Time to clean the bird feeders
The birds are the hardest workers in my garden, eating all the bugs I don't want - and some that I do. They made short work of the swallowtail butterfly caterpillars on my parsley.
I feed the birds until late in the spring, so they associate my garden with food and hang around for the summer. Besides, the insect population needs time to generate in the spring.
And I don't feed them too early in the fall so they will finish the job. Besides, I have planted coneflowers and Joe Pye weed and other perennials with birds in mind.
But now is as good a time as any to clean the birdfeeders.
Clean feeders thoroughly at least once a month. Popular feeders should be cleaned more frequently. Hummingbird feeders should be cleaned each time the nectar is refilled.
Feeders can be sanitized with a solution of one part bleach to nine parts hot water. A mild solution of unscented dish soap is OK, too.Each feeder should be cleaned inside and out, including all feeding ports, perches, lids, platforms and reservoirs. Hooks, poles and any other parts where feces may collect should also be cleaned.
Use rubber gloves to avoid contamination. Use stiff brushes for thorough cleaning. Birding and regular pet stores have special brushes for different sizes and shapes of feeders, but an old toothbrush is good for cleaning small parts.Rinse thoroughly - 10 seconds in clear, clean water.
Feeders should be dried thoroughly to prevent mold and mildew from forming.
Clean around the feeders, too. Remove old or damp seed from beneath feeders and refresh mulch or gravel to cover droppings.Keep birdbaths and other perches clean, too.