Halloween makes people scared of bats, but they don't fly into your hair. Actually, all eleven species of bats in Ohio eat night-flying insects, including mosquitoes. Bats are dwindling from white-nose syndrome. You can help bats by not going into caves, which spreads this disease. The article states that bats save Ohio farmers roughly two billion dollars in non-toxic pest control since they eat as many insects as their weight each day. This number is equivalent to 50 pizzas for a normal size person. Instead of cringing the next time you see a bat, thank it and plant night-insect-attracting plants (i.e. Evening primrose, Phlox, Royal catchfly, Fleabane, Goldenrod) and put up a bat house.
Ohio's Water has been in the news this summer, but not in good ways. Toledo's water was contaminated with toxic algae, sludge was in the Ohio River and central Ohio's water had elevated nitrate levels. Most Ohio cities experienced localized flooding from heavy storm water. We can help stop flooding and contamination. Clear your street gutter of leaves and grass. Mow with the shoot facing away from the street and rake leaves out of the gutter. Keep chemicals out of your yard, wash your car at a car wash instead of letting soap go into the street and pick up pet poop, gum, other debris and what falls out of the trash can when the truck empties it. Adopt a storm-water grate or drain and remove debris with gloves. Here are more simple tips of what you can do from Franklin SWCD.
Watch to see where runoff is flowing from your roof and create a native Rain Garden to catch and clean the runoff that goes unfiltered into our waterways and into our drinking water. The plants capture the first inch of rain and drain the soil within a day, significantly reducing pollutants to our water. Disconnect any drain pipes or basins still connected directly to the sanitary sewer in homes built prior to 1965.
Good news: Cincinnati added a native plant section to their weed ordinance. Here's the inspiring section called Managed Natural Landscaping. You can use this as a template to change the ordinance in your city if needed. Here are some tips to avoid legal problems with your habitat called Neighbor-Friendly Wildlife Gardening.
- Leave leaf litter wherever possible for insects to overwinter and for birds to find food, like the migrating Common Yellowthroat warbler pictured above refueling in my backyard. Rake some leaves into a pile on a tarp so you can pull them where you can keep them over winter (like under my man-made forest edge)
- Organic Lawn Care: Mow leaves to add nitrogen to your lawn
- Fertilize trees in fall with dead leaves and green matter to keep the roots warm
- Along Came a Spider, value of spiders to birds