“NEVADA CITY, CAL – Cotton Bros. & Co, Oakland, CAL were awarded a contract April 14 by the county supervisors for constructing the following bridges; steel bridge over Deer Creek, $2,248.” – Engineering News and American Railway Journal, Volume 39, April 28, 1898, pg. 145
“The Cotton Brothers and Company was an important California based bridge builder of metal truss bridges in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century. They built several bridges in Nevada County during the 1890’s, including the Purdon Bridge.” – Historic American Building Survey, National Park Service – Wolf Creek Bridge PDF
It’s a display of traditional art pieces, and digital designs printed on clothing and housewares accompanied by QR codes linking to web pages for each subject.
When planning for a multimedia show, the producer must ensure visitors understand how to use technology to get the most out of it.
In this case, QR codes are posted along with each type of media on display. To read a QR code, a smartphone camera optically analyzes the black and white square shape, then directly links to the web page where additional information, along with curated documentaries await the curious.
A variety of phone apps will accomplish similar things, for example, QR Readers, and Bar Code Scanners both use the phone camera to analyze a QR (Quick Response) and bar codes. Because Google Lens performs those functions AND identifies plants and animals, translates foreign languages, serves up book information, and a variety of other services, it’s Lisa’s top choice for scanning apps.
By expanding capabilities of devices we already use on a daily basis (the phone camera), Google is soft teaching us to use artificial intelligence (machine learning) and augmented reality.
“It’s quite fun!” says Redfern. “It’s not always exact, but it’s close enough to be interesting.”
Practice Using New Technology Before the Show
As Lisa was testing the user instructions she plans to display at the show, several test subjects requested that she post tutorials on the blog so new users have time to practice before March 4th.
Even if bloodsucking arachnids make you scratch, it’s worth spending a few minutes learning about the behaviors of this tiny creature who survives by hitching rides and drinking blood. While ticks have the potential to spread serious disease, if you know where they hang-out, how do inspections, and how to properly remove them, you can minimize the danger to yourself, your family, and your pets.
Where Ticks Hang-out
Deer ticks are found in places near potential hosts. In Nevada County, those include; deer, squirrel, mice, rabbits, birds, lizards, woodrats, bobcats, skunks, gophers, dogs, cats, humans and other animals with blood.
Blood meals are required for growth. Black-legged ticks (aka Deer Ticks) are hard-bodied and require a host to progress through each life stage. Between meals, they wait, often going into diapause, a state of suspended development.
When not connected to a host, ticks require cool moist places like;
moisture-retaining garden features such as mulch or stone walls
Ticks do not;
drop from trees
They only crawl and climb. To move long distances, ticks must do so while attached to a host.
How Ticks Sense Hosts and Know When to Ready Their Grappling Hooks
questing tick larvae
Questing is when a tick prepares to latch onto a host. Like a pirate with a grappling hook, a tick perches at the end of grass blades or branches, waiting with outstretched front legs. After hooking onto hair or clothing, the tick begins to ascend. They travel up, looking for locations with thinner skin and for places where hosts cannot reach.
Questing Black-legged (Deer) tick. Photo Credit: National Park Service
Newtown Rd. bobcat with an engorged tick. Photo Credit: Terry & Anita Hansen
In warm climates, a tick’s life span may only last a year. In Nevada County, where it’s cold, a tick has a three-year life span.
Fall through Winter
Tick life starts out as an egg.
Larvae hatch with six legs. *They go into diapause, suspended development, whenever weather conditions are not ideal.
The larva attaches to a host – usually a small animal – for its first blood meal – which can last from days to weeks – then drops off.
Summer through Winter
After molting, a larva becomes a nymph, gains two additional legs, and overwinters in this stage.
Nymphs seek out a host for a second blood meal – which can last from days to weeks – then drops off.
2nd Summer through Winter
Nymphs molt into adults and overwinter in this stage.
Adults seek out a third blood meal – usually on a large animal – where they feed and mate through the summer. Males die after mating.
Females drop off the host to lay eggs on the ground. She’ll lay about twenty eggs a day and can lay over a thousand in a month-and-a-half. At this life stage, most of her body weight is comprised of the eggs. When she’s finished laying, her body collapses.
*Engorged females, ready to lay eggs will look for soil as a first choice, but if she drops off inside a house, she will seek places like hampers, bathroom rugs, or a pile of damp laundry.
Life stages: larvae, nymph, adult male and female.
Using diapause, ticks can survive long periods of drought. They can also survive underwater for two to three days and can last for two years without a blood meal.
Adult black-legged ticks (aka Deer Ticks) are most activeafter the first frost in fall and again in spring.
Squirrels Carry Bacteria
In California, the Western gray squirrel is known to harbor the bacterium –Borrelia burgdorferi– that causes Lyme Disease. Ticks pick this up during their first or second blood meal.
Lizards – Western Lyme Heros
Western Fence Lizard with tick Photo Credit Jerry Kirkhart
While in the larva or nymph stage, ticks frequently find lizard hosts.
Alligator lizard with ticks. Photo Credit Steve Jervetson
A protein in lizard blood kills the Lyme disease causing bacteria.
Lizards may be the reason Lyme Disease is not as prevalent in the western states as it is in the east.
Once a tick is finished with its lizard liquid, the bacteria won’t be transmitted to the next host.
Ants, frogs, lizards, poultry, and opossums.
Tick Inspection & Bite Prevention
Wear light-colored clothes – long pants + long-sleeved shirts.
Apply bug spray with at least 20% Deet. (Permethrin on clothes only.)
Keep to the middle of the trail and try not to brush against branches or grass.
Frequently stop to check pant legs for ticks.
Check companions for ticks in places they can’t see.
Also do periodic checks on animals, focusing on head, ears, and neck.
If possible, shower within two hours of spending time in a tick zones.
Because ticks have numbing agents in their saliva, you won’t feel it when mouthparts penetrate.
With tweezers, grab the tick close to the skin and pull straight out.
Ticks & Disease
“Ticks transmit the widest variety of pathogens of any blood-sucking arthropod, including bacteria, rickettsiae, protozoa, and viruses,” comments Larisa Vredevoe, Ph.D, Department of Entomology, University of California, Davis
**It’s important to remove ticks as soon as possible. It takes between 36 to 48 hours for a Borrelia burgdorferi carrier tick to transmit the bacteria from the gut to the salivary glands.
Interactive Lyme Disease and Tick Survey
From the data on the Interactive Lyme Disease and Tick Survey,
the majority of Lyme disease causing ticks in Nevada County come from the South Yuba River watershed.
Nevada County Cases of Lyme Disease
Between 2000 and 2016, Nevada County reported 48 cases of Lyme Disease
Nevada County, incidence per 100,000 person-years = 2.73
The highest risk counties in California are; Trinity, Humboldt, and Mendocino.
Seek Medical Attention
If a rash or skin irritation occurs after a tick bite, promptly seek medical attention.
Bats are the only flying mammals. Wing membranes are attached to their fingers. After rodents, they are the largest order of Earth animals.
Microbats live in California. they are insectivores and can eat their weight in insects daily. (Large bats, such as the Fruit Bat, also known as a Flying Fox, live in tropical climates.)
Roosts, which can contain up to thirty generations of family members, are used for protection, warmth, grooming, eating, resting, and mating. Roosting sites include caves, mines, bridges, buildings, crevices, and tree hollows. Bats are nocturnal. They leave their roosts at dusk to hunt and drink water at night.
Since roosts are where large numbers of bats congregate, it’s a system that provides fertile conditions for the spread of diseases such as, rabies, histoplasmosis, and other viruses. Roosts are where White-nose syndrome is spreading (see below).
The Mexican free-tailed bat or Brazilian free-tailed bat (Tadarida brasiliensis) is a migrating bat native to the Americas. Since it roosts in large numbers in few locations, it’s vulnerable to habitat destruction. This bat is considered a species of special concern in California because of declining populations.
A keystone species, bats keep ecosystems healthy by controlling insect populations, but they’ve got obstacles. Habitat loss and destruction of roosting sites, wind farms on migratory pathways, and drought are a few. White-nose syndrome, a muzzle and wing flesh-eating fungus, has decimated bat populations across North America.
Some good news for California bats may be forest lands opened up by wildfires. UC Berkeley postdoctoral researcher Zachary Steel found that certain bat populations have increased in burned forests. The causes are still under study but causes may be increased food sources, roosting locations in dead trees, and/or more space for flight maneuverability
Bats hunt with echolocation, sounds out of human hearing range that help locate prey.
While bats can use their mouths to catch prey, most bugs are caught in their wing membranes and either eaten in the air or carried to a roosting spot.
Bats have bendy bones which makes them ultra maneuverable. Some say bats have the fastest horizontal flying speed of any animal, close to 99 miles per hour!
Among roosting bats that create large quantities of urine and guano, they’ve developed respiratory mucous Ph buffer.
Torpor is an important adaptation for microbats. It can range from a partial state of heterothermic arousal to full hibernation. Lowing body temperature reduces the need for food and fat storage.
A new study by University of California, Berkeley, researchers shows that bats’ brain activity is literally in sync when bats engage in social behaviors like grooming, fighting or sniffing each other.
Using scent markers and sound, mothers can locate their own babies out of thousands.
Photo Credit: Mnolf
Females can breed after 9 months of age, they congregate in maternity roosts. Males become sexually mature at two years. Gestation is about three months. Generally, one pup is born per year. Young suckle for between four to seven weeks. Mother’s must eat their body weight in insects to keep up with nursing demands.
“WNS is considered one of the deadliest wildlife diseases, having killed over six million North American bats since it was discovered,” said CDFW Wildlife Veterinarian and Epidemiologist Dr. Deana Clifford. “WNS doesn’t affect human health or pets, but the ecological impacts of bat die-offs may indirectly impact agricultural systems through loss of the natural pesticide effect and nutrient cycling of bats.”
As of spring 2019, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife detected white-nose syndrome in bats in Chester, Plumas County.
AUSTIN, TX (May 8, 2019) – Bat Conservation International (BCI) announced today that early signs of the fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd) have been detected at one of the world’s premier bat conservation sites, Bracken Cave Preserve.
“We think we have the beginnings of an answer,” says Shreesh Mysore, an assistant professor who oversees the owl lab at Hopkins. The answer, he says, appears to involve an ancient brain area with special cells that tell us what to ignore.”