- GROUND SQUIRREL BIOLOGY
- GROUND SQUIRREL PROBLEMS
- DISEASE RELATED TO GROUND SQUIRRELS
- GROUND SQUIRREL REPELLENT
- PREDATOR URINE TO REPEL GROUND SQUIRRELS
- BEST GROUND SQUIRREL REPELLENT SPRAY
- INSTALL SOUND REPELLERS ALONG PROPERTY BORDERS
- ABOVE GROUND SQUIRREL REPELLER
- LOW PROFILE SOUND REPELLERS
- GAS STICKS FOR GROUND SQUIRRELS
- HOW TO TRAP GROUND SQUIRRELS
- BEST KILL TRAPS FOR GROUND SQUIRREL
- CONTACT US
Though most people think of squirrels as animals which live in trees, there are several species throughout the United States which reside in the ground. These are close relatives of the grey and flying squirrels which populate much of the country. The more common species include the Thirteen Lined, the Belding’s, the California, the Rock, the Franklin, the Richardson, the Columbian, the Washington and the Townsend.
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GROUND SQUIRREL BIOLOGY ^
Ground squirrels, as their name implies, have chosen to live underground and though they can still climb trees quite well, they don’t live in trees.
Ground squirrels can become a problem in the yard and around the home when their burrows lead to flooding. Their presence brings fleas and other insects or even worse, the transmission of disease. Ground squirrels will readily eat garden fruit and vegetables as well as nuts and flowers. If left alone, they will quickly populate to levels which can cause mass destruction in little time. They will even move into our homes if given the chance. This article will detail some of the more common species and then explain how you can control local populations.
MANY SPECIES OF GROUND SQUIRRELS ^
The California ground squirrel is limited in it’s range to mostly the west coast from the state of Washington down to Mexico. They like flat grasslands as opposed to forests but will live close to trees if they have to. They don’t need much water and will readily feed upon any green vegetation including flowers, fruits and plants. They will also eat nuts and seeds. They live in burrows they dig and will occupy these burrows year after year. They have litters which have 7-10 young once a year. They live 3-5 years on average.
The Belding’s ground squirrel has a much more limited range extending throughout 5-6 states including California, Nevada, Oregon and Idaho. They too avoid forests preferring meadow-lands close to farms growing wheat and alfalfa. Though they will feed on seeds and nuts, they will tend to stick with green leafy plants and fruits when they can find ample supplies. The Belding also loves flowers. They will produce litters of 6-8 on average once a year and will live slightly longer than the California squirrel.
The Rock squirrel has a huge range extending from part of California through Arizona into Texas, Colorado and Nevada as well as Utah. As their name implies, they like to reside in rocky areas. This has enabled them to adjust well to roadside rock walls, fences and man made ditches. Though they too will eat plants as a staple, Rock squirrels love nuts, seed and fruit and will readily feed on them when available. They average 3-5 young per litter per year and will live 4-6 years on average.
The Thirteen Lined ground squirrel is probably the most mis-identified ground squirrel often mistaken for chipmunk and gophers. It resides throughout most of the great plain states all the way from Texas to Pennsylvania to Canada. These ground squirrels will eat just about anything including insects, mice, earthworms, small birds, other Thirteen Lined squirrels, seeds, nuts, vegetables, fruit and flowers. They will produce over 10 young per litter once a year and will live a few years on average.
The Franklin ground squirrel resides in several of the mid western states from the middle of the country up to Canada. They will eat a lot of insects and small animals when available but rely mostly on plants, flowers, fruits and vegetables. They will change to seeds and nuts later in the year when available. Their litters can have 1-10 young and they only live a few years.
The Townsend has a range much like that of the Belding and relies on plants, fruits, vegetables and seeds for food. They have litters and life expectancies like the Franklin squirrel as well.
The Richardson, Columbian and Washington ground squirrels all reside in the northwest part of the country and like the Townsend, rely more on flowers, plant stems, fruit and seed for diet. They will eat nuts and grains when available and have one litter a year with as little as 2 or as many as 15 young. They only live a few years on average but because they can reproduce quickly a few can turn to 30-40 in a year.
GROUND SQUIRREL PROBLEMS ^
Most all ground squirrels look different and may reside in different regions of the United States. But they all behave in similar fashions, they all like urban environments and they can all cause damage to our plants and structures. Ground squirrels who want to live on your property will first have to dig burrows to nest. They may try to take advantage of old abandoned burrows but they’re good diggers and will quickly construct a network of tunnels. These tunnels will undermine cement slabs and foundations as well as present hazards to people and animals.
DISEASE RELATED TO GROUND SQUIRRELS
Ground squirrel activity will inevitably bring insects like fleas along with several diseases and virus all of which present a hazard to people. In recent years, black plague has been linked to animals like prairie dogs and animals like gophers and ground squirrels are almost assuredly helping spread this deadly disease indirectly.
GROUND SQUIRRELS LOVE GARDENS! ^
Ground squirrels will eat just about any ornamental flower or plant and since they love fruits and vegetables, most gardens will become a favorite feeding station once found. Since they like to live close to where they eat, once they start feeding in your yard they will colonize. This colonization can lead to some foraging into your home.
It’s for this reason that you should try to keep them off your property and once you find activity, take necessary action to remove all animals. The author will now list methods and products that can be used to repel ground squirrels from your yard to prevent local infestations. If you already have activity, there will be control options listed including poisoning, live trapping and kill trapping.
If you reside in a region which has ground squirrel activity, you must make note of surrounding land. Look for pockets of ground squirrels and some are present, expect them to move onto your land if left unprotected. If you know of people in the neighborhood who have had problems with these animals, make mental notes of where and when these problems were active. If neighbors immediately adjacent to your property have active ground squirrels or if your land adjoins fields where ground squirrels are present, you should start implementing some of the repellent treatments to make sure none move onto your land. Such repellents work well for this application.
GROUND SQUIRREL REPELLENT ^
Ground squirrels can be repelled and kept off you land using one of the repellents listed below. In general, the best approach is to line your property with either the scent or the sound. This will create a “fence” of sorts they will not want to cross. The “scent” will have to be renewed every 30-60 days but the sound device will last as long as the unit is active.
PREDATOR URINE TO REPEL GROUND SQUIRRELS ^
The first line of defense you can deploy is the use of COYOTE URINE . Coyotes are a natural predator of ground squirrels and for that reason, the urine scent will alarms them and make them feel uncomfortable. Use it along property lines, fence rows and pathways. Make placements of 1-2 ounces every 10-20 feet or more if needed. Though rain will break down the scent, ground squirrels are sensitive to this odor and will notice even trace amounts.
By itself, placements can be made directly to the ground. The net effect will be to create an invisible “fence”. Simply sprinkle the urine along entry borders using 1-2 oz per 10-20 feet. Plan on renewing the application every 30 days or as needed.
Most applications will last 1 month but if you want longer lasting residual, install LIQUID/GRANULE GUARDS. These are plastic holding reservoirs which can hold a few ounces of urine and protect it from the rain and sun. This protection will enable your placements to last at least twice as long before retreatments will be needed.
These holders blend into the landscape and will pay for themselves over time.
The use of Urine down exiting burrows or dens is not suggested unless you are sure the animals have been removed (see details on how to remove them below). In other words, applying urine to active burrows will not chase them away. Only after you have successfully removed the ones which live there should the old borrows be sprayed. At that time the urine odor will keep away new animals from moving in to take advantage of the vacated home.
We also know the use of urine will not be effective when there is a food source they’re targeting like a bird feeder or vegetable garden. The lure and need for food is so strong, scented repellents are not enough of a repellent to keep them away. So if you have food attracting them, you’ll need to use one of our sound repellers listed below.
We offer two types of urine guards. The first one gets “staked” to the ground and holds the urine up top. The cover is easy to remove and once urine is placed inside, seal it back up and place the stake in the ground. Placements of the guards should be every 8-10 feet in areas with high activity.
A more “discreet” way to apply the urine is with CAPSULE GUARDS. These hold a little less than an ounce and are applied by pushing them into the ground. The guards will slowly release the urine like the larger guards above. The net result will be 60+ days of protection instead of a month or less.
In some areas, BOBCAT URINE might be a better option.
BEST GROUND SQUIRREL REPELLENT SPRAY ^
We also have another liquid repellent better suited for treating non-edible plants. Urine sprayed on plants can be damaging since its highly acidic. But PEST RID SPRAY can be used on fences, trees, shrubs, bushes, flowers and more ground squirrels fine attractive.
Where applied, Pest Rid will immediately cause the squirrels to forage elsewhere. Like the urine, applications will last 1-2 months under normal conditions.
The quart will cover 125 sq/ft; gallons will treat up to 500 sq/ft.
INSTALL SOUND REPELLERS ALONG PROPERTY BORDERS ^
Another effective way to keep ground squirrels out of the yard is to install some of our sound repelling devices. We feature two types; one for above ground, long distance coverage and the other is a “ground stake” low profile design.
ABOVE GROUND SQUIRREL REPELLER ^
For protection over large areas where ground squirrels can come from different angles, our ABOVE GROUND SOUND REPELLERS are the way to go. These units are very effective on ground squirrels to the extent that they can actually chase away animals already living in the yard.
This repeller is unique in that it uses ultra sound by default which is usually generally enough to ground squirrels away. But it also has a predatory animal audible sound you control. This sound can be turned up or down as needed. This sound alone will be enough to scare them away instantly.
Refer to our product page for more details on this equipment since it has too many options to list. But here is a quick summary of why this unit is a good option for ground squirrels.
- It uses ultra sound to repel animals and ground squirrels do not like this sound.
- It has a wireless remote control so you can turn the machine off/on as needed in case you need to use the area where its deployed.
- It has a daytime only setting, a night time only setting or a 24 hour a day setting. For ground squirrels, it should be on during the day.
- It has the optional audible sound setting.
- It includes an AC power supply so if you can run it the device by plugging it into a power outlet, you can let the machine run constantly which will allow it to effectively control a huge area during the day. Using it this will give you coverage up to 70-80 feet away covering up to 4,000 sq/ft in the process.
- It can also be powered by batteries which can last several months. But using it this way means you will need to have it activate via the motion detector only or else the batteries will run out after a few days if you leave it “always on”.
Plan on protecting your property by positioning these along property lines and borders where ground squirrels might enter.Units should be placed 1-2 feet above ground and pointed in the direction where animals are entering as well as “over” the turf you want to protect.
For easy installation, MOUNTING BLOCKS are handy. They can accept 1 or 2 repellers (picture to the right) and have a 1/2″ hole on their bottom so they will easily fit over a 1/2″ piece of rebar or any other wood or plastic stake. Ultra Sound Repellers will work fine by themselves as long as you have a good place to set them up. But we highly recommend getting the Units with Mounting Blocks in the kits we offer. Mounting Blocks allow you to place units anywhere and they will save time too.