Man vs. Nature

Week 28 Turtle Beach 006

Our belief is that man is but one part of nature and we should do all we can to coexist peacefully with other living creatures. We previously blogged about our concerns about bears, but there is really only one group of animals that strains our non-violent beliefs—biting insects. Whether it is mosquitoes, no-see-ums or biting flies of all kinds, camping continually exposes us to attack by one insect predator or another.  However, after Christmas we picked up our Airstream and discovered that some relatively harmless insects had moved in—ants.  We sprayed the area where the ants appeared to be entering and set up some ant traps–after a few days we believed they were almost gone.  Then after returning from a hike, we noticed that the front exterior of the Airstream was covered with ants.

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The first ants that were in our trailer had been “normal” ants but these new ants were smaller sugar ants.  Based on our past experience, we bought some ant gel that, hopefully, the ants would eat and also take back to their nest. This is necessary to eliminate the queen who produces all the new ants.

Soon there were ant trails all over the Airstream leading to the drops of gel where the ants were filling up.

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Ed had ants running all over the Airstream and he sort of enjoyed it—it was like a giant open-air Ant Farm.

Soon the ant numbers began to decrease and we again thought we were nearing our last battle—it had been 13 days since the ant war started.  Then after coming back from biking we found another large group of ants, some alive and some dead, inside the Airstream.

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Some of the day 13 casualties

As we write this, it has been 16 days and the war continues, although the enemy seems to be in retreat (we hope).

We spent the past two weeks in Oscar Scherer State Park and although it is one of the oldest Florida parks, it also is one of the nicest.  There are hiking and biking trails and kayaking in the park as well as access to the Sarasota to Venice biking trail.   There are also a lot of in-park activities including aerobics classes, a pancake breakfast, and free movie night (we went to the aerobics classes so we could go to the pancake breakfast without feeling guilty).  Much of the credit for the park’s success goes to the many volunteers who work there and the Friends of Oscar Scherer Park who provide great local support.

The weather in south Florida was again variable this week but we did do some hiking and biking.  Here are some photos.

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The polar vortex dipped all the way down to south Florida which produced temperatures in the low 50’s (brrr!) but also some pretty skies.

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Patty on the trail next to Big Lake

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A Florida Scrub Jay—the only bird that is found solely in Florida.  It is a threatened species and they are very popular as indicated by the four bands on its legs.

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Patty on the bike trail in Venice next to one of its canals (where are the gondolas?)

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A gopher tortoise watches the bikers along the trail—it is also a threatened species.

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A wildflower along the bike trail—we could not find it in our field guide.  Does anyone know what it is?

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We passed this storage yard while biking.  It looks like the place where old Airstreams go to die.

As a follow-up to last week’s blog on beach ball warning labels, here is another warning that we failed to mention.

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Patty thinks this warning means “don’t step on the ball or it will pop” while Ed thinks it means “don’t step on the ball or you may fall and hurt yourself.”  Regardless, does this warning really help?  Will a child see it and not step on the ball? Does an adult need this guidance?  In reality, a child will only learn this important life lesson by actually stepping on a ball—if the ball pops or he falls on his butt, he will learn.

 

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8 thoughts on “Man vs. Nature

  1. Terro is our go to ant killer. It always works. They seem to come in “waves”…just after you have killed the first batch off…another round makes its way in. Keep the terro out until there is no sign of them….renew it (they LOVE it) often. When it gets a hard coating, renew it again…but they should be dead by now.
    We also do a “preventative” spray in parks where we have gotten infested (mental note to add Oscar to the list). Ant spray around the wheels and anything else that touches the ground.
    Warning: he BIGGEST spider ever in our trailer came from Oscar Scherer so check your towels if you leave them out. He was smaller than a turrantula though but not by a lot. I hate spiders!

  2. I think oyur wildflower is a fritallaria, a member of the Lily family. They range in height from 8″ to 36″ and are described as “majestic plants with delicate, pendant blooms.” They are also much loved by rural gardeners (l;ike us) for the fact that deer and rodents do not like to eat them!

  3. Don (the biologist) is oh-so-wrong. The name is Kalanchoe diagremontiana – “mother of millions.” It’s a beautiful, but NOXIOUS weed. I got a start at a plant exchange while in Florida. We enjoyed it for a couple years, and then, like the little shop of horrors, it began to multiply. It shoots seeds like a shotgun………….and before long we were ripping it out by the wheelbarrow full. Don’s just forgotten. Loved it–but it’s a bear! Don’t know if it would live in NC, but don’t try!

  4. We fight the ants by putting Diatomaceous Earth around our tires if we are staying put for a while. Seems to work for us.

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