Squirrels have just moved into our neighborhood. Do they harm or eat apples and pears?
If so, what measures can be taken to discourage this?
Yes...they will strip an apple tree if you let them. Pears not so much, at least in my yard.
Last year, I had far more Asian pears than apples. Squirrels were too busy taking a lot of the pears so they left apples alone. I saw it with my eyes, squirrels climbing up my pear trees, taking pears in their mouth and off they went. I have only 3-4 squirrels (I think) but they stripped lots of my pears.
I read many posts on this forum for the past 4 years about how to get rid of squirrels. It seems almost nothing could deter them. Killing seems to be the only sure way that works. I have not had a nerve to kill them yet. Maybe, this is the year!!!
Hopefully, you don't have a groundhog or many birds, too.
Ditto on the Asian pears. Red squirrels took all of mine between June and late August. I literally had Zero at harvest time.
This year, they're going bye bye. Already got a couple with rat traps. I hold a grudge, they caused almost $1000 worth of damage to the ventilation system of my SUV by stuffing it full of walnuts, chewed the wiring under the hood of my parked pickup in the course of one day, and have chewed through my vinyl siding and wall to get into my garage.
What's funny BUT NOT FUNNY is a squirrel taking a fruit, biting into it, spitting it out, and throwing the piece of fruit away. And then repeating the damn process til the tree is stripped.
My apples are usually safe while the squirrels busy themselves with the Kieffer pears. I am happy to sacrifice the Kieffers to this cause, but this year I'm hoping for Honeysweets, which is another matter.
I think it would be fair to say that any tree fruit is game for squirrels. They hit my peach tree HARD last year, while mostly leaving the apples alone, the year before they stripped the apple trees...while both years they never touched my Seckel pears. They haven't found my sweet cherries yet or seem to bother the plums...yet.
They take our apples when they are still small (about golf-ball size) and green. And yes, they take a few bites and drop the rest. And then the deer come and clean them up.
The blasted things like seckel pears. especially when the pears are anout 1" diameter and rock hard. i think they chew on them to grind down their teeth. so for they have left the asian pears and apples alone but they do test the peaches. they leave my apricots alone but my neighbor complains bitterly.
one squirrel wrapped in two strips bacon. an inch of cooking sherry and a cup of brandy in a crock pot.
Then throw away the squirrel and drink the rest.
They took all my seckel pears last year also, well before they were ready. I found a lot of the pears in the yard with a little nibble taken.
The deer strip my peaches. The catbirds like my cherries, the chipmunks fancy the blueberries. The racoons like the plums and last year I found out groundhogs not only love strawberries, but can indeed climb fruit trees. I have not had one squirrel caught in my fruits. go figure.
Thankss everyone. It sounds like we are in for a battle with the critters.
denninmi, what type of rat traps are you going to use? I see some "single door rigid live traps which are cages for catching mice, rats and squirrels" listed on eBay.
on the ground near the trees?
We put ziploc bags on with the bottom cut out or foot sox, available at Home ORchard Society. Squirrels eat very few of these.
I use those havahart type traps..the smaller ones. They work great if you use the right bait. Last year I used nuts (walnuts, pecans) and would wedge them into the mesh of the trap and that worked great.
I'd recommend a Kania trap with sunflower seed.
Time to take back your yard!
They are evil! Last year they got around the four baffels on my peach tree then chewed thru the hardware bags I had tied to a couple hundred peaches 2 weeks before ripening. They ate thru four or five hundred ziplok bags on my plum and apple trees. They also ate all of the bartlett, half of the keiffers and most of my Asian pears. It is very frustrating year after year after year. Tree rats won't share.
Baffles are the only thing I've found to stop them, it's discouraging to see they can get around them.
Has anyone tried any of these:
1. electric fence http://squirrel-x.com/electricfences.htm#electric
2. Critter repellant http://squirrel-x.com/repellent.htm#shake
3. Homemade repellant: Mix one pkg. egg yoke egg beaters with a gallon of water and spray everything with it.
I'm going to anchor some expanded trigger rat traps in my trees if I can find them. This type of trap also works well for mice. Squirrels are harvesting my apricots and strawberries long before they are ripe. Unfortunately if we are too successful they will be declared endangered and untouchable.
One thing to consider is the species of squirrel. I find that the grays are the worst offenders. They seem to be pushing out the fox squirrels, here.
Squirrels make for very nice pelts, although they tend to be rather greasy and gamey tasting...
...what? If you're going to kill 'em, don't waste the good parts!
They also eat green sweet cherries, and let the stems fall on my head.