By CVC’s Josh Brooks, Assistant, Environmental Outreach (Rural)
We often put bird baths in our gardens to give birds a drink. But birds aren’t the only wildlife searching for a watering hole. Insects are often overlooked garden assistants with important jobs. They pollinate flowers and control unwanted insect pests. Just like us, insects can use an extra refill while working in the garden on hot summer days.
Bird baths are great for birds but are too large for insects. They lack surfaces for insects to rest on while drinking. Insects breathe through tiny holes along their bodies called spiracles. Insects run the risk of drowning if they fall into the water.
It’s easy to make an insect-friendly water source. Simply place a variety of small stones in a dish and fill with just enough water so the stones are not completely submerged. Refill on hot days to keep your insect co-gardeners well hydrated.
Butterfly resting in an insect-friendly water source
There are many beneficial insects in your garden. Bees and butterflies pollinate flowers. Ladybugs and praying mantis feed on other insects helping to control garden pests. Insects are also a food source for birds and bats attracting a variety of wildlife to your property.
Praying Mantis perched across two leaves
In addition to providing waters sources, planting native plants in your gardens provides insects with food and shelter. Consider native plants that grow to a variety of heights, have different bloom sizes and colours to meet the needs of different kinds of insects.
When you create healthy habitats, you create more wildlife viewing opportunities – both big and small. Learn how to create homes for wildlife on your rural property at our Home Sweet Home – Wildlife on Your Land workshop on August 24.