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Looking Past The Numbers

Nutty Corn Pest

Published on Monday, February 24, 2014

I am sure many of you are a bit stir crazy as am I from all of the very wintery days we have had this year. I know there are many out there that will tell me I am wrong, but this has to be the most snow and cold we have had in a winter in many years, if not decades.

With all of the winter we have been having, I have tried to pull my thoughts toward spring. The product team has been working on our new products for next year already and that has been a great opportunity to be thinking about a warmer time.

You will never believe my inspiration for this month’s blog. My wife and I recently visited a place in Noblesville that is dedicated to local art. This establishment called the Nickel Plate Arts is two historic homes that currently showcase local artists. They also host events such as the Valentine’s Day event that we recently attended.

Now for the “nutty” tie in – while touring the two homes and looking at the art exhibits, we stumbled upon an exhibit from a local elementary class that was all about squirrels. In fact, the class project was inspired by a very historical event that happened in Indiana back in the 1800s. Apparently there was a mass migration of more than 100,000 squirrels that moved from Indiana to Ohio named the “Great Squirrel Stampede”. I am not sure why they were heading to Ohio in the first place (perhaps they had heard about The Ohio State’s mascot and decided to go to Columbus to check it out). Hamilton County was a part of this migration and I am sure there was other counties in Indiana that reference this event in history.

Now, imagine you are a farmer back in the 1800s or even today for that matter and you are getting ready to harvest your best field of corn. But what do you see when you get to the field? Thousands of squirrels invading your crop and eating away all of your profits! This sounds even worse than many of the pests we experience today such as corn borer, corn rootworm, and even blackbirds.

After hearing about this, I have decided to boycott feeding squirrels anything that resembles a modern day crop. I think the ear corn feeders may give them a taste for our number one crop here in the Midwest and you never know when they may decide to assemble and march back to Ohio and eat their fill of our corn crops.

        
                              Photo courtesy of birderslounge.com and butterfliesandwildlife.com.

OK, so my last paragraph was probably a little over the top. But I did become very curious about this event since I had never heard of it. Then it ran full circle in my mind as to what were they doing and what would happen today in our society if such an event was to happen. And keeping in mind the time all of us spend in corn fields in the summer and fall, what would we do if confronted with hungry squirrels marching through the corn plot we were evaluating?

Hopefully this nutty topic will keep your mind off the snow and freezing rain of the last several months and get you to at least be thinking of a time when crops are out in the field and growing. Have a great week!

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Doug Clouser
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Doug Clouser

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