Taking a cue from the NSA, I blew up and enhanced one of the images our CritterCam took over the weekend. It reveals two rats peeking out from under the shed.
It may be time to consider locking up the chicken feed at night. That and a little cleanup behind and around the shed are the only things I feel the need to do.
A rant on rat poison
Thankfully, the general public can no longer buy d-CON rat poison in California. Unfortunately, professionals still have access to even more toxic chemicals. These poisons have been linked to the recent illness of the magnificent mountain lion that lives in nearby Griffith Park. Check out the before and after photos to see what these horrible chemicals can do.
It’s my hope that the principles of Integrated Pest Managment, developed by a team of scientists at the University of California in the 1950s will gain even more traction. I met the daughter of one of the UC researchers who developed IPM. She told me that her dad had basically sacrificed his career to further the IPM cause. At the time, and to some extent to this day, there’s a lot of incentive to sell poisons.
IPM offers a balanced, common sense approach to dealing with critters like rats: observe, reduce habitat for the creatures we don’t want and increase habitat for predators, use barriers, use biological controls and use toxins as a very last resort.
Our own health and the health our planet demands a less toxic approach to pest management.
We linked to this project in our last link roundup, but I though it deserved its own post. The Lost Ladybug Project is a citizen science initiative out of Cornell University asking people all over North America to identify and report ladybugs they see in their area, so that these sightings can be mapped and collected in a database. Apparently some sketchy things are going on with our ladybug populations (as if the whole bee thing isn’t traumatic enough) and they’re trying to get a handle on it. From their website:
Across North America ladybug species composition is changing. Over the past twenty years native ladybugs that were once very common have become extremely rare. During this same time ladybugs from other parts of the world have greatly increased both their numbers and range. This is happening very quickly and we don’t know how, or why, or what impact it will have on ladybug diversity or the role that ladybugs play in keeping plant-feeding insect populations low. We’re asking you to join us in finding out where all the ladybugs have gone so we can try to prevent more native species from becoming so rare.
But still….ladybugs!!! Check out their website. It looks like a fun thing to do, for both kids or grownups. Part of the fun is learning to tell the difference between the different types of ladybugs. There’s lots of educational resources for homeschoolers and teachers. And yes, there’s even an ap for it.
It might be a little late in the year for the best counting, but I’m going to go out in the garden and see what I can find.
Our guest on the next episode of the Root Simple Podcast will be Lyanda Lynn Haupt, author of The Urban Bestiary: Encountering the Everyday Wild. We’re interviewing her tomorrow (Thursday) so if you have a question about coyotes, moles, raccoons, opossums, squirrels, rats or any of the other creatures that visit our urban backyards, leave a comment.