You being on this page certainly means ground squirrels are probably making you uncomfortable in certain ways, your special vegetable garden is probably suffering from ground squirrel infestation or they dug a stack number of holes around your home. Worry less! I’ll be taking you through a number of different ways to get rid of ground squirrels around your home. But first, let’s be sure of what squirrels are and the types of squirrels there are.
The word ‘’squirrel’’ comes from an Anglo-Norman word ‘’esquirel’’ which itself is from an Old French word ‘’escurel’’, a reflex of a Latin ‘’Sciurus’’ mostly referring to ‘ a long bushy tail’.
Squirrels belong to the family of medium size rodents, Sciuridae. Squirrels are regional to the Americas, Africa, and Eurasia but must have been transported by humans in certain ways to Australia. Squirrels in groups can be referred to as ‘dray’ or ‘scurry’. They are naturally small animals with different sizes from about 10 to 14 cm in length and 12 to 26 g in weight. They usually have lanky narrowbodies with elongated bushy tails and husky eyes and they eat fruits mostly. Squirrels’ hind limbs are always longer than the forelimbs with strong claws for climbing.
Squirrels copulate once or twice a year which is followed by a gestation period before they give birth to a number of offspring that would probably be of different species. The young are born hairless, blind, and toothless and it takes six to ten weeks before they become mature.
The squirrel family may include flying squirrels, tree squirrels, marmots, chipmunks, ground squirrels among others.
THE GROUND SQUIRRELS
The ground squirrels belong to the family of rodents- Sciuridae and naturally live on or in the ground rather than other squirrels that live on trees. They are of varying sizes and a peculiar characteristic about them is their ability to rise on their hindlimbs to stand erect for longer periods.
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This happens mostly when it perceives a close danger or mostly when it has to see over tall grasses. At this time, it twists its paws against its chest and sends a shrieking call to warn others of the presence of danger.
WHAT DO GROUND SQUIRRELS FEED ON
You may be wondering why you need to know this, yes, you need to. You are probably providing feeds for squirrels unknowingly which could be the reason why they frequent around your home. Squirrels are predominantly herbivorous animals and they eat a variety of plants, fruits, fungi, seeds, nuts, and the likes.
Ground squirrels however do not only base on diets rich in fungi, nuts, fruits, and seeds, they sometimes eat insects, eggs, and other small animals like smaller birds, rats, and mice.
WHERE DO SQUIRRELS LIVE
Ground squirrels select open areas with rocky outcrops, pasturage, fields, and meager wooded hillsides, grassy areas, golf courses, and parks. They are also sometimes usually found in grain fields, meadows, irrigated pastures, and residential buildings.
They make burrow openings or underground tunnels where they store food, rest, sleep and keep their young ones. The burrows are often dug along ditches and fences around buildings in order to avoid floods. They mostly avoid moist areas or lands with frequent cultivation.
However, one can ordinarily find ground squirrels under houses as their burrows can go 5 to 30 feet in length and 2 to 4 feet deep. They somewhat sprout in places that provide shelter against predators which is why a house under can be a perfect place for burrowing. Before getting rid of ground squirrels, there are certain measures that must be taken. They are the preparations to getting rid of ground squirrels.
PREPARATION TO GETTING RID OF GROUND SQUIRRELS
This is the first measure to be taken in getting rid of ground squirrels. You have to carefully scrutinize the affected areas, the damages, and the extent of the damages.
This is the next stage after the inspection phase. Here, you devise a plan or choose a means preferable to use of getting rid of the ground squirrels. There are many ways in which you can do this which will be discussed later, you can choose the option that suits your environment.
This is where you actualize your plans. You must have chosen a suitable method and gotten your equipment ready to clear the area where ground squirrels live. Follow the rules strictly and clear your area.
This is the after-work. Keep the vibe and ensure that your environment is continuously less attractive for ground squirrels but more attractive for you.
GETTING RID OF SQUIRRELS
Getting rid of ground squirrels does not necessarily have to include killing them. There are tons lots of things that squirrels hate which can be done to get rid of them. Some of these include:
This can be achieved by planting tall trees to attract hawks or betters still using a heap of rocks and bush cover to attract snakes that will eat the ground squirrels. This is actually not advisable for homes but for pastures and fields.
Usage of Noises
Noises are mostly hated by ground squirrels. This can be used to one’s advantage with the use of ultrasonic ground spikes to chase the ground squirrels away. The ultrasonic ground spikes can be in the form of vibrating stakes, wind chimes, or moving lawn garniture placed near the burrows on the ground to scare the squirrels away. This practice is safe, easy, effective, and fit for all cases.
Squirrels eat almost every plant but there are some certain plants that they loathe like narcissus, castor bean, and crown imperial. The presence of these plants will send them away. You can easily plant these around your homes, yard, garden, or field to keep the squirrels away. It is safe, effective, and advantageous.
Red pepper flakes can be soaked with water in a sprayable container for about 10-12 hours and has proven to be an effective method in chasing away ground squirrels. Add a reasonable amount of dishwashing liquid into it and spray plants, burrows, and leaves that the ground squirrels graze on. This redolence will chase the ground squirrel packing. This process is affordable, easy, and favorable.
Castor Oil Process
This is another means of getting rid of ground squirrels. You can mix a quarter cup of castor oil and two tablespoons of dishwashing liquid together. Add two tablespoons of this mixture into a half-gallon of water and spray it everywhere the ground squirrels frequent. This process is effective and affordable.
One way of overcoming rodent problem which has proven effective over the years is Fumigation. This is however most effective during the spring or mostly when the soil moisture is high. Fumigating homes and the environment is another fast way of getting rid of ground squirrels.
This is a practical process of getting rid of ground squirrels. This is most effective for low numbers squirrels. The ground squirrels can be trapped using live ground squirrel traps as they are most effective in trapping them. This is also effective and can get rid of the ground squirrels faster.
This method may kill ground squirrels. Treated grains can be used as a decoy to attract ground squirrels and poison them. This method is very effective and good for large populations of ground squirrels.
HOW TO PREVENT FURTHER INVASION OF GROUND SQUIRRELS
- All trash should be kept in tied trash bags or covered containers
- For outdoor dining areas, ensure a thorough clean-up after every event
- For yards or fields filled with plants with nuts, berries, seeds, or vegetables, pack these continuously from the garden or yard to limit sources of food for ground squirrels.
- Get rid of improper water sources from your fields, yard, or garden as much as possible.
- Ensure your grasses are trimmed short and your yard, fields, garden, and homes are well tidied to reduce hiding places for ground squirrels.
- Get rid of insects that ground squirrels feed upon from your homes, garden, and fields.
- Make tall fencing around your gardens, fields, or homes that go at least a foot or two feet under the ground.
- Make use of motion sensor water sprinklers. This will effectively scare the ground squirrels away even if they wanted to invade.
- Mint plants around your field, garden, or home also repulse the ground squirrel.
- Spray the pepper solution always whether they are or are not on your property anymore.
- Get farm cats. They scare ground squirrels and other rodents away.
There are some particular simple steps you can take to eradicate the gophers off your property. Most of the equipment that will be used can easily be found around you which will relatively reduce cost, stress and effectively rid a great network of squirrels off. Some of these measures include;
- Animal dung: As ground squirrels hate to be around other animals’ excrement, you can easily get the waste of other animals and place it around their burrows, this will give a reason for the ground squirrels’ emigration.
- Fish remnants: This is another alternative that can be used to get rid of ground squirrels. Fish scraps and bones can be placed around the garden, yard, or field to send the ground squirrels packing.
- Dryer sheets: Since ground squirrels hate the scent of detergents, dryer sheets can be placed around the entrance of the rodents’ holes to make it stink of the scent of detergent. This is another effective way to get rid of ground squirrels.
- Mothballs: it in the entry hole of the ground squirrels to send them out of that particular hole.
- H20: You can easily flood the holes of the ground squirrels with water. The ground squirrels prefer drier areas to wet ones. This will make them evacuate your property in search of a greener pasture. However, to avoid the comeback of the squirrels after the holes must have dried, fill these holes with castor oil or pepper spray to keep them away.
- Metal barriers: Installation of metal barriers at the edge of your fields, yards or gardens can also help evacuate the ground squirrels. These metal barriers should be sunk at least eight inches into the ground to avoid its digging off by the rodents.
- Chewing gum: Yes, chewing gum. Sweet chewing gum sticks can be used as bait for ground squirrels which after being eaten would block their intestines and peradventure leads to death. This fact although has never been proved yet.
- Coffee grounds: Used coffee grounds can be spread around the entrance of the ground squirrels’ holes to make them move along and not make that part their domicile.
HOW TO MAKE PEPPER SPRAY FOR ERADICATING GROUND SQUIRRELS
- Ensure all your supplies for making the spray are in order. These include water, hot pepper flakes, spraying bottles, and dishwashing soap. Hot pepper flakes can be gotten from any grocery store around you.
- Mix 3.8 liters of water and 3 tablespoons of pepper flakes in a pot. Heat the mixture with high heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Ensure the pot is covered with a lid while heating and that it reaches the last boiling point. Continuously check on it and stir regularly to infuse the pepper into the water for a more concentrated result. While stirring, ensure to keep your eyes away from the steam.
- Transfer the mixture from the heat and leave for 24 hours. This is after it must have boiled satisfactorily. Leaving it will enhance the diffusion of the pepper flavor into the water for a better result. Ensure it is covered and placed in a safe area.
- After the wait, filter the pepper flakes out of the water. The pepper can be discarded as the liquid is the actual supply. After the pepper and the water have been separated and the liquid filtered;
- Mix 2 teaspoons of the dishwashing soap with the liquid. The dish soap is an irritant to ground squirrels and it helps the liquid adhere to the plants when sprayed. Ensure the dishwashing soap is added only after the liquid has been filtered. You can use castile soap preferably since it is biodegradable and safe for your plants and soil.
- Pour the liquid into the spray bottle and ensure to label it because of any unplanned or unfavorable circumstances. Be mindful of the cap and nozzle, ensure they are in good condition. Your pepper spray for ground squirrels is ready. If you get some on your hand while using, avoid touching your face and wash your hands thoroughly immediately after use.
- Spray pepper spray around the holes and the areas the ground squirrels frequent. Endeavor to do this mornings and evenings and correctly. For plants that you are not sure of their reactions towards the liquid, apply the spray to a leaf to confirm the reaction. Wait at least two days, if there is no strange reaction, you can safely spray around the plants. Do not apply the liquid in the middle of the day as this might be unfavorable for the liquid on plants.
After spraying mornings and evenings for the first week, you can continue this action later once per week but endeavor to reapply every time after rainfall. If the ground squirrels desert their previous holes because of the spray to make new holes, try spraying as many plants as possible to many different axis, eventually, they will be left with no choice but to leave.
Jessica Watson is a PHD holder from the University of Washington. She studied behavior and interaction between squirrels and has presented her research in several wildlife conferences including TWS Annual Conference in Winnipeg.