Category Archives: Landscape Water Conservation

Landscape Water Conservation

They’re Out for Blood!

mosquito-swarm-red-dawnA new “Red Dawn” is here. Invaders from all over the globe are taking over our neighborhoods and these guys and gals “Bite” and “Suck Your Blood”.  The newest of the bunch is the aedes-noto-2Aedes notoscriptus, the Australian Backyard Mosquito.  Joining the other two invasive, non-native, Aedes Mosquito species (aedes aegypti and aedes albopictus) this hungry mosquito is plaguing Southern California and together with its’ companions is bringing the risk of disease (Zika virus, dengue fever, yellow fever, chikungunya and in dogs, heartworm).

The Aeaedes-albopictus-1des albopictus (the Asian tiger mosquito) arrived in California in 2011 and the Aedes aegypti (the yellow fever mosquito), in 2014. The newest arrival, Aedes notoscriptus has been aedes-egyeptiidentified here since early 2017 and its’ populations are increasing exponentially, (that means really fast) due to the hot humid weather we have been experiencing.

Back yard breeders and daytime feeders.

Females of this dark colored mosquito, with outstanding lighter markings, banded legs, and a white band across the proboscis, bite humans chiefly by day in shaded areas. These mosquitoes don’t fly very far, so much of their spread has been helped by the transport of their eggs in everything from flower pots and old tires to trains, planes and automobiles. They are known to prefer breeding in container environments.

Being extremely tiny and aggressive, people never see what’s biting them, leading to misidentification of the attacks as coming from spiders, bed bugs, sand flies or fleas.

Their bites, often concentrated on ankles and legs below the knees, look like clustered pinpricks. They quickly become red and inflamed and grow into big red welts and rashes with scratching.  These bites seem to be extra itchy and that can be because our immune systems haven’t gotten used to them yet.

According to vector control officials, these three species, lay eggs on the sides of barrels (and other containers), not just in standing water, so even though you dump out the water, they can remain alive (and in wait) in people’s yards for years.

Keep safe from mosquitoes by following a few rules.

 In your yard and around your house:

  • Decrease watering schedules                        yard work
  • Remove standing water
  • Limit outdoor activities when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Cut back (prune) dense foliage
  • Mow tall grasses
  • Fix broken screens
  • Move outdoor lighting away from windows and doorways
  • Burn citronella candles or torches on or around the patio or other outdoor areas where activities are being performed.

When you don’t have the time or the inclination to implement the needed procedures to safeguard your landscape plants and gardens from mosquitoes, considegetting help from a professional pest control company and have them, do the work for you.

When you are outdoors: mosquito repellant spray

  • Limit outdoor activities when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Wear protective clothing (long-sleeved shirt and pants).
  • Use a proven effective mosquito repellent (products containing Deet or oil of lemon and eucalyptus)

For more information on these Southern California Invaders check out the link below.

Meet the new daytime mosquito spreading misery in California

When it comes to Gophers; If you want Peace, Prepare for War!

It seems that in the world of “Gopher Control”, nothing is foolproof.  Methods of extermination abound and stories of success and failures run rampant.  Whether your preferred method is to repel them and make them go elsewhere (like the neighbors’ yard) or to outright kill them, it seems they either find their way back or are somehow miraculously resurrected.  So begin the Gopher Wars…….

Prepare your battle strategy, fortify your perimeters, and stock up on your ammunition.  The battle begins………

GopheGopher resistant plantsr resistant Plants: Consider ringing your gardens with plants that repel gophers or change up your garden to include plants that gophers just don’t like to eat.  Here’s a link to a list of plants you might choose. http://www.mostlynatives.com/plant-characteristics/gopher-resistant

Natural Predators:  The enemy of my enemy is my friend. This holds true for those creatures who prey upon gophers. These predators can be yGopher and black catour allies, maintaining air and ground cover; owls, hawks, cats, dogs, gopher snakes and even coyotes.

 

 

Smelly Repellants: Peppermint oil, garlic oil, moth balls, castor oil, tabasco saucegopher stinky fish, fish oil or fish heads, rotting eggs, used cat litter, dog poop and urine (any kind you have available). Whip up your own concoction and place it into and around the gopher holes to discourage them from targeted areas. These methods need to be continually refreshed.

Noise makers and vibrators: Rattling gophers pinwheelspinwheels, Ultra-sonic noise makers and vibrators, a radio (that can be placed inside a gopher’s tunnel, will scare gophers away.  If you really want to scare them away for a long time, use a roto-tiller.

Juicy Fruit Gum: Does more than double the gophers pleasure but not much. Rumor is that gophers love Juicy Fruit Gum.  Place a couple oGophers and Juicy Fruit Gumf sticks in a hole and if the gopher is in the mood for gum, he’ll chew it and swallow it and depending on the gopher’s digestive system it may block the intestinal track eventually killing the gopher.

Gas or Smoke Bombs: Highway flares, smoke bombs, gas bombs and forcing carbon monoxide throughout their tunnels are all effective in mgopers being blown upaking gophers depart their current living quarters but they are not long term solutions. Without a maintanence program or destroying their tunnel systems, they or others will return.

 

Death by drowning: This popular method is probably one of the least effective and most wasteful, considering gophers naturally buildgopher holes hose and water nests, food caches and chambers that can be barricaded against heavy rains and flooding.  They are well equipped physically to block passages and effectively divert the flood waters, leaving wasted water (a high water bill), muddy ground and annoyed neighbors (with wet soggy yards) as a result.  Oh! And don’t forget the water police (here in Southern California), you might even get a fine for using too much water.

Poisons: Vitamin D3 naturally upsets the gophers’ ability to metabGopher Poison old picolize calcium and overdoses lead to death. On the harsher and more dangerous side are products designed to inhibit blood clotting causing internal bleeding and death, to restricted products like strychnine that kills gophers and anything else that might eat it or the poisoned gopher.

Is there a way to make their disappearance final?  Can yards and gardens be successfully saved from these hungry, destructive, digging machines?  The answer is a definite maybe! when you do-it-yourself.

The essential action you must take is consistent attention. No matter what method you decide upon, it is important to follow through, keep vigilant and act immediately when activity is observed.

When is it time to hire a professional exterminator?

When time, money and patience have run out and the gophers seem to be enjoying the “game” and you start to dream of them laughing and planning their next assault, it’s time to throw in the shovel, turn off the water and call for help.

Got a favorite method to get rid of gophers? Share what’s worked for you?

More Solutions for getting rid of gophers: http://www.avtreefarm.com/critters/gophersolutions.htm

Stay “Mosquito Free” while collecting and storing water for future use

The water conservation minded, dutifully collecting rain water and other runoff water to use in their gardens and landscapes, are finding mosquitoes in and around their collection barrels and buckets.

rain-barrel-1Standing water in storage containers is a perfect breeding place for mosquitoes.  Don’t panic, there are several simple but effective things you can do to keep these pesky, biting insects out of the water and away from collection receptacles, small ponds, bird baths and anywhere else that water accumulates.

Barrel covers, mosquito eating fish, insecticidal tablets (containing BT, bacillus thuringiensis), efficient pumps and drainage systems, are all effective solutions for controlling mosquito populations.  An even simpler and still safe and effective solution, is adding a small amount of vegetable oil to the water.  A light oil slick makes it impossible for mosquito larvae to live in the water.  It has also been suggested that natural essential oils can be used in place of vegetable oil.  The success and safety of using essential oils hasn’t been completely verified but if you’ve tried it, let us know how it’s worked for you.

Like the idea of using free mosquito eating fish?  County agricultural and vector control departments will provide the fish free of charge.  Check out the following links:

San Diego County http://www.sandiegocounty.gov/deh/pests/wnv/services/chd_wnv_mosquito_fish_locations.html

Los Angeles County

http://www.glacvcd.org/vector-information/mosquitofish/

San Bernardino County

http://www.sbcounty.gov/dph/dehs/Depts/VectorControl/mosquito_and_vector_control_home.aspx

Riverside County

http://www.northwestmvcd.org/Northwestmvcd/Mosquito_Fish.html