Monday, March 18, 2013

Pests and the People Who Manage Them

I had a Pest Consultant come out and visit me at Morgan Hill Dog Sports.  It was his job to show me how to find and kill rodents that could cause harm to our facility.

He graciously explained that I had the triple threat:  Gophers, Moles, and Squirrels.  I knew about the gophers and Squirrels, Moles were a new thing for me.

With an educated eye, he helped me understand how gophers make their tunnels and how those tunnels can be found easily.  Then we moved on to Moles.  A different type of burrower, I learned how to identify their entrances as compared to a gopher and how to set the traps.

On to the squirrels.  He was so impressed with squirrel town he had to take photos.  He recommended using sticks that resemble dynamite and gassing the buggers.

After learning all about what could cause harm to my property, I found the gopher tunnels and set traps.  Receiving high marks from my consultant, I paid and sent him on his way with the satisfaction that I was taking action.  Five minutes later I caught and killed my first gopher. 

It wasn't all that much fun :( 

The next day we had a workshop at our facility.  I removed all the traps because I thought I had gotten the one gopher and didn't want the "view" messed up with traps.  The consultant assured me that gophers were solitary rodents and generally there would only be one per area. 

In comes a little terrier named Darby.  I should have paid Darby for a consultation because within a few hours, FOUR gophers were in her stomach from the little area that I had caught the one gopher.  Evidently I had killed the mother.  Leaving the dead mother in the den, the babies were making a run for it.  Darby got them and said "Yum."  I was totally shocked and horrified that I had killed the mother of these babies. 

But given time to think about it, I guess all is well.  All babies died very quickly.  No poison was used that could cause harm to the bird population, and Darby, well, she was pretty pleased with herself.

Evidently the moles had headed for the hills.  Darby gave the all clear and no traps had to be set for those.  Darby's mom said she would have Darby walk around the facility each week and alert me to any possible gopher/mole activity.  If Darby doesn't dispense with the rodent at that time, she will put a flag in for me to use a trap. 

I'm guessing I'll never need any of the that Darby in on the job.

The squirrels are also now quiet after 2 days of working on sending little dynamite sticks down into their tunnel systems.  The only evidence is large areas of dirt where I sealed up their burrow system.  Hopefully they got sleepy and fell into deep dreamless sleep.

I am not proud of the work that I did, but I am proud of taking action.  It isn't easy for me to kill critters, but my actions this weekend could possibly save me (or student) from a sprained ankle (or more serious injury) by removing the critters that make holes large enough to fall into.

NOTE:  I'm thinking that Olive might need a little border terrier playment...Julie, if you breed Darby, please put me on the list...but don't tell my husband...I know he doesn't read my blog :)


Trish said...

I read it. Borders are awesome!

Celeste said...

Oh, yeah. Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do.
Many years ago, I stood at the backdoor to our old farm house and saw my cat in the driveway, in a stand-off with a huge gopher. Both were sitting on their haunches, similar in size, and spitting at one another. The gopher's teeth looked huge. I had time to go to the closet and get my bb gun. I pumped it up - 12 times. Took aim and fired at the gopher. He fell, Mexie jumped on him, and I turned around to put the gun away. By the time I got outside the cat was gone, and the gopher was headless. It wasn't until later that it occurred to me that I might have hit our beloved cat...

Elf said...

I'm of mixed feelings about killing cute little critters, too. But, like you, the practical side comes out--rats in the attic can bring disease and illness, gophers in the agility yard can break legs. Sigh.