With a special invitation to the visitors that eat mosquitos
When it comes to helping the environment, more and more homeowners are curious about what they can do in their corner of the world to make a difference. One answer is quite simple: plant something.
By incorporating particular plants and features into their landscapes, home gardeners are at the forefront of a growing movement to reinvigorate natural habitats and support wildlife in their own yards. To borrow a famous line from the Kevin Costner film, Field of Dreams: If you build it, they will come.
Certifying your yard as a Natural Wildlife Habitat
According to the National Wildlife Federation, the four basic components of creating a certified wildlife-friendly landscape are:
- Provide a food source. Depending on which animals you’re inviting to your yard, this can be anything from berry-producing plants to bird feeders to insects that animals eat – particularly the kind many South Florida yards seem to have plenty of at this time of year: mosquitos in all stages of development.
- Provide a water source. All living creatures should have fresh water. By keeping a supply near a food source, the more likely it is that wildlife will call your yard home. This can be as simple as a birdbath or as pristine as a home pond, but there are a few rules to keep in mind when it comes to water features and mosquitos.
Mosquito larvae tend to prefer shallow, stagnant water, which is why it typically recommended to dump out any standing bodies of water in your yard. With that in mind, water features, such as a pond, should be deeper than 24”, with a steep slope that rapidly drops off to deeper water. It’s also a good idea to keep water – no matter if it’s in a pond or birdbath – moving, with some help from a waterfall, a pump, or a fountain.
- Provide shelter from predators and weather. Wildlife needs at least two places to find shelter from any kind of danger. For some, it might be a rock pile, a thicket of tightly packed branches, somewhere high up in the tree canopy, or bird, bat, or bee houses.
- Provide a place to raise young. Like humans, wildlife is always searching for the best place to raise the little ones – and if your previous efforts are spot on, this last component will naturally fall into place.
Attracting wildlife by going native
A word to the wise, though, when considering which plants to plant: go native. At the end of the day, the purpose of creating a home habitat is to restore native populations. All too often, native species have been squeezed out as a result of invasive species – and Florida seems to be home to the most invasive species.
By helping out native animal populations, as well as the ones that use Florida as part of their migratory path, homeowners are giving them a fighting chance.
A few guests to have at your mosquito buffet
For most homeowners, the number one item most likely to be served to guests is mosquitos. Here, then, are a few mosquito-eating A-listers you may want to invite:
- Bats. Although there is some debate about just how many mosquitos bats eat, there is no doubt that this flying mammal plays an important role in the ecosystem.
- Many birds eat insects, but the Purple Martin seems to top all of the lists – mostly because they tend to live in large flocks.
- Dragonflies are excellent to have in a garden. Not only do adults feed on all kinds of insects, but their larvae also spend the first five years of life underwater, where they feed on mosquito larvae.
- About that freshwater ornamental pond you have in your yard – consider adding some insect-eating fish into the mix. Most are not as flashy as colorful koi, so they don’t seem to attract bird predators. They do, however, feed on mosquito larvae.
Fighting mosquitos is a daily job
While battling mosquitos with nature certainly help to control pest populations, it’s very often not enough. Getting the results you want – an environment that’s mosquito-free – is a day-to-day task.
An automatic misting system can supplement the efforts you’ve taken to create a life without the routine risk of bites and possible disease. Platinum Mosquito Protection offers a variety of misting solutions for your residential, commercial, and agricultural properties.
For a free onsite consultation, contact us today.