Nov 1st, 2020
What's The Difference Between a Nestbox and Birdhouse?
Nestbox vs. Birdhouse
A nestbox is mainly designed to serve as a structure for any nest-building animal to build their nests. A birdhouse is mainly used for accommodating birds only, and in addition to nest building, a birdhouse can also be used for yard decorations and gift-giving during the holidays. However, there are indeed a few more differences that are worth noting when distinguishing between a nestbox and birdhouse.
- Nestbox: Used to accommodate any type of mammal, reptile, bird or other, that needs a structure to nest and raise their young. Nestboxes are particularly useful for warmth and safety. Some animals cannot build their own nest, so they rely on nests that were built and previously occupied by other animals. Whether or not an animal is capable of building it's own nest, they need a safe place to build it, such as in-between large rocks, a ledge, thick brush, tree, or a man-made structure. There are many types of animals that build nests other than birds - insects, turtles, lizards, rats, snakes, crocodiles, dinosaurs, and even fish have all been known to use nests. Additionally, non-migratory animals will seek a place to stay warm during cold winter months, and a nestbox might help them to survive.
- Birdhouse: Can be used for the same purpose as a nestbox, but mainly for birds. Birdhouses go beyond that of an ordinary nestbox, as birdhouses can also be used for decorations and gifts for the holidays. Although the typical birdhouse is traditionally used for the purpose of promoting birdlife, birdhouses have always satisfied consumers with more than just one particular need. Of course, the most obvious is a functional home for birds, but also as a nice decorative item in the yard of a residential home. Decorative birdhouses can be placed on an indoor shelf, on an outdoor table as a rustic ornament, or hung in a garden as a nice way to compliment a colorful background. A decorative birdhouse also makes a great gift during the holidays. Multi-unit birdhouses are used as a way to promote interactivity among particular species. Purple Martins require a structure with multiple cavities for a place to congregate and socialize. Without these types of special structures, Purple Martin populations would likely decline.
Generally speaking, both a nestbox and birdhouse can serve the same purpose as far as providing birds a safe place to raise their young. In this case, these two terms can be used interchangeably.
Wasps - the misunderstood cousin..
Wasps are insects classified in the order of Hymenoptera (suborder of Apocrita, some of which are stinging). They are close cousins to bees. Wasps are hated by most everyone, but they are an important balancing factor in the environment. Like birds, insects also need a place to keep warm and safe. You can provide shelter for wasps by creating nesting sites for native bees and predatory wasps.
Your home landscape might be the perfect place to help pollinators. Several factors to consider when promoting bees and wasps are soil, sand, trees, shrubs, grass, masonry, and old nests that have been abandoned. Wasps have the ability to dig, crawl, arrange, and build nests in a number of various unassuming places in a typical residential yard.
Wasps are valuable pollinators, transferring pollen as they visit flowers to drink nectar. It's actually their thirst for sweet liquids that helps to explain why they are misunderstood and generally classified as a nuisance. Yes, their sting hurts, but it's not lethal. And because they are aggressive flying insect that carry venom, wasps make for effective predators that help control the numbers of other pests such as ants, cicadas, spiders, caterpillars and flies. A world without wasps would be a world with a very much larger number of insect pests on our crops and gardens.
Mice and rats both build nests. If you have a tolerance for these critters, there's really no need to help them out as far as providing nest boxes. They are well-suited for building their own nests.