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Cute native sugar gliders offer pest control solution for southern NSW farmers

In Bega, NSW landholders are building boxes to house sugar gliders on their properties as a natural pest control to aid in protecting native trees from pests. Sugar gliders look very similar to to a tiny possum and weigh about 160 grams. They love to eat nectar but also have a reputation for a insatiable appetite for Christmas Beetles.

Dr Doug Sommerville has installed over 50 boxes on his property and has been collecting data and measuring the success of the nest boxes by climbing up a 5m ladder and checking each box and counting the sugar gliders.  He hopes to see the rate of occupation and breeding over time.

Dr Sommerville said to  ABC”In previous years we had younger trees decimated by Christmas beetles, so I figure putting up the nest boxes should help. So far we haven’t had any damage, so that’s encouraging. Having a whole bunch of things that like eating them is a pretty good idea as far as I’m concerned.” The Far South Coast Conservation Network is planning more workshops to teach farmers how to build and install their own sugar glider nest boxes.