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Protecting Bird Nests from Grey Squirrels During the Breeding Season

Do you have a bird’s nest fern in your home? Are you having trouble keeping it healthy? If so, you may be facing a scale insect infestation and a fivefold increase in the likelihood of grey squirrels raiding bird nests near feeders during the breeding season. In this article, we’ll discuss how to identify and treat scale insects, as well as tips for keeping your bird’s nest fern thriving. Read on to learn more!

Caring for Bird Nest Ferns

Bird nest ferns are a popular choice for houseplants because of their unique foliage and easy-care requirements. When it comes to watering, you don’t want to let the soil dry out too much between waterings. To determine when your bird nest fern needs water, check the top 1”-2” of the soil – if it’s dry, your plant needs a drink! Watering once a week should suffice; however, make sure that moisture does not remain in the top few inches as this can cause root rot.

When it comes to light, bird’s nest ferns prefer medium to low indirect light. Direct sunlight can be too intense and may scorch the leaves, so make sure your plant is placed in an area that receives bright but indirect sunlight. The amount of light a bird’s nest fern is exposed to will affect how crinkled the leaves are – with less light, the foliage will be more crinkled than when exposed to brighter indirect sunlight.

When it comes to watering your bird nest fern, bottom watering is an effective method. This involves filling a sink or tray with an inch of water and then placing the pot in the water. The soil will absorb the moisture it needs through its drainage holes at the base of the pot. Bottom watering will not wash away salts and other minerals from the soil, so make sure to give water over the soil every now and then.

How the Bird Nest Fern Gets Water in its Natural Environment

In order to properly take care of a bird nest fern indoors, it is important to mist the fronds with a water bottle to provide plenty of humidity. A layer of mulch on the soil surface also helps retain moisture and feed the fern with a water-soluble fertilizer every other week during the growing season. Additionally, replant your bird nest fern in a larger pot with fresh soil every couple of years for best results.

But how does the bird nest fern get water in its natural environment? The answer lies in the roots of the plant. The roots from the central stem consolidate dead leaves into a huge mass, which is capable of soaking up rainwater and providing essential vitamins and minerals to the fern. This means that even though it grows high up from ground level, it is still self-sufficient when it comes to food and water.

Where to Place a Bird’s Nest Fern in Your Home

Where is the best place to put a bird’s nest fern in your home? Most ferns prefer indirect light and should not be placed where direct sunlight will hit them, as this can result in a dry, crispy plant. North or east-facing windows provide the ideal amount of light for bird’s nest ferns. Another option is to place the pot near an artificial source of light such as a fluorescent lamp. This will allow you to control the amount of light that reaches your fern and ensure that it gets just enough indirect sunlight without becoming scorched by direct exposure.

Treating Scale Infestations in Bird Nest Ferns

Despite taking all the necessary precautions, bird nest ferns can still be susceptible to pests such as scales. Scales are small insects that feed on plant sap and can cause yellowing of leaves and other damage to the plant. To get rid of scales, an effective insecticide is needed. Neem oil for houseplants is a natural insecticide that has been proven to be very effective for treating scale infestations on indoor plants. When using neem oil, it’s important to thoroughly spray the entire plant – both its leaves and stems – until it is dripping with the solution. Allow your bird nest fern some time after spraying before exposing it back in its usual spot in your home or garden.

In the case of light infestations, you may use a soft toothbrush or cotton swab dipped in soapy water or 70% isopropyl alcohol to gently remove the scale. Some plants may be sensitive so it is important to test a small area first. If necessary, check plants every few days and repeat treatment.

The scales themselves are flat, tiny, reddish-brown insects that suck plant juices and leave a sticky coating on leaves after they do so. Adult scale insects have a hard shell which makes them difficult to kill and can usually be found on the underside of leaves near the central leaf vein.

In the case of ferns, an injurious scale species, called the fern scale, is present. The female scales are brown and the males are white. Asparagus, bird’s nest and Nephrolepis species of ferns can all be damaged by this insect.

To identify a scale infestation, keep an eye out for shell-like bumps on the stems or leaves of your plant. A sticky substance on the plant is a common sign of a scale problem, as this substance called honeydew is secreted by the scales when they drain moisture from your plant.

Feeding Birds near a Bird’s Nest Fern: Considerations and Risks

When it comes to feeding birds near your bird’s nest fern, caution is advised. While putting food out for birds can be beneficial in many ways, it is important to consider the potential risks associated with doing so. Studies have shown that there is a fivefold increase in the likelihood of grey squirrels raiding bird nests near feeders during the breeding season when food is put out for birds. Therefore, if you are planning on providing food for local wildlife, make sure to keep an eye on any nearby nesting sites and take steps to reduce the chances of squirrels raiding them.


In conclusion, it is important to keep an eye out for signs of a scale infestation, as well as to know the proper care for the bird’s nest fern. Additionally, it is important to note the fivefold increase in the likelihood of grey squirrels raiding bird nests near feeders during the breeding season when food is put out for birds. With the proper knowledge, one can ensure a healthy and happy bird’s nest fern.