Wednesday, March 15, 2017

3 Reasons Your Ground Squirrel Control Isn't Working

Getting rid of ground squirrel infestations can be challenging. From researching the best control methods to purchasing and implementing - there's room for error.

1 - Rodent Misidentification

For example, if you put up an owl box thinking it will eliminate ground squirrel or prairie dog problems, you will be disappointed. 
  • Ground Squirrels & Prairie Dogs are diurnal - most active during the day.
  • Gophers are nocturnal - most active at night.
  • Owl boxes are a good solution for gophers and mice because they attract owls and owls hunt at night when the gophers and mice are out.
Use the Burrow Blocker to control Ground Squirrels
Owl Box Used to Control Gophers & Mice Over-populations

2.  Didn't Follow Instructions

It's the middle of a hot summer day and you correctly identified the rodent pests as ground squirrels. You activated a gas cartridge and tossed it in one of their holes, covered it with dirt, and walked away assuming the problem is solved. 

Checked back a few hours later...

The Result:
Burrow Blocker Ground Squirrel Control

  • Gas cartridges are not the best solution on a hot summer day. The gas can dissipate through the dry soil, diluting the concentration and making it ineffective.
  • Covering only one hole of the ground squirrels' burrow system, allows the gas to escape and allows place for the ground squirrel to avoid the gas.
  • For best results, follow the gas cartridge instructions and review:  University California - Ground Squirrel Best Management Practices - Fumigation

3.  No Follow-up Treatments  

You correctly identified the burrowing rodents as ground squirrels, and properly used a recognized control method, one time. 

One time of doing almost anything and anticipating perfect results, is considered fairly unrealistic. What if the ground squirrels were visiting a neighboring field or maybe even having lunch on a tire?
Burrow Blocker Ground Squirrel & Prairie Dog Control
Clark sent me this photo. We met when I spoke at the San Jose PAPA Seminar last December. 

  • For best results, reapply the treatment as directed by the operating instructions or label.
  • Observe the surrounding area. If the neighboring properties have ground squirrel over-populations, expect continued follow-up treatments to control the re-infestation.
  • Pay attention to the ground squirrels' environment. At times, they live in one area and feed in another. If they are living on the other side of the fence, coordinate ground squirrel control with the neighbor.
A quick summary - pay attention, follow instructions, be aware of environmental factors, follow-up treatments are key, and adapt as needed.

Let me know if there's anything you'd add or if you have questions.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Love Horses? Keep them Safe!

Are you a horse lover, like me? Some people have work horses, we have cuddle horses. We affectionately call them our pasture ornaments. They were the inspiration for our Burrow Blocker machine. 

Burrow Blocker Ground Squirrel & Prairie Dog Control
Casino & Windward

As horse lovers, we enjoy seeing our horses happy. One of the most exciting sights is watching horses race across a pasture. The excitement can soon turn to terror when you see the field riddled with ground squirrel or prairie dog holes.

People have said to me, "My horse is too smart to ever get hurt in a ground squirrel hole!" I sure wish that were true. I've talked with too many people that have lost their horse due to a nasty ground squirrel or prairie dog hole. Last year, I even had a call from a guy in Colorado who had broken his own leg when his horse tripped in a prairie dog hole.

Green Burrow Solutions - Prairie Dog Control - Colorado
Green Burrow Solutions in Colorado

Peter Anderson with Green Burrow Solutions, uses the Burrow Blocker to control prairie dog populations and get rid of the their holes in Colorado. 

Green Burrow Solutions - Colorado Prairie Dog Control

Keep your horses safe. Get ground squirrel and prairie dog populations under control and fill their holes to prevent injuries.

Contact me, if you want to talk about horses or how you can keep them safe.

    Lisa & Sedona

Monday, January 16, 2017

Do I Need a License to Get Rid of Ground Squirrels?

Ground Squirrels are often thought of as a pest like a mouse or rat. Each state has different regulations regarding ground squirrel control. If you are treating your own property, most do not require a license. Before you start, check with your local Agricultural Commissioner or County Offices to see if you need a pest control license in your state.

The California Fish and Game Commission classifies Tree Squirrels as a game animal and Ground Squirrels as a nongame animal. A property owner or tenant can control in any legal manner, nongame animals that are damaging property or injuring growing crops. Game animals, like the tree squirrel have a hunting season and a license may be required.

California Fish and Game Commission - Hunting Tree Squirrels and Trapping Ground Squirrels

California Department of Pest Regulation - If you are providing ground squirrel control service for hire or profit, in California, you need a qualified applicators license (QAL).  Ground Squirrels Pest Control

Before using any method of ground squirrel control, check with your local State Department of Agriculture or County Agriculture Advisor to learn about your local protected animals, how to identify them and their habitat, and how to protect them when you are treating for ground squirrels.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.

Burrow Blocker
(925) 634-9204

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Merry Squirrelly Christmas!

According to the Urban dictionary, squirrelly is defined as bizarre characteristics that cannot be explained;  deliberate, wack spazzy strangeness. While reading that, a friend or loved one probably comes to mind. When I read that, I think of actual squirrels - the rodent critter that exhibits that squirrelly behavior.

A squirrelly example this Christmas season is the colorfully lit trees on Boston Common's unusual outages. Who is destroying the festive mood of the beautiful lights? Squirrels! The Boston Globe shed light on this squirrelly darkness. Tree squirrels are nibbling and chewing through the electrical wires of the Christmas lights. For example, on one 47' Christmas tree, specially delivered from Nova Scotia, half of the lights were out. One theory of this strangeness, is that like some thieves, the squirrels love the copper wire.  The city park officials have contracted a professional to tackle the problem by using a deterrent, Critter Gitter, that consists of hot peppers. The project manager for the beautifully lighted park, Jamie McGrath, was asked why the squirrels keep going after the colorful lights, he laughed and said: "I don't know. You're going to have to ask the squirrels." Good answer Mr. McGrath!

Have you ever seen any unusual squirrel behavior? Sometimes people call me confused because they think a tree squirrel is digging and acting too much like a ground squirrel. I have to remind them that tree squirrels bury their nuts underground and ground squirrels will also climb trees and strip new trees of their bark. Like the Boston tree light destroying tree squirrels, ground squirrels never seem to pass up an opportunity to chew wiring but they seem to be especially attracted to the wiring used in solar paneling and fields. Don't let dealing with these crazy making critters make your squirrelly! Be smart and safe - and stay green!

Wishing you a colorful and brightly lit, not too squirrelly Christmas!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Home Remedies for Ground Squirrels

People like to share with me their "Do It Yourself" Remedies for Ground Squirrels. Here are a few that I've recently heard. I can't guarantee if they work, but they're at least creative!

Home Remedies for Ground Squirrels & Prairie Dogs

GUM - Not ordinary gum, but Bazooka Bubble Gum. You know, the hard squares of gum that as a kid almost broke your jaw on the first bite? 

Once a week, this guy's neighbor puts 1 square of Bazooka gum in every ground squirrel hole on his property. He has almost 100 holes, so I doubt if he takes the time to read the comics wrapping each gum square. The neighbor says it works well at eliminating the young ones because they can't digest the gum. According to an expert, Jim Knight, a Montana State Extension Wildlife Specialist. "Bubble gum might sometimes clog a ground squirrel's intestines or burst its stomach, but no one has conducted scientific studies on its overall effectiveness. It's hardly cheap," he said.

Does it work? Not sure
The guy who told me about his neighbor using gum couldn't have much faith in it, because he purchased a Burrow Blocker 2500. Other people I have talked with say Juicy Fruit gum has worked for them, but they still have a ground squirrel problem.

STATUES OF PREDATORS - Place statues of coyotes and dogs in the ground squirrel infested area.

The idea behind this one is that ground squirrels will run from animals that want to eat them for dinner. No one has said how many statues to put out or if they should be life-like.

Does it work? Doubtful
Ground squirrels that live on the same property as dogs don't run and hide until the dog gets close. Chances are, the squirrel can probably tell if the predator is a fake or a real threat. A city park in my area tried statues to keep the geese away. A park manager told me that one morning, he saw a few geese cuddling up to the statue.

URINE - Spray urine around burrow entrances.

No photo available. You're welcome. ;)

You can purchase coyote urine in a spray or granule formula. Last week, a lady told me that they have been so desperate to get rid of the ground squirrels that are digging under their big oak tree, that her husband has been peeing around every hole. 

Does it work? Maybe for a little while.
From what I've heard, the coyote urine needs to be reapplied every few days and it may seem to work for a little while, but in less than a week, the ground squirrels start digging again. How did it go for the lady with her husband trying to personally deter the ground squirrels? Well, she called me looking for help and we had a good laugh about her husband's dedication to getting rid of their squirrels. Guys will use any excuse to go outside! 

Let me know if you've tried any home remedies to get rid of your ground squirrel problems.

If you are in the Madera, California area and need continuing education units, I'll be talking about ground squirrels at the Madera County Agriculture Office this Monday, 11/14/16. Call or email me for more info.

(925) 634-9204

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Is That Athletic Field Safe?

Kids are encouraged to go outside and play! Play soccer, football, softball or even a game of tag! Before running on that field, we need to ask, "Is it safe?"

Can you spot the ground squirrel hole?

Burrow Blocker Ground Squirrel Control
Add caption

Ground squirrel or prairie dog holes can make running across a field, a dangerous game.

Kids have broken or sprained their ankles, and even broken their legs in ground squirrel/prairie dog holes.

Burrow Blocker - Ground Squirrel Control - Fills the holes

Imagine playing soccer on this field...keep your eye on the ball and watch for holes! Soccer tournaments and other athletic events have been cancelled on school fields because the officials refused to allow the kids to play under such dangerous conditions.
Burrow Blocker - Prairie Dog and Ground Squirrel Control - Fills holes

The Burrow Blocker is the one-step effective green method that many schools, universities, cities and counties, use to eliminate ground squirrels/prairie dogs and their holes. Check with your local schools and parks to make sure they are doing their part to prevent injuries on their fields.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Do Not Feed The Ground Squirrels

Even if they look cute and furry,

From the Grand Canyon - National Park Service

But the squirrel likes me! It ran right up to me and begged...

The squirrel looked hungry...

The signs are for other people - not me.

It's okay, I know what to feed them.

Squirrels know how to read?
In an attempt to get park visitors to read the warning sign and take it seriously, the above park went to extreme measures - the sign was written to the animals.

"Oh the ground squirrel is so cute," is not a good reason to feed it. Some "people" food can be toxic to animals and they can become dependent upon food from humans. This can lead to aggression and attacking people to get food.

Do you know what animals is considered the most dangerous animal in Grand Canyon National Park? The rock squirrel. Every year, dozens of visitors are bitten when they attempt to feed these squirrels. By the way, it is illegal to feed the animals at National Parks.

The bottom line...obey the signs.

Be safe & have fun outside!