By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support local journalism.
Birdhouses may be used to fight mosquito problem
Placeholder Image

A push by the city to educate the community about how to reduce the mosquito population will include encouragement to attract Purple Martins with birdhouses.
During Tuesday night’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting, McMinnville Public Works director Bill Brock informed the board that spraying will begin.
Along with chemicals, officials have decided to include the public in helping with the problem.
“This is a multi-approach to dealing with the problem,” said McMinnville Mayor Norman Rone. “We are including education for the public. Part of that will be to encourage people to build Purple Martin houses.”
Purple Martins live in colonies. In order to attract them, houses must accommodate a Martin colony. Location of the house is important. Purple Martins do not like to have trees or bushes, which can harbor predators, close to their nesting site. If they feel unsafe in any way, they will not stay.
Also, unlike other birds, Martins like human contact and do not eat from bird feeders. Birdhouses should be kept off the ground and within 60 to 100 feet of the house. Their diet consists of insects — dragonflies, horseflies, wasps, beetles, moths, grasshoppers and mosquitoes.
Rone says the city’s push could include a program that will help people obtain the necessary materials to build their own birdhouse.
“We hope to come up with some way to make it easy for people to get the materials to build the houses,” he said.
Alderman Jimmy Haley suggested the inclusion of Purple Martin birdhouses in the city’s public education program two months ago when officials were considering the purchase of chemicals to control the growing mosquito problem.
Haley says he isn’t a fan of spraying pesticides and using chemicals, but the city could use a combination of those and education.
“Purple Martins eat mosquitoes,” he said at that time. “In a lot of cities, in their parks and around their civic center, they will place Martin houses. Not one or two, but they will put up 15 or 20 houses. All birds, not just Martins, will eat mosquitoes.”
Other natural measures residents can do to help control the mosquito problem and reduce the amount of chemicals used is to remove standing water. Mosquitoes can use water in flower pots, containers, pet dishes, gutters, bird baths and wading pools to reproduce.
McMinnville Public Works will be in charge of the mosquito-abatement measures. Spraying was done two nights last week for a total of four hours.