Pest Control News

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Feeding Wildlife or Encouraging Pests?

Feeding Wildlife or Encouraging Pests?

Caring for nature over winter feels like the right thing to do. Or is it encouraging pests, storing up problems for the future?

Many people choose to feed the birds or leave out dog food for hedgehogs or the local urban fox. Other people feel that this is encouraging vermin and pests, storing up problems for the future.

Nature groups, including the RSPB, encourage us to feed garden birds and create ideal nesting sites for all kinds of bugs and insects. And yet, these birds and bugs could be the prey of larger animals and rodents, many of which are considered vermin and pests.
How do we balance looking after nature without creating the perfect environment attractive to pests?

It’s a tough balancing act, but it can be done.

#1 Bird seed, not food scraps

Feeding scraps of food has never been a great idea. Larger pieces of food attract larger birds such as seagulls, that are now deemed to be a nuisance. To attract garden birds to your garden, you need to feed them the appropriate seeds.

Pet shops and some supermarkets will sell generic birds seed although, for some garden birds such as robins, sunflower hearts and other high-energy foods are a good idea.
Bird seed doesn’t attract seagulls, but you still may get crows and pigeons on the bird table, or an intrepid squirrel on the nuts.

#2 Bird tables, not on the ground

Throwing scraps of food on the ground is not only inviting larger birds but rats, mice and other pests to partake in the daily feeding ritual.

In winter, most animals and birds, pests or otherwise, struggle to find enough food. And that means when there is an opportunity to feast, they will take it.

If you are feeding the birds this winter, spread bird seed either on a bird table or use the many hanging feeders and other contraptions you can buy. These feeding devices are made for garden birds and thus, rats and mice, along with seagulls and pigeons find them difficult to ‘use’ or perch on.

#3 Don’t declare open season!

Feed garden birds within limits. In other words, a handful of seed on a bird table each morning is enough to encourage the right birds into the garden. Birds are tenacious creatures and will find other sources of food such a berries and insects – the seed they find in your garden is an added bonus.

Being overly generous can be akin to declaring open season for all kinds of pests! If there is abundant food available throughout the day, pests will come. Feed in moderation.

#4 Be alert for pests – especially rats and mice

Rats and mice will be in your garden, it’s just that either you don’t see them or they are so few that you don’t notice them. If you start to see signs – well-trodden paths in the grass, for example, or holes appearing in fences, or you actually catch sight of one – call a pest control expert.

But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t encourage wildlife into your garden. But do so responsibly and in the right way, and enjoy the wonder of nature.
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