DEAR JOAN: I am turning to you for an answer because you are an experienced gardener, and you previously addressed the unique and gross subject of the gutter worms. Besides, anyone else might think I have gone over the edge.
We live in a two-story, 30-plus-years-old townhouse, built on a slab by a parsimonious builder in San Ramon, next to a greenbelt. Every winter we get a few angle worms of various sizes crawling across the carpet whenever it is really rainy.
However, this year we have gotten many more than usual and all the same size -- about 1½ inches long. And we've had them even when it wasn't rainy.
I was saving the live ones and putting them out in the
They aren't just coming up from the sliding doors, but from under the slab at the edges of the carpet in any old place, the kitchen and the front hall. Never more than one or two a day -- not exactly an infestation, but still. I haven't had any for a few days now, but I want to know what you think they are so I am prepared for the next ones.
DEAR SHERRI: I've sent your letter to a few entomologists to get their opinion and they're all in agreement: Without seeing the critter they can't tell you what it is.
I can pretty much guarantee, however, that they aren't worms. Worms do not have antennae.
The next time one rushes by, capture it and send it to me. I'll then have the experts give it a gander.
Does anyone else have these "worms" in their houses or is Sherri the only lucky one?
DEAR JOAN: I have recently observed a hawk sitting on my fence. I have a small dog (10 to 11 pounds) and have heard that hawks and other birds of prey may attack small dogs. Do I need to worry about this.
DEAR TAMARA: Worry? No. Take precautions? Yes. Hawks and other raptors don't distinguish between wild animals and pets. When they see something small and furry, they see lunch.
I wouldn't let a small dog or any other small pet wander unattended in the yard. There is no guarantee that your presence will prevent an attack, but it likely will. Keep your dog on a leash, close to you. Bring bunnies and cats indoors or into shelters.
Folks who live in the Northgate area of Walnut Creek should know there are reports of a golden eagle feasting on cats, so be careful.
DEAR JOAN: You might suggest to readers who love mourning doves that we humans can increase these messy nest-builders' chances of survival by making nesting baskets out of hardware cloth and affixing them in the crooks of tree branches.
This link tells how: www.birds.cornell.edu/nestinginfo/downloads.
DEAR NANCY: That's an excellent idea, and quite simple.
Using tin snips or wire cutters, cut a large circle out of a 12-by-12-inch piece of hardware cloth.
Next, cut out a narrow wedge (about 2½ inches at the widest point) and form the cloth into a cone shape. Wire the cone together and secure it with wire or staples into the crotch of a tree branch. The mourning doves should do the rest.
Contact Joan Morris at firstname.lastname@example.org; or P.O. Box 8099, Walnut Creek, CA 94596.