Backyard Birding Tips


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I've fed and cared for wild birds since I was a 10 year old boy (I'm 52). I come up with several ideas and ways to make backyard birding more enjoyable for others. For example: keep predators away from your bluebird house by using carpet tackboard on the post/pole your nestbox is sitting on. What is the ideal birdbath, and much more.

Well, here is another tip and just in time for a busy wasp and yellow jacket season. For the past two years, I've researched and worked with “mint" as an insecticide and deterrent for wasps, ants, and mosquitoes. Researching online, chats with a local herbologist and of course, experimenting with my new brain child.

Some insects are attracted by color. Others by smell and yet some hunt and feed by both sight and smell. Most insects hate to smell of mint and plants in the mint family. Mint is also a Neuro-toxin to wasps. Get some mint on a wasp and it is one dead insect. Are you getting the idea yet?

Every time you clean and fill your hummingbird feeder, dab some “mint extract" on the feeder and the hanger. Wasps and yellow jackets will stay away or risk death. Because mint is a food item, it wont harm birds. Hummers, like most birds have poor sniffers and the strong smell of mint doesn't bother them at all.

Serve up a mixture of 1 oz. pure mint extract and 10 oz. rubbing alcohol. Spray your nest boxes thoroughly and let it soak in. The rubbing alcohol evaporates causing no harm and the smell of mint lingers for up to 4 weeks. Continue to spray as needed. If there is already a wasp nest in your box, spray the wasps and watch them die before your eyes.

I haven't dealt with blowflies, but I am interested in finding out if “mint" will kill or keep blowflies out of nest boxes. Anyone interested in assisting here?

Try this out as well. Mix 1 oz. of mint with 15 oz. of rubbing alcohol. You now have an insect repellent. While using this, the mosquitoes have left me alone and I smell good too.

As the dog days of summer pass us by, wasps and yellow jackets are becoming more aggressive in their hunt to feed an ever growing population of larvae. Fortunately, here in Michigan winter kills off all but the queens. But what about warmer climates where a wasp population can grow and grow and grow,

Try it, “Mint Extract" an insect repellent that is earth friendly. Amazing how nature provides for her self isn't it?

Ronald Patterson has a passion for wildbirds. He's been feeding and caring for birds for more then 40 years. Ron is a “Wildlife Habitat Naturalist" and “Michigan Certified Nurseryman. " He also lectures and writes about birds and other wildlife. His expertise and knowledge on birds, habitats, and plants makes him the ideal person to help you learn to garden for birds. Ron Patterson's writes a weekly newsletter called “Backyard Birding Tips. " You can sign up today and have Ron give you friendly and often humorous advise on Attractting, feeding and caring for wildlife. Go to:

Sign up for Ron Patterson's newsletter today and start learning from one of America's backyard birding experts.


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