Save Our Hedgehogs

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Sunday, 21 October 2012

Sorry I have been AWOL.

It seems like an age since I sat down and composed a post, but finally here I am with part one of a catch up.

I'd also like to welcome two new followers, and to thank you for all the lovely comments on my last two posts - you really are a lovely lot out there :o)


It's been (worryingly) very quiet on the hedgehog front in the garden, there are so very few about.  I'm really wondering what has happened to our once quite healthy population?  My Hoggie homes are all vacant, and I'm only putting out around a quarter of the food that was once being gobbled up each night - some nights it's not even been touched :o( and I rarely ever actually see one visiting despite checking every hour or so.  Though  I have seen two car casualties in the lane, both sadly dead, and I'm seriously wondering if there have been more casualties in the recent flooding that we've experienced again...
Around two weeks ago I did spy a tiny visitor (and Autumn Juvenile)  and was able to catch it and take it to Joan at the rescue centre to over-winter and fatten up.  

Please meet Octavia.

You can see how tiny she is by the size of Joan's hand.
At this point we still didn't know if it was Octavia or Octavius!
But the truth was just a gentle 'roll' away ;o)

I was the wrong end to tell!  But Joan confirms a little girl.
She's now happily munching away safely and putting on the ounces.

A visit to the rescue centre is always full exiting things, like this...

Tiny baby girl!   Look, she's waving at you all.

 Who later sat snugly in my hand to keep her warm.  Her dear little feet tickled as she snuffled about my hands.  I wish I could have bought her home, but I made sure she was snuggled back in her woolie hat on the heat pad for a snooze.  She is (only just) weaned.  
o x o x o x


The 'owl man'  has been in the village again, and of course I had to get in a few shots ;o)

A beautiful Barn Owl

and a VERY handsome

(Okay, I KNOW it's not an owl, but you have to admit it's sunning.)


A couple of weeks ago I went into the loft to find something that was stored up there (more about that in another post.)  Our loft has a ladder, floor and lights, I heard something hitting the light bulb, and when I looked it was an enormous wasp.  As it wasn't bothering me I left it until I went back down stairs, by which time it had landed so in time-honoured fashion I killed it and thought no more about it.
Next day (Sunday) I went up the garden and as I went to put my hand on the gate saw a dopey wasp, and on closer inspection quite a few dopey wasps in the garden.  Hubby has a very bad reaction to wasp stings, so I went back in to warn him to be cautious.  He came out with me and looked up to the eaves of the house and there were hundreds of the blighters buzzing in and out of the wood!  I went back up into the end recesses of the loft, and sure enough there was one enormous wasps nest...EEK!
I had to leave calling the local authority wasp exterminator until the next day (Monday).  The lady I spoke to asked me the details, and if there was easy access to the loft. I confirmed there was but a few boxes were in the way and I'd go up and move them, she was most emphatic that I left them alone as the exterminator had the proper protective gear to deal with them as there was a likelihood I could be stung -  I had no problem agreeing to that ;o)
She told the exterminator would ring me directly and make an appointment.  Within an hour the exterminator called, he seemed to be a little cloak and dagger about it, which reminded me of 'The Good Life' when Tom & Barbara had fleas!  The appointment was made for the next morning, and the chap duly arrived a the time arranged.  Now, I wasn't expecting a young hunk but was rather alarmed when a gent of around 70 years turned up in a boiler suit and a beany hat.  He asked me to show him the nest, I explained about a few boxes in the way and what the lady had warned me...he seemed a little miffed :o( 
 I opened the loft access hatch, pulled down the ladder and went to put on the lights for him, he told me not to turn them on as it would attract 'them' away from the nest.  (Okay by me!)  I told him exactly where to look and  he rather painfully mounted the ladder clutching his torch.  He told me to leave him as a few wasps may escape whilst he was summing up the situation.  I heard him moving about and left him to it.  He reappeared after about five minutes and told me the plan of attack.  He'd go and get the chemical killer and spray it onto the nest inside the loft, and then he'd use a L O N G lance and spray again through the cedar wood cladding from outside.  Off he toddled to the van, I expected him to reappear all togged up in his veil and suit - but was rather shocked to see that he was still in the same boiler suit and hat, but now armed with a long garden cane and a large aerosol can.  He disappeared back upstairs and into the loft, and again I could hear 'things' being moved about.  He was up there around five minutes, and when he came back down asked me to shut-up the loft hatch.  After I'd shut it up I asked him what the garden cane was for?  He told me that he'd broken the nest apart with it before spraying!  I was amazed he didn't get stung.  He said as long as he wore a hat he was fine.  He then went outside and I could see him through the kitchen window wielding his lance!
It took him about five minutes before calling me out to see.  There were many hundreds of VERY angry wasps going berserk.  He said to be careful and warn my neighbours to close windows and doors.  We'd probably still see wasps over the next two days, and if they were still about by Thursday to give him a ring and he'd return for a second dose free of charge, but it was highly unlikely we'd need a second visit, and to be very careful of the dead bodies as I swept them up as I could still get stung - I didn't know that! 
Over the next couple of days the bodies mounted and the 'live wires' lessened.
I'm happy to announce that we are now a wasp free zone after only one visit :o)
Just in case you find yourself in a similar situation (in the UK) try the local authority first, our eradication cost £55 inc. VAT, with no further charge for a second visit, I did try other companies and the prices ranged from £65 - £77 all plus VAT and with another slightly lesser charge for a follow-up treatment....
I just have to pluck up the courage to open up the loft and clear away the nest and dead bodies - any volunteers out there?

Well, I'd better close now, but I'll be back very soon with part two of my catch up and show you a few 'finds'.

I hope I didn't bore you to death?

Best wishes to all.


Patrice said...

Glad you're wasp free and surrounded by lovely animals, like the owls and hedgies! Take care. Glad you aren't AWOL:)

greenthumb said...

Sorry to hear about the little Hogs, and I'm glad you got rid of those wasps.

Denise said...

Hi Rose,

It's great to see you back online!! I almost e-mailed you last week just to see if everything was okay with you, so I'm glad to see that all is well.

Octavia is the most darling hedgehog, and I'm sorry you're not having more visitors. That is a bit of a mystery. I also love the owls and handsome Harris Hawk that you shared with us. I just love animals. :) I'm sure that's one of the reasons that James Herriot's books are some of my very favorites ever. I've re-read them two or three times, and would love to visit the World of James Herriot in Yorkshire. Have you ever been there?

I love animals, but I draw the line at creepy, crawly, and stinging insects --YUCK! Those wasps are scarey and can definitely be fatal to someone who's allergic like your husband. Here in the U.S., we have wasps called Yellow Jackets, and they're very aggressive. They build nests in the ground, and my mom ran over a nest with the push mower one time and was stung over 13 times. Thank goodness she didn't have an allergic reaction. I'm glad no one at your house was stung (including the exterminator).

I hope you have a wonderful week!

Denise at Forest Manor

Marilyn said...

Glad to see the wee hedgie, but horrified regarding the wasps! Glad they are taken care of for you.♥♫

Sharing Shadymont said...

Oh, I hate wasps. I have a reaction to them as well. When I see them I head quickly in the opposite direction. We've had so many nests this year. My husband is good at getting rid of them, and luckily they haven't been in closed areas. They build in the eaves and along the edge of the roof.

Cute little hoggies. Take care!

Ann@A Sentimental Life said...

Octavia = cute
wasps = NOT cute!

Glad you did not get stung.

Penny @ The Comforts of Home/From Harvest To Table said...

Octavia is adorable....

I got shivers when you talked about the wasps - Yikes!

...Tabiboo... said...

I do hope your hoggies are all OK though that little lady looks ever so sweet.

Nina x

Nancy Claeys said...

Perhaps the hedgehogs were effected by a wet/cold winter? I don't know about such things, but I do know that climate can impact animal populations. I hope they recover. xo

Manuela@A Cultivated Nest said...

Wow the wasp incident sounds intense! I love "The Good Neighbors" that's what it's called here. I have the complete DVD set and always watch all my favorite episodes each spring to get in the mood to plant my garden!

Leanne said...

welcome back rose! beautiful animal photos, the owls are beautiful and the little hogs adorable!

leanne x

Kim said...

Hey Rose - good to see you posting again. Eek to the wasps! Glad you got it sorted.

The little hedgepig is a cutie and the barn owl - well - my very favest of fave birds. Such stunning creatures. Hope you're well x

ann said...

I hate wasps. We have our share here. And we have hornets or yellow jackets. I got stung on my elbow. Boy did that hurt for days. Poor little hedghogs. they look so delicate. How do they possible survive? My exterminator is my hubby. I enjoyed your story.

Vintage Jane said...

What a brave guy. Lucky you found them and didn't get stung. I've never been stung in my life so don't even know if I'd have a reaction to it ...
Octavia is gorgeous! M x

Julie said...

Blessed Samhain/Happy Halloween to you.

Those hedgehogs are just so darn cute. I am glad you are making such a great effort to keep their population up.

And, you found some cool pieces to swoon over. I like how you decorate for fall. I am usually big on fall decorating but this year have been too wrapped up in my genealogy project.