Pollinators, Predators and Pests


Pollinators, Predators and Pests

The vast majority of the insects we see every day are beneficial or benign. I hope this group will provide a forum to discuss the insect world and all the wonderful and occasionally devastating ways the bugs interact with our gardens.

Members: 96
Latest Activity: Jul 24, 2014

Discussion Forum

Pollinator Friendly Gardening

Started by Ian Morton Oct 21, 2012.

Enhancing habitat for Frogs, Reptiles & Bats in gardens. 5 Replies

Started by Ricardo Valbuena. Last reply by Suburban Micro Food Forest Oct 9, 2012.

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Comment by Ian Morton on November 28, 2012 at 11:11pm

Butterfly House/ Shelter/ Feeder

This butterfly house/ shelter/ feeder gives migrating and hibernating butterflies a helping hand by providing them a place to live. When butterflies migrate they need to find shelter from bad weather. Usually they seek shelter in cracks of trees or buildings. Some butterflies will hibernate in the winter and need shelter to protect them from winter cold. This purposely designed butterfly house will provide habitat for migrating and hibernating butterflies.

  • Removable front panel allowing for cleaning and placement of twigs.
  • Can be used all year round
  • Great gift idea
  • Increases pollination
  • A unique addition to any Garden
  • Easy to clean.

Comment by Ian Morton on August 12, 2012 at 12:13am

Visit our web site www.creativewoodcraft.co.nz/ and Register to receive your free downloadable e-book BEES providing information about Bumble Bees, New Zealand Native Solitary Bees and Leafcutter Bees (this book is specific to New Zealand )

Comment by Ian Morton on August 12, 2012 at 12:12am

 help your flowering fruit trees and gardens by providing a comfy home to Leafcutter Bees and Native New Zealand Solitary Bees.

Creative Woodcraft solitary bee house has four different diameters of nesting tunnels.

Creative Woodcraft Solitary Bee House has four diameters of nesting hole has the capacity to host 6 species of bees and 3 possibly several more species of wasps. By beginning with lucerne leafcutting bees which will emerge from the trap nest there is a very high probability of nesting action from at least one species in the first year, and the potential for more species to appear later. 
All species of bees visiting flowers will be enhancing the level of pollination, and the removal of leafroller larvae by one species of wasp will help reduce damage to some leaves and fruits. For those who don’t like spiders the mason wasps will be seen as beneficial, but of course spiders catch a good number of insects that can be damaging. All told, if even just a few of the species of bees and wasps inhabit your solitary Bee house, there should be plenty of activity to observe and entertain.

So if you’d like to join us in our quest to encourage our native bees – and see your garden explode with blossoms as a result - please provide a healthy habitat for them by purchasing one of our custom-designed Creative WoodcraftSolitary Bee Houses!

We also offer Leafcutter Bee Cells/Cocoons for sale. (Pre order today!) 

As supplies are limited Leafcutting Bee Cell/cocoons orders are processed on a first come first served basis.

We can all use a little more pollination!! 

This unique solitary beehive nesting tray system is designed specifically to attract non-swarming solitary bees. 

These types of bees do not swarm, are gregarious and safe around children and pets, they are naturally attracted to the holes in wood and the Solitary Bee Hive provides a habitat that has become harder for them to find in modern gardens today. 


Comment by Rob Bartrum on January 9, 2012 at 12:10pm

Nice photo. Handy little wasp! Easy to see the blackbirds, but worth taking the time to take a closer look sometimes.

Comment by Kali on January 9, 2012 at 12:03pm

ever wondered who is pollinating the feijoas?

Comment by Kali on January 6, 2012 at 8:05pm

HI Rob, awesome, I had a look at your photos on facebook too from the food forest, lots of good ideas there. might make one of the modest bamboo-in-a-can insect condominiums. i have been noticing a lot more mason bees and parasitic wasps etc in our garden this year than ever before, love watching all the little critters on the flowering things throughout the garden. didn't know there was a west coast permaculture group so glad you gave the link to that too.

Comment by Richard Watson on January 6, 2012 at 6:41am

What a neat idea building that insect home

Comment by Rob Bartrum on January 6, 2012 at 12:03am

Beneficial Insect Homes


How to Build a Home


Mason Bee and other beneficial insect houses provide cover and places to raise young. They're easy and fun to create - from simply drilling holes into a tree trunk to making more elaborate homes from things such as: wood, hollow stems, pumice, pine cones, sticks, straw, old broom heads, or even clay.

The orchard mason bee is a wonderful little creature and will pollinate many plants including many fruit trees. It does not live in a nest like other bees; like many other beneficial insects it uses holes that are already available, either natural or man-made. The male orchard mason bee cannot sting and the female rarely stings.


Mason Bee/Parasitic Wasp/Ladybird House Instructions 

  1. With drill bits of various sizes (5/16th of an inch works best for Mason Bees, other bees and insects such as parasitic wasps can utilise smaller holes) simply take some scrap wood and drill holes 6 to 13cm deep but not all the way through the block. Construct a roof if necessary. Alternatively use bamboo tubes arranged in tins or similar objects (see example photos).
  2. Securely place the house on the side of buildings, posts, or trees which face the rising morning sun.
  3. Scatter some of the houses throughout your community. You may find an excellent location to trap some bees and then move them to your location.
  4. DO NOT move houses after they are in place until at least very late Autumn when temperatures have dropped.
  5. DO NOT use treated wood or spray insecticides on or around houses - especially during open bloom. Use products that are recommended, and during times that the bees and other beneficial insects will not suffer.
Comment by Rob Bartrum on January 6, 2012 at 12:01am

Comment by Rob Bartrum on January 5, 2012 at 11:59pm

Use Plants to Attract Beneficial Insects


Insects perform important functions in our ecosystem. They aerate the soil, pollinate blossoms, control insect and plant pests, and decompose organic matter, thereby reintroducing nutrients into the soil. Like worms, burrowing bugs such as ants and beetles dig tunnels that provide channels for air and water, benefiting soil organisms and plants. Bees play a major role in pollinating fruit trees and flower blossoms. Ladybirds, big-eyed bugs and praying mantis control the size of certain insect populations, such as aphids and caterpillars, which feed on new plant growth. Finally, all insects fertilize the soil with the nutrients from their droppings. While we may call some insects “pests” they are all part of the eco-system and food-chain. They are pests only in an unbalanced eco-system where, left to their own means, they would breed above and beyond their natual order. Eradication should never be the aim. We’re looking at promoting natural control agents to promote balance to the system.


Many beneficial insects are hunters and require a lot of energy in order to stalk their prey (the insects that like to chew or suck on your fruit and veges). Plants provide insects with energy through pollen, nectar and honey dew. These are high-quality, nutrient dense, protein and carbohydrate rich with glucose, fructose and sucrose.


Diversity is the key to integrity. Grow a range of annual and perennial plants that flower in succession to sustain the bees and other insects throughout the year. Aim for simple flowered wild varieties with single rows of petals to allow easy access to pollen and nectar. Avoid the double flowered cultivars. The main plant faimiles that make good fodder are:


Rosaceae: all stone and pip fruits, blackberry, hawthorn


Fabaceae: clovers, lupins, false acacia, tagasaste


Lamiaceae: rosemary, lavender, sage and other salvias,  

thyme, mint, bee balm, basil, catmint


Scrophulariaceae: koromiko, hebe, penstemons, veronicas


Brassicaceae: brassicas, mustard, alyssum


Asteraceae: dandelion, sunflower, dahlias, tansy, yarrow, heleniums, cosmos, echinacea, zinnia


Myrtaceae: pohutukawa, rata, bottlebrush, manuka


Rutaceae: citrus


Ericaceae: heather, ericas


Umbeliferae: dill, wild carrot, coriander, caraway, parsnips, celery, fennel


Sow a mix of these plants in your garden then observe your environment buzzing and crawling with a more stable bio-diversity. Honey bees, mason bees, native bees, bumble bees, ladybugs, lacewings, hover flies, tachinid flies, butterflies, praying mantis, and a host of tiny parasitic wasps that feed on insect pests and their eggs. Spread these insectary plants throughout your landscape and you have built-in pest control. Google “Seed balls”!


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