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Tiny Game Hunting: Environmentally Healthy Ways to Trap and Kill the Pests in Your House and Garden

Illustrations by Courtlandt Johnson
Copyright Date: 2001
Edition: 1
Pages: 278
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  • Book Info
    Tiny Game Hunting
    Book Description:

    Every year Americans use a staggering five hundred million pounds of toxic pesticides in and around their homes, schools, parks, and roads-a growing health risk for people and the environment. But are these poisons really necessary? This book, appealing to the hunter in us all, shows how to triumph in combat with pests without losing the war to toxic chemicals.Tiny Game Hunting,written in a lively and entertaining style and illustrated with detailed drawings, gives more than two hundred tried-and-true ways to control or kill common household and garden pests without using toxic pesticides.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-92387-4
    Subjects: Botany & Plant Sciences, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Preface to the New Edition
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. 1-6)

    They creep, they crawl, they fly, they slime. They chew, suck, nibble, and devour … and they never give up.

    We plant our gardens lovingly and laboriously, anticipating the pleasure and payoff in flowers and fresh vegetables. Then one day we go outside and the garden looks as if Sherman’s troops had marched through it. Armies of bugs have chewed the little green poppy plants, the lovely lettuce is wilted, and the rosebuds are obscured by a teeming mass of frothy white trespassers. It’s war.

    We go into the kitchen early in the morning to start making breakfast. It takes...


      (pp. 9-13)

      How many pesticides were you exposed to today? Perhaps there was the ant poison in the yard, the houseplant spray in the living room, the fly spray on the porch, the herbicide on the lawn, the roach killer in the kitchen.

      How about the long-lasting pesticides around the house? The termite treatment around the foundations, the mothball vapors in the closet, the vapor-emitting pest strip in the basement? And that’s just at home. The restaurant where you lunched may have recently been sprayed. The office has a regular extermination contract. The bus you took may have just been sprayed or...

      (pp. 14-107)

      Some people believe that the cockroach will take over the world, but we bet on the lowly ant. Breeding colonies of ants, sometimes known as superorganisms, are resistant to both radiation and industrial pollution. Colonies of some species can even survive in flooded ground. In terms of sheer biomass, ants, along with termites, are the dominant insect species on earth. They not only outnumber us; they outweigh us. When it comes to social organization and cooperation, they are in some ways more evolved than humans, acting for the survival of the colony rather than the individual. Various ant species plant...

      (pp. 108-114)

      At one time or another, we may experience temporary insect infestations that are more annoying than pestiferous. Nobody likes to have their space invaded, but insects don’t have a clue that we feel this way.

      Multicolored Asian lady beetles get their nickname, Halloween beetles, from their orange color (with black spots) and the fact that they make their appearance in huge numbers around the end of October.

      Introduced from Japan to control tree-inhabiting aphids, they have spread rapidly in the East. In many areas, pecan growers are no longer troubled by pecan aphids and have even stopped spraying pesticides. But...


      (pp. 117-123)

      We have actually bred armies of superbugs that our poisons can’t kill. In 1938, there were seven insect pests known to be resistant to at least one chemical; now there are 535 resistant insect species. There are also 210 weed species resistant to at least one herbicide. Most of the “bad bugs” were around long before chemical pesticides. And after all these years of spraying (caution!), dusting (WARNING!) and soaking (DANGER!), the same bugs are still coming around to see what’s growing and to get as much of it as they can. The general failure of chemical pesticides to eradicate...

      (pp. 124-140)

      If gardening means war, we have only ourselves to blame. We plant delicate seedlings and then are amazed when they tantalize the taste buds of hungry slugs. We try to grow the sweetest, best-tasting corn and expect the raccoons to ignore it. We lovingly nurture spectacular roses and are horrified when aphids find them attractive too.

      Although the era of DDT, the wonder poison, ended in the 1960s in the United States, its spirit lived on. DDT was superseded by more and more poisons, all promising the perfect kill. However, the quick fix of bombing the house and nuking the...

      (pp. 141-148)

      We have long recognized movement in the garden as a source of beauty, and garden lovers have traditionally achieved this with fountains. But movement also comes from a hummingbird darting into sight, a bee crawling over a flower, and the hop of a frog. Make your garden more beautiful with living things. The wildlife you welcome will also become your allies as tiny game hunters.

      These predators are not as attracted to perfectly manicured gardens. They do better where the grass is a little longer and where there is plenty of native vegetation, a small rock or woodpile to hide...

      (pp. 149-161)

      The average square yard in a typical garden contains more than 1,000 insects. They can’t all be gluttonous garden destroyers, or we’d have only bare dirt. Actually, less than 1 percent of all insects are considered pests, and virtually all have predators and parasites of their own to contend with.

      Ours is truly a bug-eat-bug world, and here we sing the praises of the best of the tiny game hunters, those that live to eat our pests. Insects have always done a much better job of controlling other insects by eating them than we have done with poisons. So get...

      (pp. 162-208)

      Although separate species, the one being a moth and the other a butterfly, these two caterpillars have many similarities. In addition to munching on cabbage plants, they will both attack almost any vegetable you care to grow: broccoli, cauliflower, beans, radishes, turnips, peas, mustard, potatoes, tomatoes, brussels sprouts, some leafy greens, and even a few flowers. They chew big holes in the leaves and then bore right into the vegetables.

      The cabbageworm, a pretty pale green caterpillar, turns into a white butterfly with black spots on the wings. It’s not hard to catch in a butterfly net. Or take out...

      (pp. 209-218)

      The following insects and animals have often been classified as pests. We think they deserve a little more tolerance—even appreciation—they may well be doing more good than damage in your garden.

      We all know the centipede was named because of its 100 legs, but whoever did the naming wasn’t getting close enough to count. A centipede actually sports anywhere from 30 to 346 legs, depending on the species. “Millipede” is even more of a misnomer. A millipede starts out with only three pairs of legs, growing new ones every time it sheds its skin. At the most it...

      (pp. 219-234)

      When you see a raised ridge of earth in your garden or yard, the culprit is likely a mole, not a gopher, and moles are mostly beneficial, in that they eat subterranean insects as they burrow (seeMoles).

      When we say “gopher,” we mean thepocket gopher, a rodent that eats a wide variety of plants, starting with the roots, including roses, tomatoes, peppers, carrots, gladioli, fruit trees, grape roots, dahlias, delphiniums, hollyhocks, garlic, squash, cucumbers, melons, tulips, and lilies—to name just a few. Our backyard battles with these subterranean scavengers often fluctuate between farce and frustration.

      Described as...

  7. Resources and Mail Order
    (pp. 235-244)
  8. Select Bibliography
    (pp. 245-248)
  9. Index
    (pp. 249-268)
  10. Back Matter
    (pp. 269-269)