Bats are flying mammals from the order Chiroptera (meaning hand-winged). Bats are the only mammal capable of true flight. There are 25 species of bats in California and it is estimated there are around 13 species found in Humboldt and Del Norte counties. Depending on their species, they can live five to thirty years. The little brown bat generally lives 30 years with the female giving birth to 1 pup per year. The females form colonies in the spring to give birth and raise their pups. Bat populations are threatened by the White Nose Syndrome. This highly contagious disease is the culprit for the declining population, leaving many species threatened or endangered.
A few years back my niece was bitten by a bat when entering an outbuilding. Although only a small percentage of bats carry rabies, she could not chance the unknown and received the series of treatments. Once symptoms appear the disease is most always fatal. Rabies exposure is from the saliva of an infected mammal through an open wound, abrasion, eyes, nose or mouth. Bats carry various diseases to humans and other mammals. We can minimize the risks by not handling bats, not breathing their droppings, and most importantly vaccinating our dogs and cats for rabies. Bats also create unsanitary conditions where they roost. Their droppings (guano) and urine attract insects and creates odors.
In most cases bats do not create problems, in fact they are beneficial predators and pollinators for our farms and gardens. Being nocturnal, they play an important part in our ecosystem consuming large quantities of night flying insects in our landscapes, gardens and farmlands. Bats are an excellent vector control for mosquitoes. Bat houses are often found in gardens and on farms to encourage bat populations.
Finding a bat on the ground or out in the open does not mean it is sick. It might be tired and resting. It is best to let it lay if it is in an area that isn't harming anyone. If it is an area that children or pets might find it, gently scoop it into an open box while wearing leather gloves and place the box where no one can encounter it. If it has been in contact with other animals or people, contact the county health department for testing.
The University of California IPM Publication 74150 is a great resource to obtain additional information. View Publication
Once I determined from a reliable source that the berries were edible my Master Food Preserver hat replaced my Master Gardener/Curator hat and I picked the berries to make jam. I used Lee Ann Moore's recipe for Salal Jam. Lee Ann and Her husband Gary have Oceanside Jams and specialize in making preservers using native fruit.
After picking the fruit, I washed it carefully then put it into my steam juicer to extract the juice and leave behind the very gritty, seedy berries. The jam is not very exciting, it tastes like apple or grape jam…mostly sweet, but it has a spectacular dark purple color and I bet no one else is making Gaultheria pseudonotablis Jam.
Note: The jam should be stored in the refrigerator or freezer for there is no tested and approved recipe for this berry.
Sources: Ball Blue Book, Berry, Jams and Jellies
June Walsh is the Co-Curator of the Moss Family Temperate Woodland Garden in the Humboldt Botanical Garden, a UC Extension Master Gardener and Master Food Preserver.
We don't normally think of lemons growing on the north coast – but I heard rumors of an epic lemon tree in Loleta that would become overloaded with lemons. I decided to plant a Meyer Lemon. Actually, a Meyer Lemon may not be a lemon at all! According to Wikipedia, it is a hybrid citrus fruit that is a cross between a citron and a mandarin/pomelo hybrid. I planted my new tree in a sunny wind free location and several years later I am gathering around a hundred lemons a year from that tree!
I turn a lot of these lemons into preserved lemons. Simply slice your lemon lengthwise from one end almost all the way through into 6 pieces that will hang together by the end (don't worry if you slice all the way through – this is just to make them easier to fish out of the jar later). Put a mound of kosher salt into a bowl and set the sliced lemon on top. Sprinkle about a tablespoon of salt into all of the crevasses around the six slices. Pack the lemon into a regular mouth canning jar, pushing down to release the juice. Continue until the jar is almost full, top with an inch of lemon juice. Put a plastic lid on the jar (metal will rust!). Age in a cool, dark, dry space for 6 months to a year before using.
My all-time favorite way to use preserved lemons is in pesto. Pesto just means paste, so don't get too carried away with recipes – use your own taste buds to drive your concoction! I usually make mine with basil, but I've also made pesto with other herbs. For every bunch of basil (from the farmers market of course!) I add a handful of Parmesan Cheese, a handful of toasted nuts (I use walnuts but use your favorite), 4-8 large cloves of garlic (we love garlic), 2/3 of one preserved lemon peel. Start the food processor and drizzle in olive oil until the pesto reaches the consistency you desire. Taste and adjust the flavors if necessary, taste again because it's so delicious!
Add your pesto to soups, stews, salad dressings and just about anything. Make enough for a year and store it in the freezer – then you'll have summer all year long!
Jennifer Bell is a media producer and has co-produced three local food films, Going With the Grain; Coastal Foods; and Albacore Tuna: The Tale of a Fish. She is also a Master Food Preserver with the University of California Cooperative Extension.
Do you want to know about planning and planting a cool season vegetable garden? Are you interested in learning how to be successful with houseplants? A University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardener can help you with that.
Maybe you have a plant that has a problem you cannot diagnose. How should you properly prune a tree, learn about vermicomposting, or have questions answered about poisonous plants? The Master Gardeners are available to help answer those questions. The “Ask a Master Gardener” help desk, free recorded classes, and various resources providing researched and scientific based information can be found on our website.
Perhaps, you would like to arrange for a Master Gardener to give a presentation for your group. Our Master Gardeners can coordinate a virtual class during the current restrictions on in-person gatherings. The dedicated team of volunteers are passionate about gardening and sharing their knowledge.
With the interest of planting edible gardens and creating an oasis in backyards, there has been an increasing desire to learn about gardening. The UCCE Humboldt/Del Norte Master Garden Program recognized the opportunity to identify ways to offer virtual horticultural presentations, gardening support and help. Partnering with Humboldt State University's L4HSU online summer sessions we launched virtual garden related classes. These free presentations were recorded and are now available on our website allowing you to view on your own schedule and in the convenience of your home.
This year Zoom meetings and webinars have become the norm for business meetings as well as forums for educational purposes. For the UC Master Gardeners, it has provided a greater outreach to our communities allowing us to deliver information to a wider group of gardeners. Our current online library of presentations consists of Vegetable Gardening Basics, Heather Growing and Landscape Designing, Integrative Pest Management, Success with Houseplants and Reducing the Vulnerability of Buildings to Wildfires. Additional recorded classes will be added frequently as well as offering live webinars.
About Master Gardeners
There are various reasons why people want to be a Master Gardener. For many it is to learn and to be a better gardener. Some like community and to be with like-minded people who enjoy digging in the soil. The garden is their playground. There are Master Gardeners who enjoy helping and teaching others to be better gardeners. While providing an important public service, these volunteers value sharing sustainable gardening information.
UCCE Master Gardeners go through extensive training in a diverse range of horticultural subjects consisting of plant pathology, soils, sustainable gardening, integrative pest management, edible gardening, composting, vermiculture, etc. After the initial certification training, Master Gardeners commit to 50 hours of volunteer time their first year and 25 hours annually thereafter. Their learning does not stop there as continued education is required annually.
I have been the Humboldt/Del Norte Counties coordinator since March 2020. However, the program in Humboldt and Del Norte precedes me by over 30 years. Since 1988 well over 1,000 have participated in the program's certification training. Currently there are 24 active Humboldt and Del Norte Master Gardeners. Certification classes have not been offered since 2017, however, we anticipate offering the Master Gardener Certification classes in the near future.
For questions about the Humboldt/Del Norte Counties Master Gardener program, to access classes and science-based resources, to request a virtual class for your group, or to learn about becoming a Master Gardener, please visit our website at ucanr.edu/sites/hdnmastergardeners.
Answer: The insect most likely to cause this damage is a sawfly - this appears to be possibly a Bristly roseslug larvae. It is common to find this critter near the coast as they prefer cooler areas. The larvae is pale green or yellowish green with a brown head. You will find the younger larvae on the underside of the leave chewing leaving a windowpane like damage and the older larvae actually chew holes through the leaves. There may be as many as six generations each year.
When the damage is minor chances are that the natural enemies are doing their job. You can handpick the larvae, spray with water or clip off the infested leaves. However, when there is a large population you may decided to spray with insecticidal soap, neem oil or spinosad. BT is not effective because this larva is not a caterpillar.
This link to UC IPM will describe in detail the information and the control methods. If you choose to use a chemical, please be sure to read and follow the instructions on the label thoroughly.