How to deal with woodsy pests

(Ouray Animals Aren’t People – June 10, 2015

If you are visiting our charming area this summer you may find yourself besieged by a variety of friendly yet bothersome creatures. These can be classified as pests. Some buzz you before the frontal assault and then sit back and laugh (Have you ever heard a hornet laugh?) as the victim breaks out in itches or welts on the exposed ankle or forearm.
Some pests cruise the attic in the middle of the night like rodent bowlers, the last celebrants on a winning team. Larger varieties, when startled, eat people on hiking trails, but only on occasion and only on when the berries and maggots aren’t readily available.
Actually Western Colorado does not have so many pests compared to a paradise such as Louisiana or Arkansas, where critters rule the roost. Dangerous snakes are rare, scorpions, like lepers of old, live in secluded colonies and we just signed a non-aggression pact with the mosquitos.
Even the ferocious Bearded Mushroom Constrictor, common the flatlands of New Mexico and Arizona, has not shown its flushed, tiny face in this country, other than to secure provisions, since 1967.
Without sounding pretentious this newspaper would like to share with you some of the local, and often starkly primitive ways of dealing with these animal-induced inconveniences.
WOOD TICKS – If you happen to notice a wood tick or, for that matter, a non-wood tick crawling your arm or leg do not attempt to remove it by flicking it or smashing it like a common housefly. These parasites are far too smart for that. These must be removed by flame, a cigarette, or alcohol. Any other solution will cause the bastards to bury their tiny, filthy heads into your skin. Then they just hang out until you get lime disease or Rocky Mountain Fever. The merciless disease is particularly ravaging within the white, urban, granola backpacking set that make up 87% of the visitors to the forest in summer. Another Mother Earth approach is to sneak up on the tick and yell loudly into its ear. This causes them to back out of the burrow and flee the scene.
BEARS – The only menacing bear to be found in Colorado is the Grizzly, which doesn’t exist here unless you see one in the woods. Black bear, which make up most of the bruin roster, are generally docile enough but in reality they are bored and often consider frightening a two-legged geek to be a valid pastime. If a bear gets to close do not make eye contact and attempt to make yourself seem larger (like many of the visitors walking around down in town) and make a lot of noise. If this doesn’t work…stand your ground. If that doesn’t work run like hell.
MARMOTS – Although not technically pests these whistle pigs can be an annoyance near your house during an eclectic storm when they attempt forced entry for fear of the lightening. Often they will volunteer to do yard work after the deluge. The truth is that they won’t pick up so much as a leaf and will scatter into the mountains the moment your back is turned. Considered cute by the uninitiated these little woodchucks enjoy climbing into the engine compartment of a new four-wheel-drive and eating all the rubber hoses. Not to be confused with moose which are larger.
HUMMINGBIRDS – Only God knows why anyone would go out and spend up to $25 on a plastic hummingbird feeder, specifically designed to attract these hyper, winged neurotics to their porch or patio. A favored way to ditch hummingbirds is to mix ½ and ½ vodka and sugar water in their feeders. After a few stops the birds either avoid the area altogether or become regulars and lapse into retelling the story of their life or the day’s misfortunes. Do these flamboyant travelers really piggyback on Canadian geese? We would pay good money for a photo of this behavior.
MOSQUITOS – Maybe the sleeper of the group the female mosquito can pass on malaria, encephalitis and other potentially devastating diseases without so much as disturbing your sleep, turning over the freezer or trampling the garden. Only the mosquito, and not even the treacherous Zancudo, has a net named after it…The mosquito net. Mosquitos are universally considered its and they don’t much like that. The experienced woodsman knows to quickly bring up their presence in camp conversation. They hate being talked about. Whispering, laughing and pointing at the mosquito works as well as expensive repellent. Offended buzzers will most likely find another victim rather than be humiliated. Fortunately mosquitos do not bite fools or schizophrenics.
– Marianne Swervof

Filed Under: Featured Peeks


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