Welcome garden helpers
LADYBIRDS, ladybugs or lady beetles - no matter which way you say it these little ladies are welcome in the backyard of many homes.
The Backyard Buddies program, run by the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife, has encouraged people to appreciate the wildlife that will soon be making appearances in suburbia this month including the ladybird, dollarbirds and egrets.
Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife communication officer Melanie Wagner said all three creatures should be welcomed into backyards due to their ability to get rid of pests.
"Ladybirds are good for your garden because they eat aphids," Ms Wagner said.
She said dollarbirds were good backyard buddies because they ate locusts, grasshoppers, moths, termites, stink bugs and a variety of other bugs.
"They are also very exciting to watch in flight."
Ms Wagner said cattle egrets were not only beautiful but helpful to farmers.
"Cattle egrets ... hang around cows and eat parasites and bugs from their skin and from the paddock as they are stirred up as the cows move around."
- Different species of egrets nest together with as many as 20 nests in each tree. Large egrets nest at the top of the tree and little egrets, intermediate egrets and cattle egrets nest lower down.
- There are four types of egret, cattle egrets which graze with cattle or even perch on the cows' backs, looking for insects that the cows disturb; the large egret which is found in rivers, lakes or dams; the little egret which has a black bill and legs; and the intermediate egret that has many long, lacy, gorgeous plumes during breeding, a green face, a red bill and red upper legs.
- Don't worry about insects at your place.
- Avoid using pesticides and chemicals on your garden and instead let birds like the dollarbird be your natural bug controller. They will jump at the job!
- Lure ladybirds to your garden by making a concoction of honey, water and brewers yeast. Spread it in the garden and ladybirds will come to visit.