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packrats love the spines   
It isn’t just mites. This has been a bad year for packrats also. I hope that the picture convinces you that cactus spines have nothing to do with plant protection. The rats ate the spine clusters preferentially. The spines shade the plants and slow the wind down some to maybe slow evaporation a bit, I think, with shading probably the main function. Since coming back from China, I have put out more than 25 100 mL (3 oz) trays of rat poison pellets. This is 2500 mL of pellets which is about 4.5 lb of pellets. I found a packrat trail through my fence. I place three rat traps at this hole every night such that any rat has to run across one or more traps. I have so far killed directly four pack rats by their blundering into my traps. I’ve never caught a packrat with a baited (peanut butter; sausage) trap. I wonder how many packrats are living around my house. That is a lot of poison. As long as they keep on eating it, I will keep on putting the poison out.   (30/32)   

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