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Pocket Gophers

So cute, so beneficial, so stop poisoning them already

Pocket gophers construct burrows under the ground using their strong forelegs, enlarged claws and even their teeth. Their vision is poor because of their habitat as is their hearing. When the gopher digs, it kicks the dirt behind it with its hind feet. When a lot of loose dirt has accumulated, it turns around and pushes the dirt to the surface using its fore paws and face. The resulting mounds are an indication of their presence in your yard.

Gophers feed on the underground portions of plants, but will occasionally come to the surface and pull green vegetation underground. They live alone in their tunnel system, but males will enter female tunnels during mating season, usually early in the year. Female gophers will have one to seven young at a time. The baby gophers will disperse on the ground when they are mature enough to leave their mother and often fall victim to predators at this time. They usually have only one litter per year.

Actually they are very beneficial animals. A single gopher can move approximately a ton of soil to the surface every year. Their tunnels are constructed and then fill up with dirt as they are abandoned. The old tunnels contain the nests, waste material and partially filled pantries well below the surface where they become important as fertilizer. Soil that has been compacted by cattle trampling, grazing and machinery is benefited by the tunneling process of gophers. In the mountains, snow and rainfall are temporarily held in gopher burrows instead of running across the surface causing soil erosion. The mounds the gophers make also bury vegetation deeper, thus increasing soil quality over time. Additionally, fresh soil in the mounds provides a fresh seeding area for new plants, which may increase the variety of plants on a site. Gophers are also in the food chain and are fed upon by large birds, other mammals and snakes. Other animals such as lizards and toads take refuge in the cool, moist burrows.

As much as I am trying to make the case that gophers have a place in our area, there are times when we have to control them. Poisons are available but I never recommend them. Most of the gopher baits contain strychnine, diphacinone, chlorophacinone, or zinc phosphide. None of these rodenticides are very pleasant and accidents can result with other animals digging them up. These products shouldn’t even be allowed to be sold in stores. There are traps available that can be placed in the burrows, but they are not easy to use and have only limited success. I have found that the best method of gopher control is simply asking them to move. You can do this by pouring a foul smelling liquid into their tunnel system. Fish oil emulsion works well and castor oil is also effective. Since gophers generally live alone, once they move, they are not likely to return unless they are forced to move again, so a repellent can be very effective.

When using a repellent, you will have to probe the dirt to find their tunnels. Generally, a tunnel will run straight between two mounds and they are normally about 18” below the surface. You can use a metal rod or even a pool cue to probe the dirt. Once you hit the tunnel, the probe will fall through. Then take a long-stem funnel such as used to put oil in cars and place it in the hole created by the probe. Pour the repellent into the funnel and move on to the next tunnel.

My latest book, “THE BUGMAN'S GUIDE to NON-­TOXIC PEST MANAGEMENT FOR YOUR HOME AND GARDEN” is available. It has information and non-toxic control methods for cockroaches, ants, wasps, bed bugs, lice, flies, termites, scorpions, centipedes, spiders and other pests. It has a section on how to pest-proof your house, and a section that covers lawn and ornamental pests plus information about rodents and pigeons. There is also a list of safe products you can use to controls pests. It has a section how to pick a competent pest control company if you want to use one. It is available on my website askthebugman.com. I believe you will find the book very helpful in controlling pests around your home or business without using toxic pesticides.

If you have any pest questions, you can contact me at askthebugman2013@gmail.com or 505-385-2820.

Event Horizon

You Say “Purple,” I Say “Poiple”

Saturday, Jul 16: Lavender in the Village

Food and drink, yoga, a kids' camp, lots of live music and a large number of vendors including lavender farms, wineries and artisans.
Pixabay

Event Horizon

Fan Dance

Saturday, Jul 16: BMG Fan Festival

Enjoy art, comics, toys, cosplay and collectibles.

Literature

What's On Your Bucket List?

N.M. Authors Celebrate "Bucket of Fun"

New Mexico authors Barbe Awalt, Loretta Hall and Patricia C. Hodapp are celebrating the release of their Bucket List books with a "Bucket of Fun" event at 3pm on Sunday, July 17, at Page One Books. Awalt's latest is The Ultimate Green Chile Cheeseburger Bucket List, Hall has The Complete Space Buff's Bucket List, and Patricia C. Hodapp's effort is The Complete Santa Fe Bucket List.
Awalt's Green Chile Cheeseburger is described as such: "The Complete Green Chile Cheeseburger Bucket List is the sixth book in the series of Bucket List books from Rio Grande Books. New Mexico didn't invent the cheeseburger, but it did invent the green chile cheeseburger and is famous for it. When you visit New Mexico you need to eat a green chile cheeseburger. The book documents green chile cheeseburgers all over New Mexico with the epicenters in Albuquerque and Santa Fe. There are even green chile pizza, lamb cheeseburgers, vegetarian, make your own, and with every kind of topping known to man."

Hall's Space Buff is teased as such: "The Complete Space Buff's Bucket List talks about, of course, the usual things like great museums, planetariums, astronauts, space suits, rockets, planets, and stars. But it also has duct tape, Tang, Cosmos, movies, space burial, Astronaut Ice Cream, Biosphere, aliens and the Meteorite Crater. Each Bucket List book is dedicated to an appropriate non-profit and this book highlights The National Space Society. If you have things on your bucket list that are not in this book, no fear, because there is a blank list in the back of the book. This book is a fun and light space book that will appeal to astronauts everywhere."

And Hodapp's Santa Fe list is thus described: "The Complete Santa Fe Bucket List Book is the fifth in the series of Bucket List books by Rio Grande Books. Patricia C. Hodapp, Director of the Santa Fe Library, lists all of the Santa Fe events, places, and distinctive fun that makes The City Different is one of the greatest tourist locations in the US. There are 100 things that she thinks are noteworthy including: green and red chile, El Rancho de las Golondrinas, sunsets, blue skies, art of Hispanics, Native Americans and Anglos, museums, Canyon Road and the Plaza."

Awalt has hung and curated countless art exhibits including nine venues for the Our Saints Among Us travelling exhibit. She is also the co-publisher of Tradicion Revista, the only regular magazine featuring the Hispanic arts and culture of the Southwest. She lives in Albuquerque.
Hall, formerly a high school math teacher, started a new career as a freelance writer in 1990. She has written magazine articles on many topics, including travel, business and construction. She has also written reference book chapters on such topics as Native American tribes, biographies of scientists and mathematicians, and how various products are made. In 2009, when plans for Spaceport America, the country's first purpose-built commercial spaceflight facility, began moving forward, she was fascinated to discover the important role New Mexico has played in the development of space travel. She decided to herald that unheralded history by writing Out of this World: New Mexico's Contributions to Space Travel, the only book to document the historic events in the state and the personal stories of the people who accomplished them. She also created a website, NMSpaceHistory.com, to supplement the book with news items and additional insights. Out of this World was named Best New Mexico Book in the 2011 New Mexico Book Awards. She is a member of the National Space Society, the Society for the History of Technology, the National Federation of Press Women, and the Historical Society of New Mexico's Speakers Bureau. She and her husband, Jerry, live in Albuquerque."
Hodapp is the director of the Santa Fe Library, and lives in the City Different. Hodapp started her book with questions that she has been asked in the library and on the street. She enjoys encountering visitors with the simple question, “Where are you heading?”

Event Horizon

You Can't Spell Funeral Without Fun

Saturday, Jul 16: Making Home Funerals

Explore contemporary beliefs and practices related to death and dying and the home funeral movement.
Pixabay

Event Horizon

A Night of Sinn

Friday, Jul 15: Vagrant Variety Presents: Fire and Lions

A variety show featuring the best local talent in comedy, music, drag, magic, poetry, belly dancing and fire performances.
Pixabay

Event Horizon

It’s Electric

Thursday, Jul 14: Explora: Circuit City

Discover the relationships among voltage, current and resistance in a DC circuit. Registration is required for this event.

The Daily Word in Coffee, Deep Sea Discoveries and Van Gogh's Ear

The Daily Word

Hopefully this doesn't ruin Calvin and Hobbes for you...

Humans aren't the only primates that use tools! According to a new archaeological find, capuchin monkeys have been using them for 700 years.

The way coffee affects you is predominantly determined by your genetic makeup.

Scientists have used their smarts to develop a perfectly rationed bar of fancy weed chocolate. Thanks, guys.

This uniquely addictive game is Pavlov's-dogging your brain.

Artistic genius fueled by mental illness?

Sea explorers discover nearly two dozen sunken ships in the Aegean Sea spanning more than 2,000 years of Greek history.

Courtesy of Sidewinder's Facebook Page

Event Horizon

Fashionable and Fabulous

Wednesday, Jul 13: SweetHeart Fashion Show

A benefit for the Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico featuring locally made clothes, an auction and a catwalk contest.

Event Horizon

Raise Your Voice

Tuesday, Jul 12: UNM Seal Forum

The first of a series of discussions with the public about the meaning and future of the seal of UNM.

Today's Events

Sunset Chuckwagon barbecue, Western swing music, raptor show and wildlife zoo.

Mark Weaver • jazz at Outpost Performance Space

The Eight Fibromyalgia Types and Foods at Gatos y Galletas

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    Kombat Kitty at Stoneface
    Kombat Kitty at Stoneface7.29.2016