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  • : frank beswick
  • : The blog of Frank Beswick. It deals with my interests in religious, philosophical spiritual matters and horticulture/self-reliance
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June 6 2012 4 06 /06 /June /2012 18:41

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Last year I read an advertisement for an American pest control company. which offered to elimnate bumble bees. The bees, which they classed as a kind of giant moth, what a mistake, were presented as pests. Are these people for real?These bees are not pests, not moths and are some of the most effective pollinators around. In fact, they are said to be pollinators one hundred times as effective as honey bees. If we humans want out plants pollinated, we can do no better than encourage and protect the many species of bumble bees. They are the large, fat,  fuzzy bees that hover round our plants. It is important to say that they have no sting and that there is nothing that they can do to harm a human. To encourage them we can purchase ready made bumble bee hotels, nests of tubes, or we can make them ourselves. On my allotment I found a group of them were nesting under an old pallet, and I got massive fruit set that year, as they returned my hospitality by pollinating my fruit trees.

 

Ladybirds are very useful, as they eat aphids. They are lethal predators, but to humans they create no threat at all. There is no need to create special habitat for them. They seem good at finding their own.

 

Encouraging birds is important. Blue tits can be encouraged by providing nesting boxes to be nailed to trees. They repay your kindness by eating sawfly and codling moths, whose larvae can ruin your fruits. A small box with a bit of straw and hole for entering and leaving is all they need. The hole should be large enough for them and too small for predators.

 

Slugs and snails are major enemies, and here is where frogs and toads come in. A small pond containing frogs is ideal. Be clear, though, frogs do not spend their day in water. They hide in undergrowth and only go to water to mate. I have found frogs as I have been turning my compost heap, where they have been feeding on insects. Frogs and toads feast on slugs and snails. To keep them ensure that you get a pond and find some frogspawn and place it in the pond. This is because frogs and toads return to to mate in the pond in which they were born . So unless you do this they will wander. Your pond should contain some vegetation and be deep enough to protect them from marauding herons, of which there are plenty in the area where I live, near the Mersey and the Bridgewater and Manchester Ship Canals.

 

Hedgehogs are a great friend to gardeners. They are nocturnal and eat slugs at night when they are at their most active. Au untidy corner with a pile of leaves near some trees, or a hedge are the ideal places for them to nest. It is, however, difficult to attract them to your garden. They have to be in the vicinity and at least one must be seeking a territory.

 

A garden is your private space, a place for life, but need this life just be plants. There is room for freindly mammals, amphibians, insects and birds in the garden.

 

 

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