Outdoors Column: Insect Control

When a person steps out of the house, it is easy to tell of the success the wren has had nesting in the decorative bird house that hangs on the porch. There apparently is a large group of hungry babies in the house. Whenever they hear a noise, they assume it is their mother returning with some food and make as much noise as possible to attract her attention. It is amazing to watch her ferrying food from the nearby trees to her noisy brood. It appears she only feeds them insects. This is a good thing. We need as much insect control as we can get. I am sure the little mother will be happy to see the young grow up and fly away. She has to be exhausted from hunting and feeding all her babies.

 

The purple martins have hatched and left the nest. They all still seem to be hanging around, also eating vast numbers of insects. I am not sure how many martins we have but I estimate approximately 75 birds. In the mornings and evenings, they swarm the yard and around the house like a scene from the Hitchcock movie, “The Birds.” The difference is, they are attacking every bug that moves rather than people. They gather on the house we put out for them and tell the world what nice people we are. That might not be what they are singing about, but they seem quite happy.

 

Three pair of barn swallows has turned into fifteen swallows since the young have left the nest. They have learned, the lawn mower kicks up the hard to reach bugs in the grass. When I start the lawn mower, a swarm of birds follow, swooping down and eating the bugs that are trying to escape the lawnmower blade or are too slow and get ejected from the mower deck. Their graceful diving and acrobatic catching of insects is quite entertaining.

 

 

The only time we are still bothered by insects is when we are fishing near or after sunset. Not all of the mosquitoes in the area have been eaten yet. We do have a fair number of bats that are working on the problem. Mosquitoes will buzz around a person’s head and bats will swoop in to catch them. I do not have a problem with them but my wife finds this to be a bit unnerving. I have tried to get her to think of the bats as swallows or martins that hunt at night. She does not buy that. She would rather get mosquito bit or just give up fishing for the evening than have bats flying around her face.

 

We have found effective insect control to be fairly easy. A person only needs to provide habitat for animals you want to attract. By doing what comes naturally, wildlife will solve the insect control problem.