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Saturday, March 12, 2016

It sounds like it'd hurt!


Red-bellied Woodpecker
Most woodpeckers have barbed-edged tips on their tongues. Until now, it was thought this was for spearing a favorite food – grubs. But researchers have shown that woodpeckers use their extremely sticky saliva and the barbed tongue in combination to “grab” grubs and other morsels without piercing the skin. (In north Texas we have Downy, Hairy, Red-bellied, Red-headed, Pileated Woodpeckers, plus a few others)

         Nematodes arent always bad guys”  Beneficial nematodes are exactly as the name implies; beneficial to humans but the enemy of over 200 kinds of nasty things; insects with any part of its life-cycle underground.  That includes fleas, cutworms, sod webworms, fungal gnats and white grubs. Plus, the nematodes aren’t the least bit harmful to humans, pets or wildlife (including birds)

For years we’ve used the beneficial nematodes at our home to control fleas naturally where we have our dogs, and we’ve never had a problem with either fleas or sick birds. We know for sure, and they’re easy to apply.
         A “nematode” is actually a family of microscopic, naturally-occurring worms, containing well over 1000 species. Some are good; some are bad. Many stores sell the beneficial nematodes, along with domestic, insect-eating, bird-friendly ladybugs.

Owen Yost, in addition to blogging, is a Landscape Architect emeritus from here, whos worked in north Texas for over 30 years.  He is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), International Society of Landscape Architects, the National BirdFeeding Society, National Wildlife Federation and the Audubon Society. He was honored with a Lifetime Achievement award by the Native Plant Society of Texas. His design office is at