If you go into your yard in the spring or summer, you can be fairly sure you will see aphids on your plants. They are abundant in many parts of the world. There are many predators that eat aphids, but are there any that are more enjoyable then birds.
Birds eat many types of bugs including aphids. Aphids can be a really problem in your garden and yard. In mass amounts, they can cause damage to your plants. Birds can help to reduce the population of aphids in your yard.
Make your yard inviting to birds. The more reasons you give them to visit your yard, the more they will come and feed on aphids.
In this article, I will explore why aphids are a problem and how to attract birds to eat them.
Aphids are a problem
You’ve seen it many times, you weeding your garden and there are aphids all over the leaves. You try to shake them off and they cling to your plant. You run your fingers over the leaves and some are removed, but you realize you can’t do this to every single leaf. Or you look up in your trees and aphids have covered them.
You could use an insecticide to control them, but that would introduce toxins to your plants. If you are growing vegetables or fruits, you should try to avoid using any type of insecticide.
You could spray your plant with a soap, vinegar, and water solution. This will help, but you will have to continuously apply it to keep aphids away.
Another, more natural way to get rid of the aphids, at least some of them, is to get birds to eat them. Aphids are an important part of many birds’ diet. Birds will scoop them right off your plants with their beak and eat them or feed them to their young.
Ant, aphids, and birds
One reason to get rid of aphids is because of their relationship with ants. Ants and aphids help each other out. Ants help to keep predators away from aphids. Aphids provide ants with food via their waste.
This is a big problem for you if the aphids in your garden make friends with the local ant population. Ants will begin to nest in your garden and travel up and down your plants with the aphids.
Birds can help you control the aphid population in your yard. Hopefully, you can keep the aphids from joining forces with the ants. But, if the aphids and ants do join forces, birds can help.
Many birds like to eat ants. Attracting birds to your garden can be beneficial in controlling aphids and ants.
Attracting birds to eat aphids
It’s all well and good that birds eat aphids if you have birds in your yard. If you don’t have a lot of birds visiting your yard, you should take some steps to make your yard bird friendly.
Here are some things you can do to attract more birds to your yard.
- Bird feeders
- Bird bath
- Bird house
- Trees and shrubs
- Keep cats and dogs indoors
Put a bird feeder in your yard and you will become the talk of the town. No, I don’t mean your neighbors will be telling each other about your feeding stations. The birds will sing day and night to let each other know about the food that is available.
Strategically hang a bird feeder near your garden. This will give birds the opportunity to visit your garden and eat aphids.
Birds need to drink water. They also love to splash around in water. You can put a bird bath in the middle of your garden. Birds will fly down to the ground to eat aphids and other bugs. Then they will fly up to your bird bath to get a sip of water.
Place rocks, branches, and other perches in your bird bath so they have a good spot to land while they are drinking and bathing. This will make it more likely they will feed on the aphids in your yard and garden.
Give birds a place to nest and they will need food while staying there. Your yard will be one of the main places they look for food. They will daily visit your garden, trees, and shrubs to eat aphids.
Hang a bird house near your garden and the birds are sure to help with your aphid problem. Birds love to collect aphids to feed to there babies.
Trees and shrubs
Trees and shrubs in your yard give birds places to land. From the trees and shrubs birds can look out to see if there are any predators. They can hide in the them. They can also get some time to relax in the shade. Trees and shrubs will give them a good place to see your garden and visit.
Having trees and shrubs at different heights will give birds the opportunity to move around in your yard while still having protection. Also, there are many aphids found in trees and shrubs. Birds will eat them while they are hanging out.
Other objects for birds to land on
Placing chairs, old wheelbarrows, plants, and other object in your yard can give birds more things to land on and move about. This makes birds feel safe. Place objects close to your garden so the birds will feed there.
Keep cats and dogs indoors
Birds are very aware of their surroundings. Pets, such as cats and dogs, can scare birds away. Dogs don’t usually try to catch birds, but they do bark at them and run around a lot. This can cause some birds not to visit your yard.
Cats, on the other hand, love to chase after birds. If they catch them, they will kill them. If birds know there is a cat in the area, they will stay away.
Do birds eat aphids off plants?
Birds eat aphids off of plants and off of the ground. They will use there beaks to pick the aphids up in to their mouths. Birds won’t usually damage your plants when they are eating aphids.
A few aphids are not a problem in your garden, but a few can soon turn into a bunch. Birds help to control how many aphids are in your yard by eating them. This is a healthy part of our ecosystem.
Put bird feeders, bird baths, bird houses, trees, shrubs, and other objects in your yard so more birds will visit often. This will give you better bug control in your yard because the birds will feed there.