Crayfish, also known as crawfish, freshwater lobster, mud bugs, freshwater crab, crawdad and several other names depending on where you are in the United States, have become a major nuisance in certain regions of the country. There are over 300 species in our country; several species are raised specifically to be eaten. However, as people have relocated populations close to streams, rivers, ponds and lakes, crayfish problems have developed. This article will explain why crayfish can become a problem and then offer control measures to help reduce damage and populations which are too large.
CRAYFISH BIOLOGY *
Crayfish are natural food for many animals including snakes, mink, otter, raccoon, birds and many species of fish. Property owners will plant crayfish in ponds and lakes in an attempt to feed their private fish stock. Given the chance, these initial populations will bloom uncontrollably and if given the chance, can actually reduce fish breeding as well as lead to damage of important lake shore.
HOW CAN CRAYFISH DAMAGE PRIVATE LAND AND WATER? *
Crayfish cause damage property several ways. First, they eat a lot. They love fish eggs and fry and seek such food supplies when available. Their tenacious diet will prevent local fish populations from developing properly. Be careful when trying to use crayfish as a main food supply hoping to feed fish which will grow unusually large because of the abundance of crayfish. In the end, a large population of crayfish may lead to decreasing the amount of fish you’re trying to grow.
The second way crayfish cause problems is with their burrowing. This can occur two ways. Initially, most species will burrow out onto the water shore and emerge a few feet up on dry land. Their burrows serve as a way they can retreat from the water as well as to provide shelter. This happens all the time where crayfish are present; most of this is never noticed by land owners.
However, as populations of crayfish increase, their burrowing will reach further and further out into turf areas. Overcrowding will cause them to leave the water to nest. Basically they’ll be walking out past existing burrows to dig new ones further and further away from water. This digging will occur mostly at night and generally leads to turf damage in two ways.
Crayfish burrows will be killing plants and shrubs as they dig. Additionally, their burrows are unsightly. Some people refer to them as “chimneys” or “crayfish castles”. Regardless these “castles” are not attractive in the yard.
Another type of damage which stems from these burrows is caused from predatory animals which will dig looking for food. Raccoon, skunk and armadillo will regularly dig into turf causing even more of a mess as well as additional damage. Remember, humans are not the only animal which enjoy a good crayfish meal.
In summary, crayfish can rapidly multiply leading to populations which the local water environment may not be able to sustain. To keep these numbers in check, there are two things you can do.
NET TRAP CRAYFISH *
If you have a lot of water on your property and need to remove a lot of crayfish rapidly, use some CRAYFISH NET TRAPS. These are relatively inexpensive and very effective at catching a lot of crayfish quickly. Set them out along shore lines with twine leads for quick removal. Feeding crayfish are easy to catch and will readily come onto these offerings. But in heavily populated waterways, you only have to set the trap in the water and within hours these nets could have several on top ready to be removed.
CRAYFISH LAWN REPELLENT *
If you don’t want to kill the crayfish or if you only have a few areas with activity, apply PEST RID GRANULES and PEST RID SPRAY to their castles and the surrounding turf. This food based repellent won’t kill them or any other animal or insect. But crayfish won’t like its “taste” and once the spray saturates the soil, they’ll move away.
For best results, level or remove large castles. Next, apply 1 lb of granules for every 250 sq/ft of area. 1 jug is 2 lbs and can treat up to 500 sq/ft. Renew the granules once a month to keep them away.
Immediately after applying the granules, spray over the top with the PEST RID SPRAY. This is essentially the liquid form of the granules and will motivate the crayfish as you spray. 1 quart will cover up to 125 sq/ft and like the granules, should last up to 30 days.
Now keep in mind this is just a repellent so there is a chance they may relocate to another area in the yard. And if this starts to happen, simply treat the entire area with the granules once a month and spray over the top of any burrows you see developing to keep them away throughout their active season.
Crayfish are a vital food for both fish and animals. If left unchecked, local populations can grow out of hand. Thin, if necessary, with crayfish traps. If you have a large amount of burrows which are causing damage, use Orthene WP to treat. Continue to watch them carefully and take appropriate action as needed to insure a healthy balance of wildlife in and around your pond, lake or stream.
CRAYFISH KILLER *
The strongest option for controlling unwanted crawfish is a powder commonly used for fireants. This product uses orthene for an active which is “stinky” to crawfish and its more repulsive to them compared to the Pest Rid. Generally used to control fire ants, FIRE ANT KILLER is labeled for use in turf by sprinkling it out over ant mounds.
When used this way where crayfish burrows are visible, this same active will take care of unwanted crayfish. The smell is bit like rotting cabbage or rotten eggs. It definitely smells like methane and crawfish will get sick and die from the treatments and learn to stay away and not return where is applied.
To treat, first remove the chimney and then sprinkle 1 tablespoon into their burrow and the surrounding ground. Using it this way will enable you treat around 25 mounds per can. It may take a few days to work but in a week, treated burrows will be crayfish free. And once the yard is clear, you can keep them away by treating once every 60 days. Sprinkle 1 lb out for every 2,000 sq/ft of turf.
CONTACT US *
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