On hot days all creatures will seek water and shade, with a little bit of help from you you may save a life, a small life perhaps, but every little bit counts. Without access to water and shade, heat exhaustion and even death can occur.
Take an extra water bottle out wherever you go and water a small piece of grass verge or wild patch, that little kindness may make a big difference.
If the hot, dry conditions carry on we may see wild plants start to die. If that happens, our gardens and the well-watered plants in them will become even more important to insects.
Regularly watered plants, and habitat-orientated gardens are a lifeline for bees and butterflies. Drier conditions make worms tunnel further into the soil, becoming scarce for the wildlife that usually feasts on them, such as blackbirds, robins, hedgehogs and frogs. To compensate, additional food should be left out to make sure suitable nutrition is provided throughout the summer to such animals. A substitute for earthworms is dog or cat food, which blackbirds readily take and feed to their chicks. The texture of tinned meaty chunks is perfect as it avoids hard lumps that cause birds to choke. Black sunflower seeds, mild grated cheese, and of course, bird seed, are also good, but make sure to steer well clear of any salts, which are toxic to birds.
Have some undisturbed areas of shade
If you have lots of plants, you may naturally have cool and shady parts in your garden. These areas can provide a refuge to wildlife from direct sunlight, which heats things up very quickly. If you’re unsure how much shade you have available, have a quick look in your garden at the peak heat of the day (around noon to 3pm) and see which areas are sheltered from the sun. Try and keep any shaded, vegetated areas undisturbed during this time to give wildlife a spot of refuge.
Provide piles of wood, old bricks, slates anything that can give a small creature some shelter.
Climbing vines, ground cover, and longer grasses also provide good shade sources. Keeping grass a little longer will help retain moisture and does better against drought conditions, longer grass also gives animals better cover from predators, so don’t tidy your garden and cut the grass in this hot weather.
Make A Mini Oasis!
The hot weather could be causing natural water sources to dry up, meaning birds, insects and hedgehogs could be left without anything to drink. Turning your outside space into a home for nature by doing simple things like topping up your birdbath, creating a make-shift pond from a washing-up bowl or putting down a saucer filled with water could offer a vital lifeline. Any container will do dustbin lid, kitchen trays, pot lids think large and small and scatter them in groups around your garden.Use only shallow bowls so small animals do not drown. Alternatively (or additionally) add a few rocks or sticks so they can easily crawl out. Do not use metal bowls as these will become hot and may burn their feet or paws. Place the water in a shady spot, out of the way of human activity and protected from domestic pets.
Locate water bowls and birdbaths away from the afternoon sun in the summer and make sure to clean them at least once a week.
Bees need smelly water!
Biologists believe that bees probably find most of their water by scent rather than sight, so a water source with a smell will be more attractive. Water that smells like wet earth, moss, aquatic plants, worms, decomposition, or even chlorine, has a better chance of attracting a bee than sparkling water straight from the tap.
Smelly or slimy water sources have the advantage of containing a wide range of nutrients as well. Although a bee gets most of her nutrients from nectar and pollen, some water sources are rich in vitamins and micronutrients that can boost honey bee nutrition.
The other thing bees like is a safe place to stand. Water in a steep-sided container or water that flows quickly is dangerous to a bee because they can easily drown. A saucer filled with marbles or stones makes an excellent water station
How About Using An Old Paint Roller Tray?
How about using an old paint roller tray? They have a slope and a deeper area making them ideal as a mini water feature!