Your garden is a fantastic wildlife area. Try not to use pesticides as this will kill so many of the useful insects as well as the pests.
Watching birds feeding in your garden is beautiful and a great way to introduce children to local wildlife.
Go to the next level and put up bird boxes in your garden. Make sure they are in the correct location and safe from predators, especially cats.
Bees, hoverflies, butterflies, lacewings, moths, flies and even wasps are essential for plant pollination so try growing as many insect friendly plants as possible – here are some useful examples:
Ladybirds are a brilliant natural predator of aphids, they will chomp their way through 50 a day and up to 5,000 in their lifetime!
It’s a bit of a myth that hedgehogs love to eat slugs, if only it were true. They prefer beetles, caterpillars, grasshoppers and various other insect species, however they make a great addition to any garden. Hedgehogs hibernate for the winter so leave a nice pile of vegetation in which they can overwinter (but not a bonfire).
Frogs and toads will eat a few slugs, but many garden slugs live underground so can’t be reached.
Encourage thrushes into your garden (by supplying the right food, fresh water, suitable shelter and safe nesting sites), they love to eat snails and other insects.
They need twigs and leaves for nest building, so a pile of loose material will really help.
Insects will use man-made structures to lay eggs, or hibernate in through the winter, either as an adult or larva. These range from woodpiles, garden canes and furniture to holes in brickwork and garden sheds. Find out how to make your own insect home from the RSPB or Eden Project. Alternatively, buy ready made homes from Greenkey.
They also kill so many other species apart from the target pests.
Populations of many smaller bird species in UK have declined rapidly over the last 40 years. There are many factors thought to have contributed such as changes in farming practices, increased disease and huge reduction of hedgerows.
If you want to help these species then you can supply them with food and water all the year round. Check with local groups or the RSPB for ideas on what and when to feed birds, it changes throughout the year.
In the UK, bat populations have reduced considerably over the last century. Bats are still under threat from building and development work that affects roosts, loss of habitat, the severing of commuting routes by roads and threats in the home, including cat attacks, flypaper and some chemical treatments of building materials.
Other potential threats can include wind turbines and lighting if they are sited on key bat habitat or near roosts.
To give them a hand, pop a few bat boxes in and around the garden and on exterior walls of your home. Maybe even grow a few bat friendly plants and we could see a recovery. Find out more about bats and why they are important from the Bat Conservation Trust.