Golf Course Management

APR 2013

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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research Repellents are not lasting control methods, and no toxicants are registered for bat control. Bat-proofng a building is the only effcient and permanent way to eliminate bats. The only way to permanently rid a building of bats is to eliminate all possible entrances. Bats may enter buildings through large or small openings such as unprotected louvers or vents, broken windows or other open spaces. They may enter through old worn siding or around eaves or cornices. The smaller species of bats can crawl through slits as narrow as 3 ⁄8 inch (1 centimeter). Therefore, all possible entrances must be eliminated. Larger openings should be covered with sheet metal or with ¼-inch (0.6-centimeter) mesh hardware cloth if ventilation is necessary. It is essential that no openings larger than ¼ inch are left. Many openings are best plugged and sealed with caulking compound. Foam injected in cracks, crevices, roof edges, door jambs, overhangs and similar openings can eliminate smaller entrances. To begin bat control, frst identify the primary entrances used by the bats. Do not close these until after the bats have had the opportunity to leave the roost. To locate the primary entrances, in the evening, about 30 minutes before dark, observe the area you suspect the bats may be using. You will probably be able to identify one or two spots they are using to enter and exit. The next day, plug all holes except the few you have identifed as entrances or exits. The bats will be able to leave the roost, and the exit/entry holes can be plugged later. Be sure the exit/entry holes you leave are being actively used by bats. A brown stain is usually apparent at the actively used entrances. The next step is to close the exit/entry holes Most snakes are harmless and they assist in rodent control. Photo by Frank Miles, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 96 GCM April 2013 in the evening about one hour after dark. Over a period of a few days, these holes can be reopened just before dark to allow any remaining bats to leave. Remember, however, to close all entrances every night about one hour after dark. If any entrances have been overlooked, the bats will soon fnd them. It may be necessary to watch the building closely at dusk for several evenings. One concern with this technique relates to the presence of dependent young. If the bats are locked out while they have dependent young, the young will die in the roost and an offensive odor will develop. If possible, look into the roost for young bats. Snakes There are many benefts to having some snakes around golf course buildings. Snakes are one of nature's most effcient mousetraps, killing and eating a variety of rodent pests. Although snakes will not eliminate pests, they do help keep their numbers in check. Some harmless snakes eat other snakes, including poisonous ones. Various home remedies, including moth balls, sulfur, lime, cayenne pepper, sticky bird repellent, coal tar and creosote, gourd vines and musk from king snakes, have not proved effective in deterring snakes. No fumigants or poisons are registered for snake control. Although some chemicals on the market claim to repel snakes, most scientifc investigations have found them ineffective. The only effcient method of discouraging snakes is to modify the environment so they fnd it unattractive. Snake habitat Snakes often live in cool, dark places where food is abundant. Likely places to fnd snakes around golf courses include: • old lumber, rock or junk piles • gardens and fower beds with heavy mulch • untrimmed shrubs and bushes growing next to a foundation • unmowed lots and felds with tall vegetation • pond and stream banks with abundant debris or trash • cluttered storage areas with rodent problems The environment around golf course buildings can be made less attractive to snakes by removing potential snake shelters (usually cool, dark, damp hiding places) and food sources (rodents). Lawns and felds that are kept clean and closely mowed are less attractive to snakes than areas with tall grass, weeds, brush and junk. Remove other snake hiding places such as old boards lying on

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