Little Help With My Critter Woes?

Ben E Lou

Garden Ornament
Joined
Dec 13, 2018
Messages
137
Reaction score
383
Points
97
Location
Greensboro, NC (7b)
Last year I had significant issues with groundhogs, rabbits, birds, and squirrels. A dog or cat isn't an option just yet. I'd love to hear what has worked to rid your area of critter issues. I live (barely) inside the city limits, so I can't discharge a firearm legally. Do any of the decoys work? What about coyote or human urine around the perimeter? Motion detecting sprinklers? Those little supposedly-bird-repelling holographic-looking reflecting strips? Something I haven't heard of?
 
Last edited:

catjac1975

Garden Master
Joined
Jul 22, 2010
Messages
8,467
Reaction score
7,301
Points
397
Location
Mattapoisett, Massachusetts
Last year I had significant issues with groundhogs, rabbits, birds, and squirrels. A dog or cat isn't an option just yet. I'd love to hear what has worked to rid your area of critter issues. I live (barely) inside the city limits, so firearms aren't an option for me. Do any of the decoys work? What about coyote or human urine around the perimeter? Motion detecting sprinklers? Those little supposedly-bird-repelling holographic-looking reflecting strips? Something I haven't heard of?
 

canesisters

Garden Master
Joined
Nov 16, 2011
Messages
5,583
Reaction score
6,955
Points
357
Location
Southeast VA
I would think that you might need something different for each pest. What keeps a squirrel - who is probably entering your property from above - away won't have much effect on a ground hog. What scares a rabbit might not phase a bird.

In general, I think, netting is the best option for birds. Trapping might be your best bet for squirrels. Maybe groundhogs too. Fencing is useful for a lot of folks who have rabbit problems.
But all of that is just hear-say... I have dogs and cats. Insects are my main critter problem.
 

Ridgerunner

Garden Master
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
7,439
Reaction score
7,137
Points
377
Location
Southeast Louisiana Zone 9A
I tried coyote urine for groundhogs, it did not work. I tried dog hair for rabbits, it did not work. I tried Irish Spring soap for deer, it did not work. I've had skunks and possum invade a dog's run at night when the dog was inside so fresh marking did not work. You may detect a theme here. I think the problem is that wildlife are pretty adaptive. Something may work for a little while but they soon learn there is no real danger.

For rabbit and deer, fencing can work if it is done right. For rabbits the mesh needs to be small enough they cannot squeeze through and dig proof so thy cannot get under it. I got an apron to work. You lay a piece of wire mesh on the ground outside the fence and attach it to the bottom of your fence (or bend part of the wire 90 degrees so it lays flat). The idea is that the critter goes up to the fence, starts to dig, and does not know to back up. I made my deer fence 10' high, that stopped them from jumping over.

I think shiny things that move in the wind when there is wind and sunshine helps deter birds. It did not stop all pecks on my ripe tomatoes but I think it did help. Bird netting can be effective, certainly consider that..

Groundhogs, squirrels, raccoons and such can climb. Electricity can stop them, I don't know much else that will. Your city may have rules about electric fencing.

Shooting or trapping does not totally control the problems. If you have one critter you have more. One time a skunk went in through a pet door in the garage and sprayed. I trapped seven skunks in the next couple of weeks, don't know if I ever got the right one or not. I've trapped possum or raccoons on consecutive nights in my live trap. That means more than one was visiting. I once shot 16 rabbits out of my garden (not just in the area, actually inside the garden) before I got the one that was eating beans as soon as they sprouted. Probably more than one rabbit was eating the bean sprouts but not all of them were. Still, 16 died. Besides, others are being born all the time. There will always be more. I once trapped over 50 squirrels out of my back yard when I lived in suburbia after they did a few hundred dollars worth of damage to my roof. I'd trap two to four a day and others in the area would just replace them. I did finally thin them out.

If you trap a critter you need to dispose of the body, releasing a live animal anywhere other than your property is probably against the law. It may be against the law to kill one or put the body in the garbage. You might get some guidance from animal control as to what is legal in your town.

While permanently removing vermin like this from your area may not be a total solution, I think stopping one from ever setting foot on your property again is a great move. That stops whatever is hunting on your property from hunting on your property. It only took one night for a live trap to stop a specific raccoon that was destroying my corn as it ripened. Although I trapped a lot of other raccoons, none of them found their way to my corn.
 

flowerbug

Garden Master
Joined
Oct 15, 2017
Messages
8,335
Reaction score
6,966
Points
327
Location
mid-Michigan, USoA
fence. that's all i would invest in. we've tried everything else and none of them work as well. for groundhogs, squirrels, raccoons, possums 4ft with a hot wire they can't get past. the mesh should be very strong and small that the young can't get through.

for chipmunks and voles you'll want an even finer mesh along the bottom. they don't really damage much of what we grow and i try to keep the population down enough via other means to where i don't mind sharing some of the strawberries with them. birds also provide valuable services to me so i don't restrict them from the gardens. we keep birdbaths away from the gardens so they have water. we never have a problem with them pecking at the tomatoes. they do eat some of the strawberries too, but i can usually grow enough that it's ok. usually... as long as i can keep the deer and groundhogs out...

raccoons only bother corn here most of the time so we just decided to not grow it as we don't eat a lot of it. for the space i can get a lot more return from beans and other vegetables...

so we don't use a hot wire and our fence isn't the right kind to keep rabbits or groundhogs out so i have to hunt them at times. :(

for deer we use a 6ft fence at the least.
 

catjac1975

Garden Master
Joined
Jul 22, 2010
Messages
8,467
Reaction score
7,301
Points
397
Location
Mattapoisett, Massachusetts
I swear by my husband "marking his territory" for deer. I just found out that for groundhogs, we call them woodchucks, they cannot digest chewing gum.You just leave it near they burroughs or in it and it takes care of them. A fellow local gardener used it and did not see a woodchuck last year.No other animals are affected. I used a lot of the poison 2 years ago, down into their hole. That definitely worked. If you cannot stomach killing them then you are stuck. A tall strong fence is a must. Our is burried about 18 inches deep. That is a mere deterrent for the woodchucks.There are lots of very inexpensive nettings that you can use. But a dog and cat's presence goes a long way.
I tried coyote urine for groundhogs, it did not work. I tried dog hair for rabbits, it did not work. I tried Irish Spring soap for deer, it did not work. I've had skunks and possum invade a dog's run at night when the dog was inside so fresh marking did not work. You may detect a theme here. I think the problem is that wildlife are pretty adaptive. Something may work for a little while but they soon learn there is no real danger.

For rabbit and deer, fencing can work if it is done right. For rabbits the mesh needs to be small enough they cannot squeeze through and dig proof so thy cannot get under it. I got an apron to work. You lay a piece of wire mesh on the ground outside the fence and attach it to the bottom of your fence (or bend part of the wire 90 degrees so it lays flat). The idea is that the critter goes up to the fence, starts to dig, and does not know to back up. I made my deer fence 10' high, that stopped them from jumping over.

I think shiny things that move in the wind when there is wind and sunshine helps deter birds. It did not stop all pecks on my ripe tomatoes but I think it did help. Bird netting can be effective, certainly consider that..

Groundhogs, squirrels, raccoons and such can climb. Electricity can stop them, I don't know much else that will. Your city may have rules about electric fencing.

Shooting or trapping does not totally control the problems. If you have one critter you have more. One time a skunk went in through a pet door in the garage and sprayed. I trapped seven skunks in the next couple of weeks, don't know if I ever got the right one or not. I've trapped possum or raccoons on consecutive nights in my live trap. That means more than one was visiting. I once shot 16 rabbits out of my garden (not just in the area, actually inside the garden) before I got the one that was eating beans as soon as they sprouted. Probably more than one rabbit was eating the bean sprouts but not all of them were. Still, 16 died. Besides, others are being born all the time. There will always be more. I once trapped over 50 squirrels out of my back yard when I lived in suburbia after they did a few hundred dollars worth of damage to my roof. I'd trap two to four a day and others in the area would just replace them. I did finally thin them out.

If you trap a critter you need to dispose of the body, releasing a live animal anywhere other than your property is probably against the law. It may be against the law to kill one or put the body in the garbage. You might get some guidance from animal control as to what is legal in your town.

While permanently removing vermin like this from your area may not be a total solution, I think stopping one from ever setting foot on your property again is a great move. That stops whatever is hunting on your property from hunting on your property. It only took one night for a live trap to stop a specific raccoon that was destroying my corn as it ripened. Although I trapped a lot of other raccoons, none of them found their way to my corn.
My groundhogs DO NO CLIMB! But they can dig under my fence which is 18" buried. But the fence is a great deterrent.
 

Latest posts

Top