News

Bugs in the City!

“Where did all the ladybugs go?” I often hear young children ask this time if the year. They are around you just need to be a detective! In winter these critters are often found in sheltered positions in cracks of wood, under rocks, underground. 

Butterfly in chrysalis on wooden door

Here’s a butterfly in a chrysalis in the cracks of the shed door in my backyard.

Slayer running under a leaf

Beetle larvae are in the soil curled up like witchetty grubs getting ready to pupate and turn into beetles in spring. Just make sure you return these shelters the way you found them so you don’t disturb these creatures when they are most vulnerable!

And whilst you’re out there ensure your garden has food for them. Many native bees are still active in hives and need nectar or pollen so gardens that flower all year round are best. 

Bee on rosemary, Winter flowers

My rosemary flowers in winter attracting many pollinators which otherwise would go hungry until spring. Many natives and indigenous plants flower predominantly in the cool winter months helping our birds and insects and providing much needed winter colour!

Maroon birdhood Orchid in late winter, Grants Reserve Mt Dandenong
Pink Heath (our Victorian floral emblem), Winter, Mt Dandenong

Record/log your observations

The importance of sharing your findings with the public cannot be underestimated. Although you might not know the species or how rare a sighting of a bug is, there are many passionate entomologists and ecologists who would be so excited to know certain species are out there! You could discover a new species like these St Thomas Primaey School kids did (Rare Spider Discovered By Young Citizen Scientists Verified)!!

Take photos with your smartphone (with GPS location) and describe as much as you can about your observations and share these on apps such as:

Aggh creepy crawlies!

If you feel creeped out by bugs, the only cure for fear is EDUCATION!! Read about the 30 insects that run the city of Melbourne in the book The Little Things That Run The City! Amazing facts and beautiful illustrations all a result of scientific research by RMITs Centre for Urban Research and The City of Melbourne in 2015-2016 (http://cur.org.au/project/the-little-things-that-run-the-city/).

Read the book online: http://www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/SiteCollectionDocuments/little-things-run-city.pdf

For those rainy days visit Bug Lab: little bugs, super powers at the Melbourne Museum and explore the lives and forms of many amazing insects – many are in Giant proportions! It is truly humbling to know life on this planet would probably stop if we lived bug free!

You can always see hear and even smell insects, spiders and invertebrates at the Bugs Alive! Exhibition at the Museum.

And after all that, if the only insect you still prefer is a dead one, I recommend a bush walk along the Yarra. Many carnivorous plants like sundew (Drosera spp.) are glistening with sticky nectar in the sunny spots, ready and waiting for a bug to fall into its trap just like the green aphid did in the picture below (Kangaroo Ground Reserve)! So cool!

Tall sundew with aphid, late winter, Kangaroo Ground

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