Don’t you just love the birds? Those delightfully feathered friends are certainly our allies in the garden! They eat the bugs that prey upon our veggies and other plants. As a thank you, we provide them with clean houses in which to build their nests each spring. Read on to learn how to clean a birdhouse.
Step One – Preparation
Since birds can, unfortunately, sometimes be the carriers of disease, I’d strongly encourage the use of protective measures, such as gloves and a mask. I also like to wear an apron. Even if no diseases are present, we’d have no way of knowing that for sure. Besides, this process is messy business, so please take the necessary precautions.
Once you’ve gotten yourself ready, assemble your tools. You will likely need a screwdriver(and possibly a hammer), bucket, water source/hose, scrubbing tool (one that can be thrown out, like a sponge or old scrub brush), place to dispose of old nests, and a diluted bleach solution(recommended ratio is 1 part bleach to 9 parts water).
Step Two – Let’s Begin
Open up the birdhouse. Sometimes, they have a latch you can simply unhook. Most, however, have a screw or two holding a bottom or back panel in place. Completely remove that panel.
Sometimes things get a little stuck. It would be a shame to break the little hatchlings’ home.
Step Three – Ew
Empty the contents of the birdhouse – VERY CAREFULLY – for disposal. There will not only be the nests themselves.
There will be feathers.
(Just in case you get grossed out easily.)
We dispose of the old nests in a wild, wooded area on our property. We don’t put them in the garbage. They’ll break down and become woodland compost.
We just don’t mix it in with our garden compost.
Step Four – Scrub-a-dub
Get your bleach solution*, your scrubber, and your hose. Scrub the inside and outside of your birdhouse.
Remove those little stains. I know, EW.
Step Five – Rinse
Rinse the birdhouse well. A hose is the perfect tool for this.
Dispose of your sponge or scrub brush safely.
Step Six – Dry
Allow the birdhouse to dry outside in a sunny area. Sunlight and the heat generated from the sun is sanitizing.
Step Seven – Put it all back together
Once the birdhouse is dry, reassemble and put it away in a safe place for the winter. Here’s where your screwdriver, and possibly the hammer, will come in handy.
We store our birdhouses in a sealed container in the garden shed.
Put the birdhouses back out in the early Springtime!
Since we’ve been placing birdhouses around the garden, we’ve had far fewer predatory insects than ever before. The birds especially love the larva of the cabbage moth, as well as squash beetles, and tomato hornworms.
If you have chickens, then you probably already know what I’m talking about! They also help a great deal by eating the yucky bugs.
Maybe we’ll get us some chickens one of these days…
I’d love to know if you clean your birdhouses. If so, do you follow these steps? And do you have any tips to add?
*Recommended bleach solution ratio = 1 part bleach to 9 parts water