Loop North News – Dangerous creatures thrive in Chicago near forest reserves

(Above) Deer in a forest preserve in the Chicago area. Photography by Glenn Knoblock.

The high risks of living near a forest or forest preserve present a harsh awakening, especially for lakeside Chicagoans who don’t regularly venture outside our concrete jungle.

11-Sep-23 This writer, who grew up in Old Town, Lincoln Park, and other neighborhoods near the lake, was hunting mice in the alley behind the three-flat Halsted Street apartment our family lived in. And we’ve heard reports of coyotes residing in Grant Park.
However, after recently having a weekend investment retreat near a forest reserve in the Far Northwest, we have discovered a new enemy – the following “congenital risks…”
• Bambi’s picnic. This adventure began last fall, when we noticed a mature deer wandering the driveway in front of our house in the early hours of the morning. As lazy gardeners, we love hostas because they require absolutely no care, and we’ve grown a bunch of them outside. Little did we know that deer love eating hostas in our evening salad. We’ve switched to dwarf trees, which deer don’t like.
• Raccoon visits are nocturnal. We wondered why the previous owner of the property always placed a heavy concrete block on top of the black trash can. After putting a few white trash bags filled with leftover pizza and food scraps into the black bin, we discovered why. The raccoons that maintained the fat jungle would regularly walk across the street after midnight to eat dinner inside our trash can.

• Presentation of poisonous mushrooms. This summer we discovered a strange white, baseball-shaped mushroom (left) sprouting in the north-facing lawn of the forest reserve. My daughter’s online research revealed that it is a saprophytic fungus often found in wood chips. The “false umbrella” mushroom is called the “false umbrella mushroom”, and is legally known as Chlorophyllum molybdate.
Mushroom experts say the prolific and widespread fungus is nicknamed “vomiter” for a very good reason. If you make the mistake of adding this variety to your garden salad, you’ll quickly regret it. This is the most eaten poisonous mushroom in North America.

• Love bug infestation. The most terrifying jungle creature we encountered was an infestation of boxer bugs, whose main job seems to be to breed on the sunny windshield door in July and August.
While entomologists may find these red and black insects attractive, the average homeowner probably won’t be happy to find this common insect invading their home. Although harmless and not dangerous, few people enjoy having large bugs crawl out of cracks into walls, windows, lights, or furniture.

Boxer bugs are about half an inch long – formally known as Boesia trivitata They have narrow black bodies with red stripes on their torso and red stripes on the edges of their wings. These frightening markings make it appear as if its wings form an inverted V when it is lying down. They are avid flyers and can often travel many miles at a time. However, we did not see one in the old city. Photography by Don Debate
Photography by Don Debate Boxelder bugs are attracted to silver maple trees, and feed on the leaves, flowers, and seed pods. Unfortunately, we have a silver maple in our front yard.
Once the cold weather sets in in the fall, bedbugs begin to seek shelter for the winter, and are often attracted to the warm, sunny sides of homes. From there, it slides into cracks and gaps in siding or around doors and windows.

If not treated, boxer bugs will spend the winter months in the walls of your home until the warmth warms them up. This warmth doesn’t necessarily mean the spring or summer months – it could be the hot air from inside your home that gets them out of the walls and into your rooms during the winter. Although they do not breed indoors, they can be very intrusive and annoying, and their feces can stain surfaces, such as walls, furniture, and curtains.
Once insects are in, physical removal is the best way to get rid of them. First, vacuum up the bugs, then empty the can away from your home. Another option is to spray the insects with a mixture of two parts water and one part dish soap, which can kill the insects on contact.
To prevent bedbugs from entering your home in the first place, consider treating the exterior walls with a residual insecticide. It is most effectively sprayed in the spring when boxelder bugs begin to emerge.
To reduce entry points, seal all cracks, crevices, gaps and openings in your home. Also, fix any torn or broken doors or windows, and make sure all doors and windows are closed properly.
Guess who calls our pest control guy for an early spring visit?

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