Birds, bats and bees…

Birds

I want to encourage birds to the property to help eat insects.  Over the winter, I built 6 bird houses.  Now, these bird houses ain’t fancy.  I used lumber that I found in the barn.  You can google “one board bird house plans” and find lots of easy design ideas.  I used the plans on the Birdwatching Bliss! website.
Boards that I found in the barn to use for the bird houses.

The size of the bird house and entrance hole diameter will determine what type of bird uses your bird house.  There is a chart on the Birdwatching Bliss website that gives you the dimensions and what birds will be attracted to that house.  Also, it depends on the height of where you hang the house too.  Taken from the Birdwatching Bliss webiste:

“There are different bird house dimensions for different species. To attract the species you desire you will need to construct your bird house with specific sizes for the box itself, entrance holes and the species desired height placement above ground.

Using the correct bird house dimensions will also help to exclude undesirable species, i.e. house sparrows and starlings.”  

I didn’t even bother to paint them (it was a lot more work to build these things than I anticipated…)

Bird houses!  
When you put up your bird house, make sure it faces to the east or south (to keep snow/rain out).
Bird house in our crazy crab apple tree.

Bats

I totally had plans to build a bat house too.  There are lots of free bat house plans online too.  After building all the bird houses, I was pretty much tired of building things.  Also, there are certain dimensions needed in the bat house for the “chambers”.  Okay, I am not that precise with my building capabilities so I just bought one online (I did paint the bat house!).  
You need to hang the bat house at least 12 feet off the ground…

If you didn’t know, bats will fly under bark that is leaning away from a tree and sleep there.  So that is the idea of the “chambers” in the bat house, to try and simulate a small area for them to crawl up into and get cozy.  Our bat house has 3 chambers.

So, why bats?  Some bat species eat an incredible number of night-flying insects including mosquitoes. By some accounts, they can eat as many as 1,200 insects in an hour of feeding!

Bees

To encourage native bees to come and pollinate our garden, herbs, and trees, I made 2 bee blocks.  A bee block creates a community, and drilling holes in different sizes encourages diversity. Alternating rows of holes that are five-sixteenths in diameter with rows that are three-eighths is recommended. Holes of all sizes should be about 5 inches deep.

The holes of the bee block is similar to the bird houses.  The diameter of the tunnels, as well as their preferred length, varies with the different species of bee, make a variety of different sized holes. 
I did not put a roof on my bee block and I realize that I should do this so I guess I will be doing this today.  Here is some more information from HoneyBeeSuite website.

I probably could have put a lot more detail in this post but I am just too excited to start planting some more seeds for my garden so I am going to go and do that now… 

Now we wait and see what will come to inhabit the new houses.  I just hope the bats and birds don’t eat all the bees!

~Denise

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