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Making a Habitat for Wildlife in Your Backyard Cont.

Butterflies are easy to attract, but to attract the most you need to have plants that serve the needs of all life stages of the butterfly. They need a place to lay eggs, food plants for the larva (caterpillar), a place to form a chrysalis, and nectar sources for the adult. butterflies also require basking sites such as flat rocks and a source of water.

Bright colors and strong scents are especially desirable to bees. Colors toward the blue and violet end of the spectrum work best (coneflowers, lilacs, violets), but some orange and red flowers, such as poppies, have markings visible only in the ultraviolet, a part of the bee's visual spectrum. Avoiding perfumes and wearing bright colors while you are gardening will keep bees from thinking you are just another desirable flower. If you use insecticides apply them at night when bees are inactive.

Consider building bee houses for your yard. They provide cover and places to raise young for bees and are easy and fun to make with designs available on the internet or they can be purchased from several suppliers. Just remember do not use treated lumber to build the houses.

Bats get a bad reputation, but are can be very beneficial to you backyard habitat. All the bats that call North America home are all-natural pest controllers. Just one bat is capable of consuming more than 500 night-flying insects in a single hour. These ravenous little pest controllers love nothing more than munching mosquitoes, but they also devour leafhoppers, cucumber beetles, flies and moths. A bat house in your yard will help attract bats and provide them with much-needed roosting habitat. The house should be placed on a pole 15 feet high in a spot that receives sun most of the day. Tree trunks are usually too shady for bat boxes.

Toads, frogs, lizards, turtles, and snakes all have a place in the backyard. While many people may not want some of these animals in their yards, most species are harmless and often quite beneficial- feeding on destructive insects or rodents. Clean fresh water is a vital requirement for reptiles and amphibians, but they also require shelter. Consider something as simple a a toad abode made from a turned over clay pot with an opening for the toads to enter and exit from. Several rocks piled in a sunny spot will provide basking sites. Consider planting shade-tolerant ground covers under trees and leaving a thick layer of leaves to provide cool shelter. Stumps, logs, and rocks piles in a shady spot can be valuable.

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