Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Accounting for Advice

Many readers have been giving me advice on various issues over the years, and I don't always follow up to let people know if I heeded that advice and if it worked.  So, I wanted to take a few minutes to describe the results of trying out some recent advice.  I don't recall who told me to do what, sometimes several people said the same thing, and sometimes the advice came from readers while other times it came from people outside of this blog.  I don't want to get into researching who said what, so I'm not listing any names here.

Problem:  Scorpions getting into the house.
Solution:  Sprinkle Borax detergent around the entryways to the house.  It dries the scorpions out and eventually kills them, unlike pesticides, which are expensive and don't soak through their hard exoskeletons.  The pesticides are really to kill the crickets, which scorpions like to eat.
Result:  After sprinkling Borax around, I found all kinds of interesting animal prints in it.  I'd swear that every creature in the desert comes out at night and has a party on our porch.  Since doing this, I haven't found any scorpions in the house, and we have found one dead scorpion in the Borax.  It's still too soon to tell if it's a total success, though.  I can see that one of the downsides of this solution is having the wind blow the granules away and having soap soak into the ground.

Problem:  Desert Cottontails chewing through the drip system.
Solution #1:  Put mothballs in the bushes.
Result:  My family nearly killed me for trying this one out.  Mothballs and extreme heat do not mix well.  The heat releases the toxic fumes of mothballs.  Because the location where the bunnies were chewing through the drip system was under a thick hedge along the walls of the house, I had to sprinkle mothballs under windows.  Even with the windows closed, the entire house stunk to high heaven for days and gave everyone headaches, even after we removed all but a handful of mothballs.  On top of that, we still have a herd of bunnies living under our hedge.  It didn't affect them one bit.
Solution #2:  Leave water bowls out for the bunnies as an alternative to breaking the drip lines open with their teeth.
Result:  No breaks in the drip system since I've been doing this, but it is a pain to remember to refill the bowls every morning.  I did find a bowl that the previous owners had left out and have noticed that a lot of households in my area provide some kind of pool or birdbath or other water source for the wildlife.  I thought at first it was because they enjoyed watching the wildlife, but now I'm realizing that it is probably to protect their drip systems.

Problem:  Nails left behind after construction.
Solution:  Pick them up with a magnet.
Result:  I found just a little round magnet we had in the house and tied a string to it.  Despite it being very small, this magnet did successfully pick up all the nails and screws that I could spot.  The previous owners left behind some really large, heavy magnets.  I'm sure that if I attached them to something I could move, then I'd be able to pick up more than just what I can see.

Problem:  Rodents crawling up under the hood of our cars and chewing up the wiring.
Solution:  Park cars in garage at night or on lighted surface.
Result:   No broken down vehicles since we started doing this.  However, if we leave our garage doors open even for a few minutes, we find all kinds of animals inside -- everything from Palo Verde Beetles to tarantulas to scorpions to birds to bunnies.  My son noticed blood droppings in our garage, so we're not sure if the blood belonged to a bird that got hurt flying around in there or if a coyote made a kill in there.  At least it's not like Northern Nevada where you leave your garage door open and find a bear inside... or a skunk... or a nosy neighbor.  Not sure which is worse.


RiverBend Farm said...

Thanks for sharing! We do get a lot of advice but this, I think, is the first time I've seen results listed.

Reddunappy said...

LOL some things work some dont!!

At least your willing to give things a try!!!

sydney K said...

haha I am sure I have mentioned the mothball thing. We have used them for every animal under the sun. Cats, coons, possum, rabbits, skunks, chickens even. They work well. Wile I haven't used borax I do use diatomaceous earth. It also works well for horse parasites and if it's food grade it is safe for them to ingest.

lilyrose said...

So glad the bunnies are leaving your drip system alone. I shoo the tarantulas out with a broom. I don't mind them-but I don't want a bunch of baby tarantulas hatching in my garage! The only critters I like seeing in my garage are the geckos. They eat the crickets that attract the scorpions. Love those little geckos! :)

Snipe said...

Another possibility for your wildlife watering issues may be to rig a little guzzler using a bit of drip line, a paint roller pan, and some sort of cover to prevent excessive evaporation. The roller pan is a gradual slope so the smaller critters wouldn't drown in a bowl. Anyway, you bury the pan so the top is a little above the soil, route the drip line so it drips into the pan, and add a cover of some sort to slow down the evaporation process. That way, you wouldn't have to fill it every day. If you want to get fancy, you could limit the size of the entrance to the water so only the smaller animals can use it.

achieve1dream said...

LOL! Nosy neighbor in the garage totally has to be the worst. :D That cracked me up. I'm glad everyone is helping you with the suggestions. I know nothing about living in the desert so I'm no help, but it's definitely interesting learning about all of it.