There’s a new pest in my garden. It’s not an armadillo. It’s a white rabbit, and my precious Yorkie has discovered the rabbit is fun to chase. There is also a squirrel that likes to investigate the patio’s potted plants.
Because I live close to the Arkansas River and a major highway, creatures do make appearances in my back garden way too often. Five years ago, I was making my morning garden rounds and was met by a mole, one of the ugliest animals ever. Fortunately, I was surveying the garden’s needs by a fence I share with a neighbor. I had a heavy hoe in my hand. Goodbye Mole!
Creatures do seem to have a way of showing up in my garden, without an invitation. One of the worst is a slimy slug. One of my favorite resources — “How to Cheat At Gardening and Yard Work” — offers great advice on how to get rid of these ugly creatures. It’s a simple device I’ve tried several times.
Put leftover beer — not my favorite beverage — in an old tuna fish can. Then sit back and watch the slugs scurry to this treat. It works! Fire ants are other unwelcome garden guests. My first encounter with them was while I was sitting on the Irving School playground, playing jacks during recess in the third grade. They got me. Ouch! If they are visiting your garden, smother them with this popular Southern staple — grits — cooked or uncooked.
Not all creatures that visit your garden are uninvited guests. Bats are rather scary creatures but they love to eat bugs. Mosquitoes are always a summer pest so don’t let pools of water stand in your garden. This is a breeding ground for mosquitoes. However, frogs, lizards, birds and fish consider them a feast. Cat litter will scare away an ugly groundhog. Armadillos can’t stand the smell of ammonia. Ladybugs love to munch on aphids. Slugs hate to walk on crushed eggshells.
To help avoid the disasters creatures can create in your yard, don’t let pools of water collect. Also, don’t feed any deer that knock on your front door. I now walk my garden with my cane and a baseball bat in hand.
Micki J. Shelton is a Muskogee native and master gardener.