This Best of Bogue column originally was published Sept. 29, 2005.

Dear Gary: We have lived in Pinole for 39 years, but were shocked this morning when our grandson found a large, dark-colored scorpion in our backyard.

Is this something we should be on the lookout for? Are these dangerous ones?

Our daughter lives in Arizona and they have different types of scorpions, some of which are more dangerous than others. I'm hoping the ones in Pinole are not the ones to be really worried about.

Concerned Grandma

Pinole

Dear Grandma: Scorpions are actually fairly common throughout the Bay Area. And you can relax because I don't mean the dangerous ones.

I have been stung by local scorpions and it feels about like a bee sting. Ouch! It's painful but I've never known it to be a problem, except for someone allergic to insect stings.

Fortunately, they are not aggressive, although it is kind of a shock to some people to find one around the house for the first time.

Personally, I think they are pretty neat and they do eat a lot of insects.

Dear Gary: My wife feels that our hummers' sugar solution should be a quarter cup of sugar to 1 cup of water. My theory is that the more sugar that you can get to stay in solution the more energy there is in each "sip."


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What is your opinion?

Ron

Livermore

Dear Ron: The "quarter cup of sugar to 1 cup of water" formula approximates the sugar content found in the nectars of local flowers. Since no one really knows what effect a souped-up sugar solution might have on a tiny hummingbird's physiology, I think it's best to stick with something close to normal.

Dear Gary: A bunch of us at Diablo Lodge in Danville were wondering: How long does an Anna's hummingbird live?

Al W.

Danville

Dear Al: Not long enough.

Most species average about three to four years, but there are always exceptions. Poking around the Internet, I find lots of 6-year-old Anna's, an 8-year-old rufous and a 12-year-old broad-tailed hummingbird. That should at least give you a general idea. Not very old.

Bigger animals tend to live longer lives and smaller animals live shorter ones. That's probably why hummers are always zipping around at high speed. They've got a lot of living to do and not much time to do it.

A final note

Giant sunflowers with 15-inch blossoms are growing in the middle of our garden.

Watching from a window, I see a scrub jay fly up, hide a peanut deep in the middle of a big sunflower and fly off.

A squirrel jumps from the fence to the sunflower, grabs the peanut, hops down and buries it in a flowerpot.

The jay zooms down from our redwood tree, digs up the peanut and hides it back deep in the middle of the sunflower blossom.

As I turn from the window to go to the store, I see the squirrel running down the fence toward the sunflower.

Scary.

Talk with us

Join Joan Morris and dog trainer and behaviorist Judie Howard for a discussion on dealing with aggressive dogs and safety, 1 p.m. Oct. 11, www.mercurynews.com/pets-animals.

Gary Bogue has retired after 42 years of writing this column. If you have animal-related questions, contact Joan Morris at jmorris@bayareanewsgroup.com; or P.O. Box 8099, Walnut Creek, CA 94596.