DEAR JOAN: We have lived here for 39 years. On April 10, for the first time ever, I saw a duck in the pool.
Today I opened the drapes, and they are back again. They are beautiful, but what should I do about it. I don’t want any problems. Are they mother and baby?
DEAR PEGGY: The two mallards visiting your pool are not mother and daughter, but most likely a mated pair. The male is the more brightly colored one, the female the drab one, which helps her sit on the nest without attracting too much attention.
Speaking of nests, if you check around your yard, looking beneath shrubs and bushes, you might find a nest with eggs, which might be why the ducks are visiting. They either have or had a nest in your yard or nearby.
It’s also possible they were just flying by and spotted your pool. During times of drought, bodies of water can be hard to find, and the ones that are available can become crowded.
While it might be nice to let them have a dip and stay awhile, in the long run it’s not good for them. Chlorinated water and wildlife aren’t a good mix, plus there are dangers for wild animals trying to live in developed areas.
If there are ducklings in the future, a pool is not a safe place for them as it can be difficult, if not impossible, for them to get out once they’ve gotten in.
So bottom line, you want to discourage ducks, geese or other water fowl from frequent visits in the pool. You can install a cover, which is expensive, or you can try floating some inflatable pool toys in the pool when it isn’t in use. Pick ones that might appear threatening to ducks, such as alligators or giant snakes.
For something more festive, you also can place reflective pinwheels around the perimeter of the pool.
If you do find ducklings in the pool, create a ramp they can use to climb out of the pool.
DEAR JOAN: For the second year, I’ve noticed worms showing up spontaneously in my above-ground, spinner-style compost bin. Obviously they don’t crawl up from the ground, and I have never seen a worm in the soil when I dig in my yard.
I put the usual materials in the spinner — grass clippings, leaves, coffee grounds, tea leaves and vegetable peelings. I like the worms, as they help consume the material, but wonder where they come from.
DEAR BILL: Perhaps the worms are getting into your supply of energy drinks, because, as you know, Red Bull gives you wings.
OK, seriously, the worms have no magical powers that allow them to levitate into your above-ground composter or scale its lofty heights. They are being carried into the composter on the green material you’re putting in, probably the grass clippings and leaves.
You might not see the actual worms on the material, but there likely are eggs or cocoons on it.
The worms in compost, as well as the ones used in vermiculture composting, are a different species from earthworms. These compost worms are hardwired to eat waste and the castings — worm poop — they leave behind is gold to gardeners.
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