We know what you’re thinking: Why would we, experts on pest control, be giving you tips on attracting birds, butterflies and other backyard wildlife? The thing is, while we pride ourselves on helping our customers get rid of pesky insects and home invaders, we also recognize how valuable most insects and other wildlife can be to our planet and, on a smaller scale, our own backyard or garden. (These are the insects and wildlife that stay out of our houses, of course.) By making your backyard a welcoming place for birds, bees, butterflies and other tiny creatures, you can create an environment that benefits both you and the flora and fauna around your home. An added bonus: it gives you an exciting show right outside your window. To help you get started, we’ve come up with 4 ways to attract wildlife (the kind you want) to your backyard:
Plant for Pollinators
Next time you’re choosing what to plant in your garden or backyard, consider what will best attract pollinators, such as butterflies and bees. Pollination is a win for everyone: it fuels the pollinator, allows plants to reproduce and keeps them healthy, and helps create the seeds and fruits we eat. In order to win over pollinators, try planting flowering plants that are native, colorful and fragrant. You can find more information and suggestions in this guide on desert plants for pollinators.
Hang Bird Feeders
Birds are great to have around your backyard; in addition to being exciting to watch, they act as a natural pest control and help cross-pollinate plants. Want to make your yard a sanctuary for them? Hang up a bird feeder or two. You can find plenty of bird feeders in stores or online, but it’s actually pretty easy to make your own. DIY bird feeders can be a fun project to do with kids. One of the easiest bird feeders you can make yourself is the pine cone feeder, which only requires a pine cone, something to attach the feeder to a tree (a pipe cleaner, wire or string), peanut butter and bird seed. Find out how to make it and other DIY bird feeders here.
Another backyard visitor we love to see in Arizona is the hummingbird. If you want to attract these little guys, buy a feeder specifically catered toward them—which you can find online or at most big-box and hardware stores—and make the sugar water yourself to fill it. The sweet nectar gives hummingbirds a boost of energy, and the feeder, if it has perches, can offer a nice resting place.
Put Out Nesting Boxes
Want to attract wildlife for the long-term? Give them a home! Nesting boxes are a great way to make birds more permanent residents by offering them a place to raise their young. If you’re interested in putting up a nesting box, here are a few things you should know:
- Try to put your nesting box somewhere where it will be protected from the elements.
- Make sure the box has holes at the top and bottom for ventilation and drainage, thick walls for insulation, and a sloping roof to keep out rain.
- Put up your box before spring to ensure you’re not disturbing breeding season.
You can find other nesting box tips here.
Offer Water Sources
It’s important for wildlife to have water all year ’round, but it’s an even greater concern in the summer, especially here in Arizona. The intense heat increases the need for water, but it also makes it harder to find it. You can help by keeping a water source in your yard. One popular water source is the bird bath, which offers an outlet for birds to hydrate, bathe and stay cool. An even easier way to provide water is just filling up a shallow dish; this accommodates smaller creatures. Make sure you clean out and replace the water every few days to prevent mosquitoes from sticking around.
While these tips are geared towards attracting birds, butterflies and other backyard wildlife you actually want to have in your backyard, we also have a ton of tips to help out with the kind of wildlife you don’t want to attract. Visit one of our stores to find more advice about getting rid of unwanted pests.