Native vegetation insectariums cause a buzz amongst landholders

23 September 2016

Last week, our Regional Landcare Facilitator, Karen Thomas, hosted three native vegetation insectarium workshops across the region. Over 70 landholders and industry representatives attended.

The groups heard about the results from Mary Retallack’s PhD research and learnt about three ‘hero’ native plants that attract a variety of beneficial predatory insects. These included Bursaria spinose, which provides a high nectar source for insects when prey is in low supply, Leptosoermum continentale, with its floristic arrangement opening over a number of days also providing a good nectar source for predatory insects, and Austrodanthonia sp, or wallaby grass, which is an excellent lower story plant that provides habitat for brown lace wings.

Amanda Garner from the Australian Native Food Industry Association discussed market demand for bush foods and Karen talked about incorporating flowering bush foods in an insectarium as an additional income source.

Linda Thomson then presented Integrated Pest Management (IPM) research showing that native vegetation adjacent to a production zone significantly increased the abundance and diversity of beneficial insects, which helped to manage harmful insects and reduce chemical use.

Karen also discussed the trial site that has been established at Fielderberry Farm, the native vegetation used and the planting design.

For further information on native vegetation insectariums, contact Karen Thomas on 03 8781 7945 or


Presentations available:

Creating a native vegetation insectarium – Karen Thomas

An introduction into the role of ecosystem services in vineyards – Mary Retallack

Evaluating native insectary plants to boost beneficial arthropod populations in vineyards – Mary Retallack

Monitoring insect populations in horticulture crops and native vegetation – Dr Linda Thomson

Enhancing natural enemy diversity and abundance in horticulture – Dr Linda Thomson

The use of native grasses for inter-rows and headlands – Dr Ian Chivers

Insectariums: Putting research into practice – Karen Thomas


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