HELEN LANG: Taking care of those pests

You have to convince yourself that rats are vermin and carry terrible diseases

I hear there are hordes of those horrible “tent” caterpillars infesting fruit trees (and a lot of other trees as well) but we’ll have to let Mother Nature deal with the latter while we attempt to rid our trees of these hairy, hungry pests who build nests where we don’t want them.

It sounds pretty unkind and primitive but Jim, using my long handled loppers, would cut the nests free and when they dropped to the ground, put the whole horrible thing in the incinerator and fry them. It wasn’t pretty.

When the infested branch was too important to be removed, he used to tie a strip of an old bathtowel on the end of a long pole, soak it with either wax or oil and light it. It made an effective torch which demolished both the nests and their inhabitants.

While we are on this nasty topic I should tell you about a rat trap that is pretty horrible but probably no worse than a bought rat trap.

You’ll need to get a tall plastic pot. If necessary oil the inside walls to make them slippery. Fill your pot about six or a few more inches with water.

On top of the water sprinkle flour, and in the centre float a slice of bread well covered with peanut butter.

Lean a board from the ground to the top of the pot. I suppose you might call this walking the plank.

Since this lethal trap is usually used at night you should be safely asleep when brother rat goes swimming.

You have to convince yourself that rats are vermin and carry terrible diseases, (it never helped me that much, either.)

Now, to finish this ghastly topic off, I’d like to suggest that you blow up a brown paper bag, tie it closed and fasten it to a branch or just something close to an unwelcome wasp nest.

The wasps believe it to be another wasp nest and since they are very territorial they will give up and move elsewhere.

Now that suggestion wasn’t so bad, was it? Sorry about the others.  It’s not pleasant but they do work.

Jim used to put the dead rats in the garbage can and that way they ended up in a place where there are already a lot of their living relatives (or so I am told).

•   •   •   •

A happier suggestion and it seems to work wonders. You seem to get a lot more fruit from fruit trees using this trick.

Tie a piece of nylon stocking (or similar)  holding a stone (size of stone depending on the need for weight) to a fruit tree branch, close to its end, to draw it down so that it ends up level with the ground.

I can’t tell you why this should work, I only know it does.

Helen Lang has been the Peninsula News Review’s garden columnist for more than 30 years.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A decade into the 100-year blueprint for restoring the Bowker Creek watershed, Soren Henrich, director of the Friends of Bowker Creek Society, feels positive about the future of conservation and daylighting of the creek. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Ten years in, Greater Victoria’s 100-year Bowker Creek blueprint gets a boost

Victoria council passes several restoration recommendations

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead in ‘targeted incident’ on Sooke Road

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

A resurfacing of the tennis court in Metchosin is being eyed for the community. However, funding opportunities still need to be solidified for the project. (Michelle Cabana/Black Press Media)
Renewed surface eyed for Metchosin tennis court

Funding source must first be solidified in order for project to happen

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

(Black Press Media files)
Medicine gardens help Victoria’s Indigenous kids in care stay culturally connected

Traditional plants brought to the homes of Indigenous kids amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Personal protective equipment is seen in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
$16.9 million invested to improve worker safety, strengthen B.C.’s food supply chain

Money to be used for social distancing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, and air circulation

More than ever before, as pandemic conditions persist, the threat of data breaches and cyberattacks continues to grow, according to SFU professor Michael Parent. (Pixabay photo)
SFU expert unveils 5 ways the COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed cybersecurity

Recognizing these changes is the first in a series of steps to mitigate them once the pandemic ends, and before the next: Michael Parent

Kevin Haughton is the founder/technologist of Courtenay-based Clearflo Solutions. Scott Stanfield photo
Islander aims Clearflo clean drinking water system at Canada’s remote communities

Entrepreneur $300,000 mobile system can produce 50,000 litres of water in a day, via solar energy

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

Most Read