As the electric hedge trimmer whirs to life, the only thing on your mind is shaping your bushes so they don’t look like an unruly mess of leaves. You’re already envisioning how immaculate they’ll be when they’re trimmed down and perfectly manicured.
What you may not realize is there’s something just beneath the outer edges of your bushes. Those cute, jewel-colored hummingbirds you’ve seen flitting around your yard may be nesting inside the shade of your hedges. Every year countless hummingbirds nests are destroyed because they’re too small to see until it’s too late. The worst part is the babies hiding inside the nest are usually killed in the process.
Why Hummingbirds Are Beneficial
Habitat loss is one of the biggest threats for the hummingbird population. No one wants to spend their summer knowing they caused the demise of adorable baby hummingbirds. You’d also live with the guilt of knowing you did away with an excellent pollinator that can help keep your yard looking beautiful.
Biologists note that hummingbirds are kind of like a cross between a bird and an insect. Their wing muscles actually resemble an insect’s and allow them to hover like flying bugs. Hummingbirds also have an elongated beak and tongue, which allows them to suck nectar out of almost any flower. It’s something that hummingbirds have to do hundreds of times a day to avoid starvation. As they move from plant to plant, hummingbirds help pollinate the way a bee or butterfly would.
Unlike bees and butterflies, hummingbirds provide another benefit. They like to eat small insects that crawl across flowers. Hummingbirds will also round up thousands of insects to feed their hungry babies. Pollination and pest control in one!
How to Work Around Hummingbird Nests
If you’re interested in natural pest control, you may want to put off trimming the bushes back this summer. Sure, you could try to scour the bushes for hummingbird nests before trimming, but if you come across one you’re likely to scare them away. Instead, use these tips to protect hummingbirds while still keeping your hedges in line.
Time Your Trimming
The easiest way to avoid accidentally destroying a hummingbird’s nest is to trim your bushes in the spring before the nests are built or in late fall once the babies have flown away.
Trim the Edges With Handheld Hedge Shears
A hummingbird’s anatomy makes it easy to collect nectar, but it also has a few downsides. Their feet are so underdeveloped hummingbirds have to fly if they need to move more than a few inches. That’s part of the reason why they are so susceptible to fast moving hedge clippers. During the summer clean up just around the edges with handheld hedge shears as needed.
Clear Out Old Nests in the Fall
Hummingbirds have excellent memories, and if they find a good nesting spot they’ll come back year after year often repairing their nest from the previous summer. While you may want them around your property, a tree is a better spot for hummingbirds than the bushes. When fall rolls around look through your bushes and remove any nests you find so they’re not an issue next summer.
Are garden insects overwhelming your yard despite the hummingbirds? Vulcan Termite and Pest Control Inc. has provided exemplary pest control service in Central Alabama since 1965. Our highly trained technicians understand the local environment and know what wildlife concerns to watch out for. Give us a call today to keep insects under control all summer long.