Which? Gardening warns against pointless wildlife products

Animal friendly gardeners may be wasting money on ineffective garden products designed to attract provide homes for wildlife, Which? Gardening warned.

In the year long trial by Which? Gardening, not a single butterfly was seen to use the Gardman Butterfly Haven (£14.99), no lacewings were seen visiting the Chapelwood Lacewing Chamber (£22.95) and just one ladybird was seen checking into the Crocus Ladybird Hotel (£9.99).

The Hoggy Home (£69 from Wiggy Wigglers) was deemed expensive and unnecessary by the Which? Gardening experts.  According to the Hedgehog Preservation Society, hedgehogs should be able to build their own shelters as long as there is a supply of nesting materials, such as leaves, grass and straw and a suitable place to nest.

Not only was the Wildlife World Bumble Bee Nester (£26.99) unpopular with bees – not a single bee was seen visiting the nests - but the instructions given also alarmed the wildlife expert.  The manufacturer recommends capturing a queen bee in early spring and trapping it inside the Bumble Bee Nester for a couple of days. Taking wildlife hostage is not something wildlife experts would encourage.

A home-made solitary bee nest costing next to nothing to make proved more successful than a shop-bought version in the year-long Which? Gardening trial.

Which? Gardening editor Ceri Thomas said: "Gardens are extremely important to wildlife, and many gardeners enjoy observing the many creatures that visit them over the year.

"But there are many other ways to attract wildlife in to your garden, and people shouldn’t be fooled into thinking that these attractive shop-bought abodes are worth the price tags they come with."

Which? Gardening recommends the following to attract wildlife into the garden:

  • Build a log pile. This will attract insects and hedgehogs looking for a place to nest.
  • Start a compost heap. Birds, hedgehogs and toads will feed on the mini beasts which congregate in the heap.
  • Use hedges instead of fences. Hedges provide shelter and nesting sites for wildlife. Plants with berries and flowers also provide food.
  • Be untidy. Piles of leaves and plant debris are valuable nesting material for wildlife.  Leave deadheading until spring.
  • Plant nectar-rich flowers such as honeysuckle, lavender, marigolds and buddleia.
  • Allow nettles and weeds to take over a corner of your garden, insects love them.
  • Make a rockery. Toads, newts and some frogs overwinter on land under rocks.
  • Dig a pond. Water attracts many different creatures. Choose a sunny spot and make

at least one side a gentle slope to give wildlife easy access.

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