Critters want to share [UPDATED]Published 11:26am Wednesday, October 17, 2012 Updated 1:41pm Wednesday, October 17, 2012
This is the time of year every one and every critter is looking for a warm winter home. Now that the farmers have harvested their beans, the air is full of lady beetles.
They congregate on the south and east sides of light colored buildings and look for a way in. Boxelder bugs are just as busy just looking for a home. And the mice, they love your house.
Not only is it warm, there is food and paper to shred for a nice warm nest. Snakes will also crawl in if given a chance. So what is a body to do to repel boarders?
If you are able, crawl around the perimeter of your house, closely examining the area where the basement and house meet for holes. A crack only a half-inch wide will let all of these creatures into your house. After you have plugged all those holes, check around the windows and the vertical trim boards. Expanding foam does a very good job of filling voids that are hidden from the eye.
If you do have an outside wall covered in beetles or boxelder bugs, a quick solution is a few drops of liquid dish soap in a gallon of water sprayed on the crawlers. It dries them up so they die. Since the siding is already soapy, hose it off. Now you have a nice clean house, outside anyhow.
For snakes, remove any brush, or shrubs that touch the house. If you have larger rocks around the foundation, you more than likely have snakes hiding in them. If they are in the house, you are on your own.
Mice should be excluded from your living quarters if all the holes are plugged up.
If you have bats, call the batman. This is usually not a job for the homeowner. One of the worst things about bats is they wake up in the winter if the attic warms up. If they can get downstairs, panic time. They usually will move toward a light. During the day they will head for the windows and perch on the drapes. At night, shut all the lights off, open a door and hold a flash light outside the door. They should move in that direction. Remember to duck.
Before it gets much colder, do cut off any iris or peony leaves that are diseased and bag them for the garbage man. This will at least cut down on the disease next year.
Cleaning up sick plants, both in the vegetable garden and the flower garden will make for healthier gardens next summer.
Don’t forget to remove any vines from the veggie garden. Vines and tillers make for very blue air in the spring.
Bev Johnson is a master gardener in Otter Tail County.