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From creating a pond, to building a wormery, see RHS expert advice on encouraging wildlife
Search our A- Z directory of garden fauna, from beneficial insects to irksome pests.
Amphibians, frogs, toads and newts, can be beneficial garden creatures which will predate on a wide range of invertebrates. They can be encouraged by providing a pond where tadpoles can develop. At least one side of the pool should gradually slope up to dry land. Adult frogs and toads can be encouraged by providing log piles and other damp habitats in which they can shelter.
Bats are active at night and so often go unseen. They are predators of insects, some of which are garden pests or nuisance insects, such as mosquitoes. Bat numbers have declined over the last 50 years and so they will benefit from steps taken to make gardens more bat-friendly. Bats are also recognised biodiversity indicators and their presence is an indication of a healthy, insect-rich environment.
Bees visit flowers to collect nectar and pollen, which they use as food for themselves and the larvae in their hives or nests. By moving from flower to flower, they are vital pollinators of many garden and wild flowers. Insect pollination which can be carried out by any insect that visits flowers including many flies, beetles, butterflies and moths is essential for the cropping of most fruits and some vegetables.
Garden birds benefit from feeding all year round but winter is a particularly valuable time to provide additional food. However, don't forget to provide water for drinking and bathing as well. Approximately 30 species of bird are regular garden visitors, although more than 140 bird species have been recorded in British gardens.
Butterflies are attractive insects and they give added interest to gardens when they visit flowers to feed on nectar. A few species have caterpillars that are feed on garden plants, but most do not cause any damage in gardens.
Centipedes are predatory animals belonging to the class Chilopoda. They can provide some benefit in gardens as some of the invertebrates they consume will be those that can damage garden plants.
Britain has about eight to ten species of earthworms that are likely to be found in gardens. They vary in size and colour, but all have a role to play in creating good soil structure and fertility.
The large caterpillars of this attractive moth are regularly found in gardens in late summer.
Used sparingly, lights in the garden can enhance its night-time charms, but what about the effects on wildlife?
Gardens are known to support good numbers and a wide range of pollinators, but worryingly bees and other pollinators are considered to be in decline. Gardeners can make a difference to help reverse this trend.
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