Frogs ­ the natural way to control pests at the Eden Project

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The Independent Online

Insect control the natural way was introduced on Friday into the Eden Project, Cornwall's £86m recreation of the rainforest, in the shape of lizards and tree frogs.

Insect control the natural way was introduced on Friday into the Eden Project, Cornwall's £86m recreation of the rainforest, in the shape of lizards and tree frogs.

The new inhabitants of the world's largest greenhouses will gobble up insect pests that might harm the 10,000 species of plants and trees, and so avoid the need for insecticides, it is hoped.

Tropical finches and praying mantises have already been introduced into the biomes, as the huge greenhouses in a disused clay pit are called, and two species of gecko, one nocturnal, will follow shortly.

An Eden Project spokesman said: "It is an experiment which has not been carried out anywhere else ­ they will not be fed, but will be living off the land."

All the birds and other creatures at the project in St Austell were bred in captivity or came from rescue operations and reared in a local zoo before being introduced to the humid tropics biome, which has been granted a restricted zoo licence by the Department for Environment, Fisheries and Food.

Staff at the Eden Project hope all the species, which are non-plant eaters, will breed as well as keep down the insect population at the biome, which is taller than Nelson's column in London.

Eden was completed in March and has attracted more than 1m visitors, far exceeding its target. So great has been the crush that in July people were asked to stay away at especially busy times, such as rainy days.

The biome houses trees and plants from the Amazon, Africa and Malaysia. Species include rubber, coconuts, bananas and mangroves.

The smaller, warm temperate biome houses plants and trees from the Mediterranean climate, including olives, vines and oranges.

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