Dealing with Ground squirrels, Red Squirrels and Gray Squirrels, Mice, and Moles
Larger pests can damage and cause havoc to the gardener. Here is part 2 of information and tips on dealing with larger pests in your yard or garden. Part 1 of this article gives information of other common pests.
Squirrels-Squirrels have a reputation for destroying property by eating wires and causing house fires because the wiring in house will short out. Squirrels leave little trails behind them from a little gland that is located in their feet. This is like a map of where to go to get your next meal. Squirrels have been said to even cause power outages in such large cities as New York City. There are many products that you might hear about that may or may not be legal to use. Such things as moth balls are restricted in some places. Deterrents such as sound devices have not always come with high recommendations. There is however, strobes, which are lights that keep the squirrels from coming into a certain area. Once you have squirrel problems, you will try anything to get rid of them.
Ground Squirrels-These burrowing rodents are particularly destructive in Iowa, California, and Oregon. They dig up seeds of corn, melons, and soybeans. In California it is said that they even climb trees to get fruit and nuts, making it necessary to protect the trees with cylinders of metal around the trunks. Trapping, shooting and poisoning ground squirrels are all things that have been used to get rid of squirrels. You may note that there are new laws and ordinances that prohibit many of these kinds of measures. So please check with your local and county government for any possible restrictions. Trapping them is one of the better options.
Red and Gray Squirrels-Red squirrels sometimes damage trees by gnawing the bark off of young shoots and biting of young growths from evergreens. Gray squirrels are likely to help themselves to corn crops before they are harvested. Shooting and trapping seem to be the only sure methods of control. However, as I stated before, it is against the law in most city areas to shoot any animals. There are many other squirrel deterrents that can be found at hardware and farm stores that should be used for ridding your yard of squirrels. They can be very destructive, especially if they get access to your attic. They can gnaw holes in sides of chimneys are any part of the house that may be damaged and weakened to give them access into interior walls. They get into your attic, make nest, run around all night making noise where you can’t sleep. Yes, experience again.
Mice-There are many species of mice that can be very destructive to shrubs and trees and can work havoc among potted bulbs during their rooting period. Most mice work on the surface of the ground. They gnaw the bark off of stems, killing young unprotected trees. The Pine mouse works underground, and burrows cutting roots of fruit trees and ornamentals.
In small areas mice may be caught in snapback traps, but for extensive protection it is better to use a poison bait. Place small portions of the bait in the runway paths of the mice or in a container so that pets and birds cannot reach it.
Moles-These animals burrow underground and fee on various soil creatures and other small creatures, such as earthworms, but do damage to plants by heaving up the soil in lawns and flower beds and thus disturbing bulbs and roots. The Oregon mole and Eastern star-nosed mole throw up large mounds, but the common Eastern mole does not. Its presence is shown by loose ridges made as it tunnels just beneath the surface. Moles produce one litter of 3 to 4 young each year in spring.
Moles may be trapped with choker, harpoon and scissors-jaw traps set in the runways. It is advisable to handle the traps with gloves so that no human scent is left on them. I have had success with moles by simply running a garden hose into the holes and they came out so that they wouldn’t drown, and they were caught.