirrels dig into it, bugs are everywhere, and last year the metal cage it’s in was flung aside, so my interpretation was that bears also love them. =) Come to think of it, if I were to buy a wildlife camera, I could do worse than install it near the compost pile….

    • Mark said, on 12/12/2012 at 3:15 am

      Ha! Not everybody, humans are inclined to think them unhygienic. But bears? You must live somewhere relatively untouched by civilisation. Bet you could find more bugs than a cat scratches.

      I like that : “If you understand everything, you must be misinformed.” Or just young and arrogant. :)

  5. standingoutinmyfield said, on 11/12/2012 at 9:22 pm

    Think your wasp is a Tiphiid, maybe? :P
    Amazing Salticid photo!

    • Mark said, on 12/12/2012 at 2:10 am

      Yes, could be, has the same scissors jaws of images I checked against the name Tiphiid. That Jumper was the biggest I have seen, about 3/4 inch body length – comes of letting the fly’s have their day.

      Good to see you got home ok … :)

  6. TheNomadicEagle said, on 11/12/2012 at 7:57 pm

    Beautiful man! Love the fly:)

    • Mark said, on 12/12/2012 at 2:06 am

      Yes, I like the fly too, good contrast. Using a new BG in the darkness that came out good enough …

  7. Chillbrook said, on 11/12/2012 at 6:42 pm

    Brilliant!

  8. Iva P. said, on 11/12/2012 at 6:26 pm

    Fantastic creatures.

  9. Jason Asher said, on 11/12/2012 at 6:03 pm

    Beautiful mate.. love the green jumper in particular.

    • Mark said, on 11/12/2012 at 6:10 pm

      Hello Jason, long time …

      • jasonasher said, on 11/12/2012 at 6:27 pm

        It certainly has been mate… I’ve been very lazy with my macro lately, and stupidly. Don’t “feel” it as much as I do with my landscape work, but keep meaning to make the effort and get out there. I still enjoy looking in on your stellar images though. :) Hope you’ve been well.

        • Mark said, on 12/12/2012 at 2:04 am

          Yes, well enough for an existence where body’s age and die. :)

          My advice? Don’t do macro if you are attracted to do elsewhere.


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