#sponsored Which wildlife should you encourage to live in your garden?
Although you may be tempted to keep your garden free from creepy crawlies and straying creatures, there are some animals that you should encourage to visit your back yard. From bees, which are important pollinators of various plants and fruiting trees, to ladybirds, which feast on aphids. Together with Dobies, retailers of flowering plants, we take a look at the wildlife that you should be more welcoming to and why.
Butterflies and bees
Butterflies and bees can be great additions to your back garden. They are natural pollinators, which means that they help spread your flowers around the garden and encourage growth.
To encourage this wildlife into your garden, plant colourful flowers. Bees are attracted to these plants, as they source their energy from sugar-filled nectar and the pollen provides bees with protein and fat.
If you want to bring bees and butterflies to your back yard, cluster flowers and plants together, as this encourages more bees to visit at once. Also, plant flowers that bloom at different times of year to encourage your flying friends to come to your garden.
Not all insects are an annoyance. Some of them can protect your plants from infestations of smaller creatures.
Aphids for example, are a problem for many gardeners. The small insects, also known as the greenfly and blackfly, suck saps from plants and excrete it as honeydew. This sticky substance then falls on the lower leaves of the plant which can be harmful to its growth. Photosynthesis becomes inhibited and the plant becomes deprived of energy. In extreme aphid attacks, the insects can fully smother the plant — causing it to become stunted and weak, which leads it to die.
Ladybirds, or ladybird beetles, can protect you from these sorts of attacks. It is the larvae from these bugs that are predators of soft-bodied insects such as aphids. Encourage ladybirds to visit your garden by providing them with a water source. Fill saucers with pebbles and water, this allows the insect to take a drink without falling in and drowning.
Damsel bugs are soft-bodies, winged insects that you want to have around. They feed on aphids, small caterpillars and other irritating small creatures — helping your crop thrive!
Keeping slugs and snails at bay
There are some creatures that you definitely do not want in your garden. Slugs and snails for example leave holes in leaves and feast on your fresh green shoots.
To prevent these animals from taking over, encourage hedgehogs into your green space. They are a gardener’s best friend, as they feed on snail, slugs and other insects. To encourage hedgehogs into the garden, leave food out for them. This could be minced meat or tinned dog and cat food. Although people think that the creatures enjoy drinking milk, you shouldn’t leave this out for hedgehogs. It can upset their stomach and lead them to become dehydrated. You can also leave areas of the garden to grow wild with piles of leaves and overgrown grass to encourage hedgehogs to set up camp.
You can also encourage ducks and chickens to forage around the garden and consume the insects that they find. However, don’t expect your neat rows of fruit and vegetables to stay that way!
This post has been sponsored by Dobies