Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Insect pests - past and present

We seem to be inundated with ants at present - probably because we are not getting any rain.  They are really amazing where they turn up and how quickly they realise there is something around which they would like to eat!  There was absolutely no sign of any ants, big or small when we put a plate of biscuits on the table while we were enjoying a coffee break.  By the time Bill picked up the plate as we finished, the plate was covered with myriads of very tiny ants.  I have to keep the sugar in a screwtop jar rather than the sugar bowl as there are some very large black ants arrive to indulge themselves!  They also turn up in the hand basin in our bathroom late at night!  I wondered what the black patch was the first time this happened, I have no idea what they find there, but it is very easy to flush them away - or send them 'off to  see the city' as my grandson used to say, giggling like crazy.
When we were first married there used to be quite a few slugs in the garden - never any snails.  I can't say I like either, but I would much prefer snails which you can stand on to squash - slugs are just awful.  I have no idea why we don't see any these days, but I am very glad they have gone elsewhere.
We used to have a big problem with small red spiders which would be in all the corners of the ceilings and  other crevices.  We hardly ever see any of those these days, but I  suspect they are being eaten b y the barking geckoes which have appeared in the last few years.  I would much prefer the spiders, they don't cause  all the damage the geckoes can.  These geckoes will eat thorough wiring and  end up fusing air conditioners, with very expensive consequences.  They also poo all over the place making an awful mess.  These geckoes are not native to Australia, not sure when and how they arrived.  Native geckoes do not live in houses, they are bush creatures and as far as I know are very quiet.  These geckoes only grow to a few inches long (or much less if Bill catches up with them first), but they have an extraordinarily loud bark.

The birdlife in the garden has changed considerably over the years, but that is mainly due to the native trees and shrubs we have planted I think.  Unfortunately there a few species that have been chased away by more aggressive birds, but on the whole we have a bigger variety of birds than we had  in our early days.
This was all prompted because I don't really have anything much happening here at present, the weather is still too hot to be interested in outdoor activities much.  Hopefully Autumn will actually arrive sometime soon, though that is likely to mean no more rain for quite a while!