Those creepy crawlies really bug me but will always be there

This week's Ponoka News Hammertime looks at the many bugs to give one the heebee-jeebees.

As the sun shines and the rest of the snow slowly trickles towards the drains, we can now start to dress down, head outside, and get close and personal with nature.

It is also that glorious time of the year when all sorts of bugs and tiny creatures will appear on the scene to invade our space, and in the case of mice or spiders often give many of us a case of the heebee-jeebees.

Most of us should endeavor to love, understand, and appreciate nature’s offspring, but it is those that we can’t see or swat that will always be the unwelcome pests, day or night. As we watch for all our winged and four-legged creatures we must accept there must be a reason for such species as skunks, porcupines, gophers, snakes, magpies, noisy crows, and whatever to be on this earth, and if we don’t like it we had better respect their territory, and then just jolly well getting on with enjoying the rest and the best of the season.

I ran across an article recently that had me roaming around our condo with my trusty fly-swatter poised and looking for bugs. Apparently a host of scientists spent lots of money and time actually completing a census from hundreds of households and found that creatures from more than 600 genera of arthropods are living alongside us in our homes. While many us may start to panic, their final conclusion was that in reality these creatures are already among us and they reflect our environment and affect our health. If all else fails we can always soup-up the power of our vacuums, call our friendly exterminator, or train our pets to be ‘bug-busters.’

Those diminutive and constantly chattering squirrels that love to scamper about everywhere in search of tasty tidbits have long been the source of fascination and frustration for those gardeners and bird enthusiasts who, during warm months, are constantly engaged in a battle to keep them away from the nuts and seeds that they faithfully put out to feed and attract the birds.

Some folks have even tried greased poles, loud music, and motion activated sprinklers, but nothing really seems to stop the ongoing efforts of the very determined squirrel clan. They have now even come up with a ‘squirrel proof’ bird feeder on top of a pole, which is draped in plastic and makes it very hard for the culprit to climb up to get to the treats. Then there is a so-called back-yard nature specialist who suggests that we feed these roving pests other treats such as corn, popcorn, or unsalted nuts so that they will lose interest in the bird-feeders and garbage cans, which may result in lots of action and maybe even a little bit more harmony among our fur and feathered visitors.

On the hilarious and entertaining side of this conundrum of nature, here are some of the best and most practical strategies to keep the wily squirrel and other roaming creatures and scavengers at bay.

Dig a moat around your feeder and then fill it with piranha.

Buy a squirrel costume and parade around your yard acting silly and making strange noises to the rhythm of rap music from the CD player on your deck. The squirrel and most everyone else, including the neighbours will likely all go away, or call the cops.

I found a most interesting article while browsing through an old 1961 Ponoka Herald last week. During an overwhelming invasion of magpies and crows in our town and districts the local Fish and Game Association and County of Ponoka sponsored an ‘extermination competition’, which resulted in the elimination of 4,800 magpies and 700 crows. A total of $336.12 was paid out to the enthusiastic teens that toured the countryside and eventually turned in 1,926 pairs of magpie and crow’s feet and 3,588 eggs.

Whatever the case these fast and flashy spring critters and creatures will never go away, so we need to accept their presence, and learn to always beware, but share our precious environment. Expect a little spring wind and rain, but go ahead and have a great warm week, all of you.