What Threat do Squirrels Pose?
We all know what squirrels look like. We see them run across highways all the time, sometimes unsuccessfully. They are cute little critters and we may wonder “what threat do squirrels pose?”. Are they really a pest? The answer is yes, they can become a serious problem.
These creatures typically live in a wide variety of natural habitats. Populations can be particularly high in grazed range lands and in areas disturbed by humans such as road or ditch banks, fence-rows, around buildings, and in or bordering many crops. Ground squirrel burrow openings are usually 4 inches in diameter. There are no freshly dug up mounds, but rather shallow holes. Their tunnels can deepen to about 2 to 4 feet. Their home systems can range up to 75 yards underground. They tend to hibernate during the cold months of winter only popping up around early spring; however, there are some squirrels that stay active all year.
Ground squirrels damage many food-bearing and aesthetic plants. Susceptible to the attack of squirrels are grains as well as nut and fruit trees such as almond, apple, apricot, orange, peach, pistachio, prune, and walnut. They can damage young shrubs, vines, and trees by gnawing bark, girdling trunks (the process of completely removing a strip of bark from a tree’s outer circumference), eating twigs and leaves, and burrowing around roots.Ground squirrels will gnaw on plastic sprinkler heads and irrigation lines. They also eat the eggs of ground-nesting birds.
Burrowing can be quite destructive. Burrows and mounds make it difficult to tend to your gardens and lawns, and they may present hazards to machinery, pedestrians, and livestock. Damage can cost an exorbitant amount of money to treat as burrows around trees and shrubs can damage and desiccate, or dry out, roots; it sometimes can topple trees. Burrowing beneath buildings and other structures sometimes produces damage that necessitates costly repair.
Squirrel control can be controlled by the land owner in any way they see fit. This includes hunting. Other treatment for ground squirrels include: box traps, tunnel traps, and Conibear traps. Box and tunnel traps are set near the squirrel burrows. The baits are usually nuts and grains and melon rinds. However, squirrels may become accustomed to traps.
Your technician may also suggest fumigation. Fumigation is generally a friendly control method. If you choose to fumigate on your own, California county agricultural commissioners can help you determine which burrows are active in order to limit chemical usage in the environment.
Your best bet is to consult your pest control company. They will effectively eradicate ground squirrels while working with you to determine which control plan is best for you.