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Common Nuisances

P

ests can range from the deer that eat your roses to mites on your orchard grass to skunks living under your deck. All of these can challenge the quality of life that made you choose to live in the country. However, they can also be prevented through various means.

Crop Diseases and Insect Pests

Severity of these problems will vary from year to year and crop to crop. Many of these pests can cause real economic damage. Insect pests of forage and cereals include alfalfa weevils, thrips, aphids, cereal leaf beetles, mites and aphids. Root and fungal diseases common to the area include verticillium wilt on alfalfa and mint, rust and scald on grasses and white rot on garlic and onions. Some of these diseases and pests can be treated with chemical pesticides. Other methods include rotating crops, providing appropriate amount of irrigation water, fertilizing for maximum soil fertility and use of “natural� controls, such as Bacillus thuringensis.

Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes can transmit West Nile Virus and other diseases, especially to livestock. Mosquito larvae live in stagnant water. Remove sources of standing water, such as old tires. Larvae can be killed in stock tanks with goldfish or Bacillus thuringensis. To attract natural predators, place bat and bluebird houses on property.

Several rodents may be eating your plants and digging holes in your yard. Marmots (rock chucks), voles (field mice), pocket gophers and Belding’s ground squirrels (sage rats) can be a problem for both irrigated and dryland fields. These rodents damage the vegetation and can also create holes and mounds in the fields. There are various control methods, including baits, traps, burrow builders, gas cartridges, rifle, barn cats and raptor perches. Deer and elk can damage crops, trample fields or tear apart hay bales. They also can destroy electric fencing you may have put up to help rotate your animals through pastures. Hawks, owls and coyotes are notorious for both eating those pesky rodents but also picking off your cats and small dogs.

Do NOT feed the deer. Doing so may bring in unwanted wildlife, such as cougars.

Dogs

Free-roaming dogs may kill livestock and wildlife. Livestock owners have the right to protect their animals and in some cases will destroy dogs that threaten them.

Algae

Algae may clog your pond or irrigation ditch or grow out-of-control in your stock tank. While many algacides are on the market, you may also be successful with submerging barley straw, which can be found at many local feed stores.

Wildlife

While we all enjoy seeing wild animals on our property, some can become nuisances including cougars, coyotes, deer, ground squirrels and even songbirds.

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Deschutes County Rural Living Handbook

www.deschutesswcd.com

Deschutes rlh 2010