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Showing posts from 2017

Why Aren't the Ground Squirrels Hibernating?

What happened to ground squirrels hibernating? We've all heard and maybe even read that California ground squirrels hibernate in the winter. Lately, it looks like the ground squirrels didn't get the memo to go underground and take a hiatus from their daily digging and destruction. Makes me wonder if those jittery squirrels discovered the magical powers of coffee?
In Southern California, caffeine isn't the reason for all of ground squirrel activity - December is the beginning of mating season. That means, unless you do something about all of those ground squirrels, soon you'll have even more of the them to deal with. 
Ground squirrels are out in the winter for different reasons. In higher elevations and colder areas, they are more likely to hibernate. In Northern California, the male ground squirrels, hibernate a month earlier than the females and young. They also wake up a month earlier. When the weather is warm like it has been, they postpone and sometimes even avoid hib…

Ground Squirrel Damage

What kind of damage do ground squirrels' chewing and digging cause?
1.  Destroy Irrigation Ground Squirrel Water Fountains make for a costly and time consuming day. Whether they are thirsty or just like to to chew, either way ground squirrels wreak havoc on irrigation systems. Water is wasted, erosion occurs and the trees or crops don't get the water they need to grow.

2.   Holes...lots of holes. Mention ground squirrel damage and that's the first thing people complain about - holes. It goes far beyond messing up landscaping, which is also a costly problem. Holes are a safety hazard and a liability at parks, farms, and schools. 

3.  Erosion/Levy Safety Issues Ground squirrels digging along canals and levies are a disaster waiting to happen. Their burrows can divert irrigation water and have been known to cause severe damage to levies and other water retention systems. Add heavy rains to burrow systems and the erosion can result in hill slides, serious root erosion in orchards an…

1 Easy Way to Identify What Lives in a Hole

Property riddled with holes? Thinking of shoveling a scoop of dirt in each hole is the answer? Think again. 

Know what inhabits the hole before attempting to destroy it. Digging away like Pepper in the above video, is what not to do. Start by educating yourself on the endangered and protected animals in your area. Check with your local Agricultural Commissioner's Office and for helpful info, read my blog post: "What Lives in that Hole?"

Still Not Sure What's in that Hole? 
1 Easy Way to Find Out is to Set Up a Video Camera!
Last month, Mike and Daniel provided Burrow Blocker ground squirrel control service at a solar field in the Central Valley of California. They saw a large hole, possibly a den and wanted to verify the inhabitants before filling it with slurry from the Burrow Blocker machine.

Mike and Daniel thought it might be a coyote den, so they set up a motion-activated video camera to. Check out the results:

Did you see the wily predator? The Burrow Blocker guys ha…

4 Reasons Hay Farmers Hate Ground Squirrels

For Hay Growers, ground squirrels and prairie dogs impose frustrating, costly, and dangerous situations. Here are 4 reasons that make nice farmers hate ground squirrels:
1.  A Bumper Crop of Ground Squirrels is Not the Goal Have you ever heard of anyone with a ground squirrel farm? There are too many farms that look like they are raising burrowing rodents. Predators like hawks, snakes and coyotes might think it's a good idea for a restaurant, but farmers don't have a use for them. If the area predators can't keep them under control, over-populations of ground squirrels and prairie dogs mean lots of hungry rodents devouring the hay. Besides eating away profits, these rodents pose a health risk to humans through the spread of disease, such as the plague.

2.  Ground Squirrel Mounds Dull the Cutting Blades
When ground squirrels and prairie dogs dig burrows, they bring soil and rock to the surface. The end result is mounds of dirt near the burrow openings. The longer they live in …

Rodent Holes Lead to Injuries & Liability

Can you spot the ground squirrel hole? Ground squirrel and prairie dog holes can make walking or running across a field, a dangerous game. 

Adults and children have sprained and even broken their ankles in ground squirrel and prairie dog holes.

Imagine playing soccer on this field...keep your eye on the ball and watch for holes! Soccer tournaments, baseball games, and other athletic events have been cancelled on school fields because the officials refused to allow their athletes to play under such dangerous conditions. It's much more than a financial liability,
it's an obligation to keep playing fields safe.

Burrow Blocker is the one-step effective green method that safety-minded schools, universities, cities, counties, businesses, and ranchers use to eliminate ground squirrels, prairie dogs, and their holes.  CREATE AN IPM PLAN TO STOP

Lisa can help you - call (925) 634-9204. Burrow Blocker fills ground squirrel holes with slurry of sand and water. Start with a hole an…

The Facts of Life - Ground Squirrel Edition

Let's talk about sex...ground squirrel reproduction that is. 

The ground squirrel mating style is officially called: polygynandrous. That means they are promiscuous litter critters that mate with up to 4 others. 

In California, breeding season runs from December - April. The further south, the sooner the ground squirrels start breeding. After 25-30 days gestation, the female has a litter of 1-15. Yes, you read it right...up to 15 ground squirrels! Fortunately for us and the female, they usually have 7-8 and only one litter per year.
Now is the time to prepare for the new wave of destructive diggers. After 6 weeks of growing up in their burrow, the litters are starting to emerge from their nests. 

Young Ground Squirrels begin to burrow as early as 8 weeks.

The young look like miniature lighter colored versions of the adults. They stay near the nest until about 6 months of age. Then young ground squirrels will move into old abandoned burrows or scatter off to new territory. Ground squirr…

Ground Squirrel Killing Day

Winning 2nd place in the California's Children's Squirrel Killing Contest, with 104,509 Ground Squirrel Tails, was the Davis Creek Grammar School! The school was awarded a $30 prize. There is no mention of the name of the 1st place winner or how many squirrel tails that school's children collected.

Besides school ground squirrel killing contests, there was actually such a thing as Ground Squirrel Killing Day. The Board of Supervisors in Modoc County, California, designated June 9, 1918 as county Ground Squirrel Killing Day. Every man, woman, and child was expected to spend the entire day getting rid of those destructive pests. 

All of this surprising information was found in the June 3, 1918, Modoc County Record. That was 99 years ago and times have changed. Although, not as quickly as one would imagine. Animal killing contests were banned in California in 2014.

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.
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:

Gas cartridges are not the best solution on a hot summer day. The gas can dissipate through the…

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. 

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
Burrow Blocker

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