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Garden, Home and Garden

How to Help Ladybirds

how to help ladybirds

Want to know how to help ladybirds in your garden? Read on for my top advice.

Over summer I spotted a grand total of three ladybirds, which is three more than my other half or my neighbour saw.  I had started to worry about the ladybirds.  I knew that like the bees they were in decline but I wasn’t sure to what extent, so I did a bit of research into what was going on and on how to help ladybirds.

Why Are Ladybirds in Trouble?

According to the UK Ladybird Survey our native ladybird species are in trouble because of a non-native newcomer, the Harlequin ladybird.  

The Harlequin, a native of Asia, is not the friendliest ladybird on the block. When food is scarce they eat the eggs and larvae of other species of ladybirds.  Also going under the names of the Multicoloured Asian Ladybird and the Halloween Ladybird, it was introduced to North America in 1988. It is now the most widespread ladybird in North America.  

Not content with conquering American soil, it has also dominated much of north-western Europe. The Harlequin Ladybird now has its sights firmly set on the UK now. It was first spotted here in summer 2004, and the numbers have grown.

ladybirds in decline

Not a Harlequin – see here for how to identify them.

How to Help Ladybirds

The people behind the Ladybird Survey, the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, are now asking for your help in helping ladybirds.

If you’d like to assist in the monitoring of the Harlequin ladybird population, as well as their impact on our native ladybirds, then they’ve developed a handy app.   Called iRecord Ladybirds (you can search for it in the iPhone or Android App Store), it allows you to record any ladybirds you’ve spotted quickly and easily.  

Using the app you can take a photo and add some information about where you saw it, the number you saw, etc.  There’s even a handy guide to help identify the ladybird in question. This is handy, if like me, you struggle to identify the particular species that you’ve found. There are 47 UK native ladybird species after all!  And don’t worry if you don’t have a smartphone – you can record it online instead.

How to Help Ladybirds in Winter

how to help ladybirds

There are other ways on how to help ladybirds too.  As ladybirds hibernate over winter you can lay down some small logs in a corner of your garden. This gives them a spot for ladybirds to hibernate in. Or if you want to get a bit more creative then here are some other great ideas.  You can also buy ladybird homes on the internet or in garden centres. If you’d rather not spend any money, you can even make your own ladybird house using just a plastic bottle and some corrugated cardboard!

Help in Spring & Summer Too

In spring and summer, you can also leave patches of nettles growing. This is helpful because ladybirds tend to lay their eggs on nettles.

You should also avoid spraying plants with insecticides.  Ladybirds eat the aphids that feast on plants. They, therefore, do a much better and safer job at reducing the aphid numbers than chemicals do. As you can see, it’s mutually beneficial to help the ladybirds! You can also check out my post on sustainable garden ideas for more green garden ideas.

Garden, Home and Garden

How to Encourage Wild Birds to your Garden

wild birds

Wanting to encourage wild birds to our garden? I’ve got loads of advice for you today that will hopefully leave your garden teeming with wild birds!

This  post contains affiliate links (*).  

Perhaps you’re thinking about feeding the birds that frequent your garden?  Well, today I thought I’d share some ideas on how to encourage wild birds to your garden.

Earlier this year, when Moral Fibres was all shiny and new, I wrote a piece about how to feed wild birds in your garden.  There are some really handy hints in there about what to feed and what not to feed the birds that visit your garden.  So, consider this guide on how to encourage wild birds to your garden as an update to that post!

wild birds and sparrows

Before we begin, further into the article I talk a bit about buying bird feeders. If you’ve already got bird feeders then it’s important that you give your bird feeders and water trays a good clean in warm soapy water. Make sure you then rinse and dry them well before putting them back out with any food on them.  Keeping them clean on a regular basis helps minimise wild birds spreading deadly diseases that can kill huge swathes of birds.

How to Encourage Wild Birds to Your Garden

There are a number of things you can put out in your garden to encourage wild birds to visit. Here are some of my top suggestions.

Feeding

how to feed the birds in winter

1.  This squirrel-proof fat ball feeder* (£10.99) is handy for keeping the squirrels out of your bird feeders.  Grey squirrels aren’t native and have outcompeted our native red squirrels in most of the UK.  They also bully birds at bird feeders meaning our native birds can’t get to the feeders.  This does the job of allowing the birds access to the feeder but blocking access to the squirrels.  Fat balls often come in little net bags – it’s not ideal to hang the balls out in the net bags as birds can get their feet stuck in them.  Offering them in a feeder is a safer alternative.

2.  If you don’t have squirrels in your garden then this stylish seed feeder* (£15.99) is a nice change from all of the standard bird feeders around.

3.  This fat ball kit* is an easy and economical way to make your own fat balls using kitchen scraps.

4.  This peanut feeder* (£10.99) is an ideal way to feed peanuts to the birds.  Peanuts are a great high-energy source of food at this time of year. However, always make sure they’re always offered in a feeder or crushed into small pieces and placed on your bird table.  They can pose a choking hazard otherwise.

5. This squirrel-proof bird feeder (£3.99) again helps keep squirrels from feasting on your birdseed.

6.  This autumn bird food collection (£9.99) from Birdco is a great and affordable way to get started feeding the birds and encouraging wild birds to your garden, providing you with everything you need to feed the birds over autumn.

Nesting

how to help wild birds in winter

1.  This bird house from Sparrow & Finch (£35.00) is one of the most stylish bird houses out there (edit: no longer available).

2.  These roosting pockets* (£2.85 each) make good places for small birds to hide from predators or bad weather.

3.  A bird table (£39.99) is a great way to feed the birds, and this one would look lovely in any garden.

4.  A bird bath (£11.99) gives birds a place to have a little wash and have a drink.  Just make sure it’s not too deep.

5.  Hanging a wool pot (£11.50) in your garden is a great way to help birds feather their nest with cosy wool.

Other Top Tips for Encouraging Wild Birds To Your Garden

Once you start feeding the birds you’ll soon have an array of birds in your garden.  If you’re not sure how to identify them then I came across this handy bird identifier guide from the RSPB  I have to say the woodpecker is the most elusive – I’ve seen one once!

Do let me know how you get on encouraging wild birds to your garden, and let me know which birds you see!