Whether it is bees, birds or bugs, a good clean up in the Autumn will help lay the foundations for a more productive spring in the garden.
Our Beepol bumblebee colonies are all finished now and the new queens they produced, will already be hibernating for the winter. The wooden houses we provide for them should now be cleaned out and put away for the winter.
One of the foes of the bumblebee, the wax moth, is rather adept at using these homes for overwintering in. So to make sure that no pupa are stuck to the inside or burrowed in to the wood, use a wire brush to dislodge them when cleaning.
For birds, their bird boxes could also do with a clean out, to help prevent a build up of parasites and mites before the birds look to use them again in the spring.
Even a greenhouse can provide a handy home for some less welcome insects in the winter. If you leave any greenery, like weeds, in a greenhouse, even an unheated one, this can provide a nice overwintering spot for whitefly or aphids.
So a good weeding session now can significantly reduce pests transferring to your new plants in the spring.
The odd yellow sticky trap will also give you a good warning of early pests or help catch any unwelcome lodgers in the winter.
However, don’t be too tidy in the garden!
A pile of logs makes a good habitat for ladybirds and beetles and a pile of leaves might prove useful materials to a hedgehog looking to build or add to shelter for their hibernation homes.
Finally, as the temperatures drop, remember wild birds food supplies will dwindle, so start topping up bird feeders.
Will it be a cold winter, a wet one or a mild one?
Who knows? But whatever comes, let’s help create a good environment in our gardens for bees, birds and bugs – we need them all!