Sunday, November 29, 2009

Owl Caught in Leg Hold Trap

        An owl was found in Moodus last Wednesday with it's leg caught in a leg hold trap. Unfortunately, it has since been euthanized. Leg hold traps are designed to merely hold the leg of an animal and they have padded jaws. You can take your fingers, put it in the trap, set it off and it will hold your fingers. It will not break or crush them. These are the only traps legal to use in Connecticut. The trap I saw on the news was not a padded trap, was severely rusted, and to be honest, it didn't look like it would function properly. I know about these traps. I ran a trapline when I was in High School. Leg hold traps are a valuable wildlife management tool, used by DEP and wildlife professionals to control populations of animals and to capture and eliminate or relocate problem animals. I don't use them in my business, only because cage traps work much better in most situations I run across, plus they have that media generated "evil" associated with them. Apparently, from what I have learned, the trap this owl was caught in was baited (illegal), set on dry land (illegal), and did not have the owner's name on it (illegal). Will somebody please explain to me how banning a useful tool when used properly and legally is going to prevent someone from using one illegally? I guess the same way more gun control legislation will stop young drug dealers from shooting each other with guns they possess illegally.
        I find it extremely suspicious that for two years in a row now, an owl has gotten caught in a leghold trap, shortly before the State Legislature is scheduled to start it's session, and "Ban the leghold trap" legislation is always on the agenda. The people backing this legislation, particularly the Humane Society of the United States, are mostly Animal Rights organizations. But, Jon, the Humane Society runs shelters for animals and everything. No, they don't. They are a National Animal Rights group that does nothing but propagandize, and start law suits to stopping hunting and trapping, and urge people to become vegans, etc. Do a google search on Wayne Pacelle, who is their head guy and see what it says about him. They don't spend one penny on animal shelters or animal welfare. They have NO connection with local Humane Societies, which do help animals and do wonderful things to take care of abused animals, find homes for them, etc.
        I suggest that anyone who supports banning these traps, go do a little research on what happened in Massachusetts with their beaver problem after leghold traps were banned in that state. I could tell you, but I'll leave it up to you. It ain't pretty!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Tiny Jumping Bugs

I have received about 3 calls for these in my first fifteen years in this business, then the other day I got two calls in one day. We went to the first job, because the customer had said they had a flea problem. I asked if they had any pets and they told me they had dogs and cats, so a flea problem made sense. We got our flea stuff together and headed out. When we arrived, we were met outside by the customer who took us around to the back of the house and pointed out that they had been seeing them clustered, inside and outside, where a sun room met the house. Clustered? Outside? Immediately, I began to dismiss the possibility of fleas, because they are not normally seen outside and don't cluster together. We went inside, and sure enough there were some crawling on the floor. I got down and looked closer. I touched one, and it jumped about three inches, just like a flea. I immediately knew what we had. They were "Springtails". These are very tiny insects, actually about half the size of a flea. They have a appendage on their "rear end", called a "furcula", that will snap down and allow them to be "thrown" quite a distance.There are about 700 different species of them in North America. One species is the "snow flea'. This is one of the only insects that are active when snow is still on the ground in the spring. They are black and sometimes huge numbers of them can be found on top of the snow. Normally, Springtails live outside in decaying organic matter where they feed on fungi, mold, and bacteria. Occasionally they will come inside. The problem inside is usually high humidity. There is really no need to treat them with pesticides, because they are just a nuisance, and won't get into food and they don't bite or sting. Setting up a dehumidifier will usually solve the problem. When the second customer
called, I was able to explain to her over the phone what her problem was and how to take care of it. Knowing what they were from her description saved me the trip.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

End of the Season II

Well, the busy season is about over. The annual mouse jobs are pretty much finished. We have a few more, but not many. The ants, bees, wasps, and hornets have pretty much all gone to Florida for the winter. I never did find out where they go down there. Disney World? Just kidding, they really just go dormant for the winter. We've been doing the last of the bat exclusions now, because they are gone for the winter. They really are. Off to old mine shafts and caves that are known as bat hibernaculas. One of the best known around here is the old iron mine in Roxbury, CT. I hope that "white nose syndrome" is a thing of the past, both for our sake (more bat work next summer) and the bats. That fungus has killed tens of thousands of bats in the Northeast in the past two winters and it is rapidly spreading south and west. Bats don't reproduce that fast, so it will be a long time before their population recovers, if it ever does. As we go into winter, we'll be getting some new mouse business as they move inside for warmth, and the occasional squirrel in the attic.More about squirrels in the future, including the squirrel from Hell.