Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays’ take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘pests

Uninvited Company

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The weather was spectacular yesterday for walking our woods on the second Sunday of October. Unfortunately, it brought out more than just our invited guests.

I don’t know where they’ve been hiding until now, or whether they just coincidentally arrived from somewhere else on a day when the warm sunshine inspired hoards to congregate on warm surfaces, but the Asian Lady Beetle infestation has begun with a vengeance.

We’ve suffered their invasions in the past, so it’s not a total shock to see them again. Last year their numbers were low, and it was relatively easy to disregard them.

I don’t ever remember such a stark transition in a day, going from seeing none to suddenly having them arrive en masse.

In fact, I didn’t see any of them in the morning, but by afternoon they were everywhere and became an instant nuisance.

Cyndie was using the grill on our deck to cook dinner and the invaders were all over the outer screen door when she opened the inside door. I batted the screen to shoo them off and was surprised to find they were all on the inside of the screen.

As darkness fell and lights came on in the house, the bothersome bugs were already flying around lightbulbs and occasionally landing on us.

The small shop-vac was getting a good workout last night. Something tells me it is going to become a permanent fixture in our living space this winter.

I will also be maintaining my vigilant use of a cover on my ice-water cup, but with a renewed sense of priority for a while.

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Written by johnwhays

October 9, 2017 at 6:00 am

Brief Scare

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I didn’t get to hear about it until long after the fact yesterday, but for a moment in the morning, a chicken safety alarm was raised. Our trusty assistant, Shelby, was tending to the horses when a neighbor whom she didn’t know drove up our driveway exclaiming that a pair of wandering dogs had killed all her cats.

She suggested we protect our chickens, so Shelby ushered our three surviving birds back into their coop for the rest of the day.

When Cyndie told me this story, she said our neighbor described the dogs as a German Shepherd and a Chocolate Lab. That sounded familiar to me. A quick search of the trail cam files confirmed my suspicion.

These trouble makers were captured trespassing on our trail in the woods back in March of 2016. At the time, no harm had been done, so we didn’t bother seeking a verification of ownership.

Now, I’m thinking we might want to keep this photo handy on our phones for possible inquiries around the block. I will also look for a new vantage point from which to aim the trail cam again, in order to watch for possible new sightings of these two.

If they are still coming on our property, it troubles me a bit that they’ve been able to do it without ever being seen, beyond that time the camera caught them. With our frequent movement around the grounds every single day, it would mean they are pretty crafty in their stealth if they indeed have still been paying us visits unseen.

Even though it was just a brief scare yesterday, it has left us with a lingering feeling of unease.

Wonder if it will help to send these dogs love. If it doesn’t, I’d like to figure out a way to offer them some of Delilah’s sharp-toothed version of a greeting to discourage any future interest in choosing to cross our property lines.

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Written by johnwhays

September 1, 2017 at 6:00 am

Part Way

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I made it part way through doing a thorough job of re-leveling the gazebo frame when my patience for the project ran out and I resorted to doing a less-than-perfect, but good enough wrap up to call it done. Funny how the perspective changes when the limited hours in a day are slipping away and the cost/benefit assessment provides a justification for aborting a plan.

Only time will tell whether or not it was a worthy choice. In the short-term, we are well satisfied with our progress. The shaded platform is ready for use.

With that done, we did turn our attention to using the loader bucket to remove a significant portion of the oldest composting manure. These were piles that had gone cold due to no longer actively composting. Interestingly, of the three piles we tended to, two of them retained a lot of moisture and one was surprisingly dry.

The dry one proved to be suitable for rodent housing and it appeared we disturbed a momma mouse in the process of giving birth. While Cyndie was at the pile discovering that, I had driven off with a full bucket and spotted a large mouse scrambling to and fro on the mechanisms of the loader arms.

It was a little like trying to drive a car with a bee flying around you. It was pure luck that I didn’t bash into the side of the barn while backing up as I focused on trying to get the dang critter to jump off the bucket and not run up toward my position.

He skittered over to an opening at the end of one of the loader arms, so I lifted the bucket high to slide the mouse out, but I don’t know if it is actually open all the way through. I never saw where he came out, or maybe he’s still in there.

It’s the kind of mini-drama that we are growing accustomed to, and as a result, we tend to just shrug these encounters off and carry on with the task at hand.

All manner of creatures can be found taking advantage of the spaces we create. They probably see our occasional intrusions on their luxurious accommodations in a similar way we look at hazardous weather. It happens. You clean up after it and get on with life.

Mowing the fields dislodges a lot of crawling and slithering things. Last time out, the prevalent sighting was a leaping creature. Several large, long-legged frogs were disturbed by the big wheels and high RPM roar of the tractor. I’m pleased to be able to say I didn’t witness any unfortunate encounters with the whirring blades of the brush cutter.

There are still plenty of other compost piles for the rodents to take up residence. Better there than in our house. Inside, they have to deal with a storm called Pequenita. When that happens, we have to deal with watching where we place our feet in the morning.

It’s such a glamorous life we lead.

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Written by johnwhays

August 5, 2017 at 9:39 am

Unwelcome Infestation

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Yesterday started with a shock for us. We had just stepped out of bed and were getting dressed to take Delilah out to tend to the horses. Delilah strangely fixated on something that we assumed must be a dog toy that had rolled under the chair.

I suggested it was probably a mouse. I had the wrong pest.

Oh my gosh! ANTS!

I grabbed a flashlight to look under the chair for Delilah so I could pull out what she was so interested in. What the heck!? Ants have moved in and taken up residence at this outlet. They must like the warm transformer to incubate their eggs.

Maybe they thrive on electricity.

I wonder if our carbon monoxide detector still works. I didn’t test it.

When I saw all the wood particles, I worried, “Termites?”

Naw. The ants were just pulling out the scraps left in the opening cut for the outlet box.

Ain’t home ownership grand?

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(Today’s post partially delayed by the very distracting youtube live stream of April the giraffe giving birth…)

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Written by johnwhays

April 15, 2017 at 9:41 am

Winch Works

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I discovered that my problem with the dead winch on our ATV wasn’t the winch or the solenoid. It all works just fine if the wires are properly segregated. What would mess with the wiring?

dscn5177eRODENT invaders!

What is the deal with mice and chipmunks that they choose to chew on wires? Does the plastic coating taste good to them? Are they trying to get more copper in their diet?

The other question I have, from driving past farm after farm with equipment parked outside year round, is how they deal with the constant threat of damage from nesting critters.

We leave our truck parked outside most of the time, and now when we lift the hood there is the disconcerting sound of collected acorns rolling down inside the lid.

The heat tapes that our gutter installer put in the problem spots of our roof and routed through the downspout and into the garage to the AC outlets only lasted one year before rodents chewed through both of them.

Maybe this explains why one of our neighbors has so many outdoor cats. A way to keep the rodents at bay.

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Written by johnwhays

September 17, 2016 at 8:36 am

Home Invasion

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I am now thrust from the bliss of the bike trip into the harsh reality of home ownership and maintenance. I came home to this scene Wednesday:

DSCN4892eSome pesky critter is building a cathedral in my home and he/she/it is removing a LOT of insulating material in the process. I shudder to think what the space looks like in there.

DSCN4893eWe didn’t bother looking any further than the gaping hole located above the pile of pieces, which we immediately filled with a combination of some of the stuffing from the pile below, a couple of wads of steel wool, a section of screen mesh, and plenty of caulk.

I hope the residents were not at home when we sealed the entrance.

This kind of thing helps me to miss being on the bike trip even more than I already was.

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Written by johnwhays

July 1, 2016 at 6:00 am