Local Resident Offers Yard Tips Based on Nature Book

"Nature's Best Hope" by Doug Tallamy

By Mary Anne Broshek

This article is a continuation of advice from Doug Tallamy’s book, Nature’s Best Hope.  The focus is on yard tips and a good way to get rid of mosquitoes without harming other beneficial insects with insecticides or bug zappers.

Don’t Spray and Fertilize Lawns
Most native plants are adapted to low nitrogen soil.
Highly fertilized soil attracts nitrogen-loving invasive, non-native plants.
Before plants can use it, most fertilizer is washed away into our waterways where it      causes red tide, algae blooms, and other problems.

Protect and Provide Nourishment
Millions of small critters fall into basement window wells and perish due to starvation. Installing window well covers for basement windows can prevent this.
Install bubblers on water features.
Set out multiple bee hotels.
Create caterpillar pupation sites under trees by leaving leaf litter in place, or replace lawn beneath trees with beds of ground covers. Add fallen logs, old tree stumps, and rocks so pupae can overwinter safely.
Don’t take leaf litter to the Transfer Station – use it for mulch in the spring.

Get Rid of Mosquitoes Without Harming Beneficial Insects
Mosquitoes are best controlled when they are in the larval stage.
Put a five gallon bucket of water in a sunny place and add a handful of hay or straw. 
The resulting brew is irresistible to egg-filled female mosquitos.
After the eggs have been laid, add a commercially available mosquito dunk tablet (bacillus thuringiensis or Bt) to the bucket.
The eggs will hatch, the larvae will die, and only mosquitoes are killed.

Every small action adds up to provide safe areas and improved wildlife habitat that, in turn, helps the earth and all who live there.