A few years back, I thought that I was going to have my name placed alongside of E.O. Wilson and Stephen Jay Gould. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I thought that I had made a significant study in naturalism in my own backyard. While puttering around in the garden, I had made the discovery of a red snail. I rushed back inside the house to search my books, to find no mention of this species. What should I call it ran through my head. I headed back to the garden to collect specimens for my dissertation. I was also thinking of the culinary aspects. Red Escargot? I had my in. My son, Wolfgang, had met Wolfgang Puck. Herr Puck had said it was the first time he had someone named Wolfgang asking for an autograph, so certainly he would remember us. Looking for where this discovery lay, I headed back to my beets. My beets—which where being eaten by the snails. The red beets. Oh well, there went my place in the annals of science.
Ijust left some of the beer in my bottle. I set it in the garden bed under a board. The next day, I took the congregated snails away in a bag with the bottle to be thrown in the garbage. Our gardens and homes will always be invaded by pests of different sorts. When I found a garden snake while weeding, I held it up for my son to see. My wife did not approve. Garden snakes are great as far as I am concerned, since they eat some unwanted guests. You may not realize it when you are walking on your grass, but they are probably there. My son pointed out that there was a larger snake under the shed. I had found some vacated skin, so I thought it was near by. This also explains why my dog has been attacking garden hoses of late. My wife, who grew up on a farm, is not found of snakes. I tried to posit some reason to the situation. Firstly, the snakes will eat rodents, so no problems there, and secondly, I can put up a sign to counter those of the neighbors. Instead of beware of dog, beware of snake. I said that it would be better than my neighbor who has a sign: beware, trespassers will be killed. Various rodents do present a problem for the home. They will enter through the weep holes of brick veneer and through holes for pipes under the home. Metal screens can be placed in the weep holes. You need to leave them open for moisture to escape. Through holes in the foundation can be more difficult since these come up through walls. Usually, the builder has placed a barrier to prevent their entry here. Squirrels love the attic though. They will come in through vents, and out through the soffits by chewing holes in the vents there. If you see chewed or damaged wood around the roof line, it may well be these rodents. Rodents have strong teeth, so you will need heavy gage metal screening to cover the openings for preventing them from re-entering.
Part of the reason for having several inches of your foundation exposed is to prevent insects like termites from gaining entry to your home. Termites do not like exposure, so they will find a covered area to gain access to the house. This could be through the foundation or along the exterior to go under the outside veneer. Mud tubes are an indicator here. If you see wood dust, there are other wood destroying insects that will make a meal of your space. Some ants and bees like wood for a home. This is why you will want a WDI (wood destroying insect) Report when buying a home. This has to be done by a qualified professional, which is a pest control company. Most will perform this type of report.
In Houston, mosquitoes are a definite nuisance. Check that you have no standing water around the home. Any water will be sufficient for them to reproduce. I bought a machine to lure these flying bloodsuckers into a container. It worked well for one type though. It turns out that different mosquitoes are attracted to other types of bait. I gave mine up, thinking that the electricity, propane, and lack of performance was just not worth it. They will work fine, but you may have to switch out baits to get all of them. If you have a dog, clean the poop often. These droppings attract other flying friends.
Ihave encouraged lizards and their cousins into my garden, since they will eat many of my undesired intruders. I just set out old shoes to make a home for them, but a pile of sticks works too. I also encourage birds, but my wife forbids me from setting up the home for the bats. She fears the rabies associated with them, and that is a concern. If you have a vent to your attic with slats, you may want to be cautious. Birds and bats will use this entrance as a means to enter your home to make it their own. You will see bits of grass sticking out of the vent if there are birds. Chimneys make great homes for some bird species, so a screen on top is needed. I have seen birds nesting on vent tubes on the roof, which will effect your home’s systems.
Well, this was just a primer, so you may want to look around your home.Now, if you know any chefs who are looking for a new taste sensation have them call me. In the mean time, I am setting up a stand along the I-10 for my red snails.