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Sunday, July 21, 2024 at 12:26 PM

Garden of Edith - Lizards in the Garden

Garden of Edith - Lizards in the Garden
by Edith Isidoro-Mills-- The growing season is coming and soon small critters like insects, toads and lizards will be crawling around in your garden.  Some of these critters are very beneficial and some are not. In my recent research on the Internet, I was surprised to see some extermination sites and comments on garden chat sites where people are advocating removal or killing of lizards in the garden.  Lizards are very beneficial to gardening and do not harm you plants as some people claim.  Yes, they can bite if threatened but they are more likely to run away from you then to attack you. Contrary to popular belief, lizards are mostly carnivorous.  Their preferred food sources are the insects in your garden such as grasshoppers, ants, and caterpillars.  Grasshoppers and caterpillars do eat your garden plants and ants are usually associated with aphids that can infest your plants making them less productive.  If anything, you want to attract lizards to your garden to control the populations of insects that are eating your plants. Creating a habitat in your garden that is welcoming to lizards and toads is the best way to attract these beneficial critters. They need plenty of cover from cats, dogs, and in some cases children. Also, refrain from the use of pesticides. Not only do pesticides kill the prey these lizards seek but they also sicken and kill lizards and toads.  Instead, let the lizards keep insects from becoming pests in your garden.  For some ideas on how to attract lizards to your garden, check this website out. The above website is also a good website for ideas on how to introduce children to lizards and toads.  Please, supervise your children's earliest interactions with these critters since lizards, reptile, and amphibians can pose a health hazard to children if they are bit or handle these critters without washing their hands afterwards.  Keep in mind that children want to touch or even capture critters and that this should be discouraged.  Instead, try to get children to observe reptiles and amphibians from a distance.  Talk to them about the needs and benefits of these critters. Tell your children that these critters can provide for themselves much better than humans can.  Keep in mind that even these critters will eat plant matter in captivity but plant matter will not keep these critters healthy. Do not bring lizards or any reptile or amphibian into your house because they can present a health hazard. A healthy balance of beneficial critters to pests is the best pest control method.  Also, keep in mind that eradication of a pest is not possible but keeping their populations small is.  Even pesticides, in the long run do not eradicate pests.  However, pesticides can harm beneficial critters that do control pests.  Currently, many reptiles and amphibians face extinction and the pesticides we apply to our gardens and crops are major contributors.  If reptiles and amphibians become extinct, the pests that eat our gardens and our crops will become even more out of control and pesticides will not control or eradicate pests in the long term.    Never miss the local news -- read more on The Fallon Post home page. Support local, independent news – contribute to The Fallon Post, your non-profit (501c3) online news source for all things Fallon.