Lords Environmental | Raccoons


Raccoons prefer a hardwood forest area near water, although they may be found far out on the prairie away from wayter or in treeless marshes. Raccoons den in hollow trees, ground burrows, brushpiles, muskrat houses, barns and abandoned building.

Raccoons are omnivorous (eat plant and animal foods). Plant food includes all types of fruits, berries, nuts, acorns, corn and other type of grain. Animal food are crayfish, clams, fish, frogs, snails, insects, turtle eggs, mice, rabbits, muskrats, birds, and waterfowl.

Contrary to popular myth, a raccoon does not always wash their food before eating, although they frequently play with their food in water. Raccoons do not hibernate but they do "hole up" in dens and become inactive during severe winter weather.

They can cause considerable damage to gardens, truck crops, sweet corn, garages, and homes.

Raccoons enter homes in different ways. Some people see orphan baby raccoons and attempt to make pets of them. It's easy to understand why people want to hug and pet them. Like all babies they grow up. They become inquisitive, powerful, intelligent adolescents. They get into everything and often become irritable. An angry animal is a dangerous one that can seriously bit and scratch humans. They can also literally tear a house apart. Also, it is illegal in most stats to keep raccoons as pets.

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(Oberea bimaculata)

[Rasberry Cane Borer] The raspberry cane borer may be a serious pest in some small raspberry plantings. It is often seen where wild brambles are plentiful.

The adult is a slender beetle, 1/2 inch long, black except for the thorax which is bright orange with 2-3 black spots; it belongs to the long-horned wood borer family and has long black antennae. The larva, or boring stage, is white or creamy white with a tan-to-brown head.

Most injury is observed in early to mid-summer as the wilting of tips of new canes and laterals. The females use their mandibles to girdle the tips with rows of punctures before depositing the eggs. Two or three puncture rings about inch apart may be seen about 6 inches from the top. Because sap flow is restricted, a blackening and abscission of the tips results within a few days. The egg is deposited in the pith of the cane in a space between the girdles. After the egg hatches, the larva burrows toward the base of the cane, usually reaching it by autumn. Where severe injury occurs, the cane may die and fall before the fruit matures.

Adult beetles are present from early June to late August. Egg laying occurs at this time, and after hatching the young larvae bore into the canes where they spend the winter and following summer. The second spring pupation takes place in old stubs, and the adults emerge a short while later.
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Rats constantly leave droppings in areas they frewuent. Fresh droppings are dark in color and soft intexture. After three days, they harden and lose their dark color. Rats urinate in areas they frequent. Since urine gives off a fluorescent glow under ultraviolet light, a blacklight can be a useful tool for locating areas of rat contamination. (Remember, though, that other materials also fluoresce and can cause confusion.) Rats always travel the same runways and leave "smudge marks" - a buildup of dirt and oil from their fur - along walls, pipes, gnawed openings and particularly beams and rafters for roof rats. Rats keep indoor runways, or well-used paths, free of cobwebs, debris, and dust. Norway rats' runways are usually well-defined paths at floor level next to walls and other vertical surfaces. Roof rats' runways are above on rafters, pipes, etc. Outside, roof and Norway rats' runways appear as narrow paths through vegetation. Rats make sounds when climbing, gnawing, clawing and moving. Footprints and tail drags can be seen in dusty locations. Use notoxic tracking dust such as talcum powder or flour to determine if rodents are frequeting certain areas. Gnaw marks are a sure sign of rats. On wood, the older the gnawing, the darker the wood. If dogs or cats unexplainably get excited, rats are probably moving about in walls voids or ceilings. Rats produce a distinctive musky odor. An experienced rodent-control person can tell hte diffference between mouse and rat odors. Nests are another sign. Norway rats usually burrow, but nests under concrete slabs, in rag pile or in lumber piles are not unusual. Roof rats' nests are usually up high and are often difficult to find. Sometiems nests are similar to tree squirrles' nests, consisting ofleaves, twigs and vines.

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(Lixus concavus Say)

Rhubarb is a hardy perennial that is not usually seriously affected by insect pests, however, occasional attacks of the rhubarb curculio do occur. The leaf stalks of the rhubarb may show exuding sap and partial decay from late-May through early summer due to the feeding and egg laying punctures of the rhubarb curculio. Feeding injury appears as notches in the stem and on the leaf edges. Sap exudes from wounds of either type and collects as glistening drops of gum when fresh. Fortunately, the eggs of this insect do not hatch when deposited in rhubarb.

[Rhubarb Curculio]

The rhubarb curculio is a large (about 1/2 inch) dark colored snout beetle with a yellow powdery material dusted on its back. The yellowish covering easily rubs off when the insect is handled. The head is provided with a curved snout at the end of which are the mandibles. The eggs are oblong and yellow-white in color, while the mature larva is a footless grub about æ in length with a brown head.

The curculio overwinters as an adult in piles of debris or in other protected places. In about mid-May, the adults appear and are seen resting on the stalks and leaves of rhubarb, dock, thistle or sunflower. They soon begin laying eggs. Eggs are deposited singly in cavities about 1/8th inch deep in the stalks and hatching occurs in a week to ten days in all plants but the rhubarb. The rhubarb curculio survives in weeds in or near the garden. Eggs deposited in rhubarb do not hatch, but are killed by the actively growing plant tissue which crushes them. The newly hatched larva begins burrowing its way down through the stalk so that when it reaches maturity in eight to nine weeks, it has reached the bottom of the stalk just below the soil surface. Usually one grub reaches maturity in a host plant. Pupation occurs in a cavity at the base of the host plant and within a few weeks the adult beetles emerge. The adults feed for a short time and then seek out protected places to pass the winter in. There is only one generation of this insect a year.
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