Life at Struan Farm involves contending with many things, including various pests. And no, I'm certainly not talking about John, Clifford, or the pet lambs!
At certain times of the year things happen with bugs and rodents in particular. I could almost diarise some of them. We need to be on top of it, particularly having the farmstay. I don't want our guests to be inconvenienced or grossed out by anything too "rural," so we do our best to shelter them as much as possible from pests.
In spring and autumn mice try to invade the Cottage, particularly if people leave the outside doors open and/or food out on the kitchen bench. It's warm and dry and comfy.
Things happen with ants and flies. It gets warm or dry and they are on the move. You will know that I don't like using chemical sprays at all on the gardens or in the house. But when a seasonal invasion happens sometimes that's the only viable option to stop a swarm of insects quickly.
We stumble upon non-native wasp nests in the ground working around the place in summer, usually around tree stumps or roots. John's dad used to pour petrol down them, now we go out at night and spread a specialised dust down the hole that kills them.
I used to be grossed out by all this, but now I take it (more or less) in stride. I can deal with mice and mousetraps without flinching. Mice just happen at certain times of the year. Traps need to be put out when evidence is seen that they are about. They normally travel in twos, so if you've got one you will have at least one more to catch. Peanut butter is much easier to use than cheese and apparently more appetising too, especially Pic's Chunky!
We continue to trap rats in our native bush and around the compost bins. I leave that job to Mike, although I do put rat poison out under the Homestead, Cottage and house every few months as a deterrent (nailed to a board or in a "rat motel" so they're forced to nibble the poison rather than drag it away). Mike also sets possum traps every so often to make sure we don't have possums, and our Regional Council has had regular poisoning programmes in our area to help with that too (not air drops but bait stations that work well, thankfully).
I don't mean to imply that we're overrun by anything, nothing of biblical proportions here at Struan Farm! But pests happen and we just need to be onto them. I've just read that our Waikato Regional Council is encouraging landowners to apply for grants for bait and traps via their "Small Scale Community Initiatives Fund," so I'm looking into getting a grant for some GoodNature rat traps for our two stands of protected QEII native bush reserves. Every little bit helps the native bush and birdlife.