Squirrels took apples in bags

mamuang_gwAugust 8, 2012


Just want to confirm that some of us have already known. Squirrels did take all 9 William's Pride, bags and all. In fact, they left a few plastic bags behind for me!!!

The apples were almost ripe when I went on a week vacation. I picked one before I left. I should have picked them all then.

I have read all about how to get rid of squirrels in this forum. I try not to kill them for a few reasons including my daughter begging me not to. Maybe, if they go after the peaches (not ripe yet) and Asian pears (again), I may get upset enough to get rid of them.

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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

Well, how very thoughtful of them to at least leave you a few bags. Not. Mamuang, get out the gun. Or traps or poison bait. You work too hard and paid too much for those trees to feed a bunch of rats with bushy tails. Time to teach your daughter what a squirrel really is - just another rodent that is a pest and is ruining your lovely fruit crop.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 9:39PM
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megamav(5a - NY)

Go Patty! Blast those suckers!

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 12:08AM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

I chased a squirrel out of an apple tree today with a shovel. I almost had him... I even took a swing as he started climbing the telephone pole...

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 12:37AM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

Meg, if you saw the property behind my fence, you'd get your gun out, too :-) I live adjacent to an abandoned orange orchard that is so full of ground squirrel holes, you can't walk back there without breaking an ankle. My weapon of choice actually is poison bait. I don't have enough bullets. Seriously though, trying to keep my rodent population down low enough so I can get at least 1/2 my fruit is a daunting task where I live. Between rabbits, roof rats and ground squirrels, I can barely stay ahead of them. That, and snails. We have plenty of predators, too, but not enough of them to keep the rodents out of my trees. It's very frustrating to put in all the time, effort, and money, only to end up feeding a bunch of rodents. California is a great place to grow stuff, but everyone else thinks so, too, so we're constantly battling the rodent issue, here.

Gosh, Frank, you must be wicked fast! I run every morning, but I don't think I could run fast enough to catch a squirrel!

Patty S.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 1:17AM
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alan haigh

I tried the Just One Bite but my squirrels won't bite. I put them in plastic bags to discourage birds from eating them. I used plastic gloves to avoid too much human scent. The bait just sits there while fruit disappears.

I've found that they sometimes jump over 4' to avoid baffles and 5' may be the requirement for grey squirrels that are very hungry.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 5:38AM
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Bring back falconry.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 8:00AM
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Noogy(6 sw mi)

Since you're not in Florida consider another biological approach.
1. Buy python
2. Put in tree

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 8:40AM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

Another option is to invest in a wolf...or if you aren't comfortable handling a wolf, invest in a coyote...

I'm pretty fast when there is a bushy tailed rat trying to steal my nearly ripe apples.

Squirrels are probably my most annoying pest.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 8:55AM
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Thank you for all your advice and sympathy. I live in a "densely populated" area in a suburb. There are too many neighbors close by.

Personally, I like the idea of using a python but don't think the town will allow it (in addition to having my neighbor calling the police). I used fox/coyote's urine last year. I think the squirrels were laughing at it while running pass it to the trees.

Also, I am neither fast nor accurate (in case I decide to use a BB gun).

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 9:13AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Get some Kania traps. Search here for some instructions I posted on how to best bait them. Re-bait them every evening in peak pressure periods. Kiss your squirrel problem goodbye.

My three kids are also very unhappy and occasionally get upset about the dead squirrel hanging in that tree, but we pretty much reached a truce that I don't talk about it and they don't bring it up.


    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 9:28AM
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I've had nonlethal traps set for the squirrels for the last couple of weeks, since they've been ravaging the corn in my garden. I have them baited with fruit, peanutbutter and corn, and they don't bite.

When not into the corn, they're hitting the pears. If they were just into the Kieffers, I wouldn't mind, but no, they're taking the bagged Honeysweets.

Looking into pellet gun that has enough air power. The varmints are so arrogant that even I can get close enough to hit them.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 9:46AM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

We are surrounded by native woods, and the woods are(or were) full of rats. Last year I was disabled and the rats got every single fruit from twenty trees. This year I am baiting and have used 120 lbs so far. My trees are full of fruit getting ripe. Two buzzards have taken up roosts in my woods to feast on the regular kill. Al

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 9:50AM
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ltilton... Look at the Beeman X2/Grizzly/RS2 or whatever they are called at the moment. they are 117$ at Walmart. They are awesome for an inexpensive rifle.
Use the .22 barrel and they don't stand a chance.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 10:38AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

ltilton, get a Kania trap and mount it on a wood (grippy) pole 5' off the ground. Bait it with pecans and put a few pecan fragments right at the trap entrance as well as a few on the ground below. Have the pole stuck in the ground right by where the squirrels are causing trouble. They will at some point get bored with the corn and check out your nuts .. WHAM.

Squirrels are more likely to put just their heads in a box than to step their full bodies into a live trap. That is why the Kania traps work better. Note they are still not perfect, I have lost quite a bit of fruit this year because I was not paying close enough attention.


    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 1:55PM
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austransplant(MD 7)

If you live in the suburbs, as I do, and prefer not to use lethal traps (which are illegal in many areas), your only option, I have found, is to net the tree. If there are not nearby trees from which the squirrels can jump from into your tree, it is not necessary to net the whole tree. I have found that netting the bottom part up to about 7' high seems to work ok. Netting is a pain though, in large part because of the low quality netting available and the unhelpful sizes it is sold in. In Australia, where parrots will strip any unnetted fruit tree, it is much easier to get high quality netting in large sizes that will cover a tree easily. Here I have to cobble together the black netting with clothes pins, but it works reasonably well.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 5:54PM
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The squirrels easily ripped open my netted plum tree and stripped the fruit.

My crafty plan with the traps was to lure them into a sense of security with a trap that wouldn't spring. They went into that one readily enough, but not the ones set to spring shut on them.

I'm afraid that a lethal trap deployed in the open like the Kania might catch the attention of authorities. Such are illegal here.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 7:58PM
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A mental picture of a squirrel killed by Kania trap seems quite gruesome esp. if my daughter saw it before I did!!

I may go with baiting (and pray that they go and die somewhere else). I'll continue to contemplate ways to get rid of them. Again, thanks for all the advice.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 9:05PM
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Scott has posted photos of the Kania traps in action.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 9:37PM
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megamav(5a - NY)

I own a .22 Benjamin Trail NP XL 1100.
Shoots non-lead pellets 1100 FPS and medium grain lead pellets around 950 FPS. Rifle has a nice baffle on it, you can barely hear it fire. Its hefty though, about 10 lbs, and a break barrel. Sales run around $240

I have yet to shoot a squirrel with it, but im sure it lethal. It shoots thru plywood.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 1:33AM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

I agree, get a Kania. I looked into the tube traps but the spring did not seem strong enough. The Kania has a powerful spring that has instant success.

I really hated the idea of the lethal part, but I found that it's not any different than a mouse trap. When they are caught there is nothing gruesome about it; it's quick and clean.

One you start seeing fewer and fewer squirrels around you will know it was worth it.

I live in an urban neighborhood and I put my trap about 5 feet up a 4x4 cedar post. Once they are caught they blend in with the color of the fence and it's not really too noticeable. I did ask each of my adjoining neighbors how they would feel about it and all of the wished me the best of luck. One of them even trapped and shot them once he knew how I felt about it.

Spread some peanut butter on the top and underneath on the post to lure them in, then make sure there is some inside as well. I found several Youtube videos showing how to set it. It's really easy.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 2:06AM
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jbclem(z9b Topanga, Ca)

I've been catching squirrels in my Havahart traps, for about 5 years. I'm now seeing periods of 2-3 months without squirrels. But somehow all the peaches on my 7 young trees disappeared this year. I was late in placing the Havahart traps under the trees with ripening fruit, and squirrels will eat the fruit weeks before we're ready to pick them. Last year I had all the peaches on one young tree, but that's because I caught 8 squirrels, in a two week period, in a trap right under the tree. I didn't do that on the tree next to it, and didn't get even one peach.

I've tried lots of other tricks, even dusting the fruit with cayenne pepper powder. I've put netting bags, paper bags, and even metal screen bags around fruit on trees...that just makes the damage worse because the squirrels grab the bags and break the small branches that are holding the fruit. On a young tree that can really mess up the tree, especially if those are fruit spurs being ripped off the branch.

Even though it probably would be satisfying to spend hours and hours waiting for a squirrel and then finally shoot it right between the eyes (assuming you didn't miss and the bullet didn't penetrate the neighbor's plywood wall), that's not my game and anyway I've never been able to figure out a squirrel's daily meal schedule.

As far as poison baits go, I've been to lectures and seen photos of what happens to the local wildlife. You don't think those dead poisoned squirrels are going to compost themselves right into the ground, do you? Around here, bobcats and coyotes eat them(and also rats), then their immune systems are so weakened by the poison that they develop really bad mange. If that doesn't kill them, in a few weeks they stagger onto a freeway, or highway, and get smacked. And we have red-tail hawks, maybe even hovering hawks, and some great hoot owls that I listen to every night. I'm guessing they like a poisoned squirrel snack when they can get it. And I've seen rats that have been poisoned, they'll stagger around in broad daylight oblivious to any nearby danger (including a human standing two feet away from them), that's how sick they get. Now I hear there are some new poisons that are wildlife safe, but they aren't in the local stores yet. And I don't know if they really work. So this isn't an option for me.

I'm coming to the conclusion that the only thing that will work is to put electric fences around my trees, individually in most cases because the trees are all over the place, some on a hillside. I'm also thinking of making metal bags that I could put around clumps of fruit, and electrifying them. The local deer might also learn to respect my trees if they met Mr. 9600Volt occasionally.

In New Zealand where they have Australian possums, they're something like a chubby weasel that climbs anything...years ago I saw an orchard with umbrella shaped horizontal electric fences clamped around the tree trunks, about 3 feet off the ground. If anyone has seen these, I'd be interested to know how well they work.

If anyone tried the electric route, please let us know about it. I've read reviews on Amazon.com, and lots of people have used them successfully for their gardens, but haven't come across any fruit tree stories yet.


    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 6:11AM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)

I've had good luck for many years with live traps. I've used about 5 different traps (including Havahart) and the best one by far is Tomahawk (the single door trap made for rabbits).

I used to bait around the trap and even screwed a whole pecan on the trip plate, but now I don't put near that much time into it.

I simply throw some acorns (I have a large bag in the freezer of acorns I picked up off the ground a couple years ago) and set the trap. I catch a lot of squirrels that way.

Of course you still have to destroy them once you catch them in a live trap which is a disadvantage of live traps.

As Patti mentioned, squirrels really are like rats with bushy tails. Several years ago I remember reading in the paper about someone catching squirrels in a live trap and (somehow) shaving their tails, then releasing them to fool his neighbors into thinking there were lots of rats running around (The guy had way too much time on his hands.)

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 9:19AM
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Thanks for reminding me about how poisoned/dead squirrels could cause hazzard to other animals who would eat them. I have about 20 trees, not all in the same area. Individual electric fence does not seem practical.

It appears killing them is the most effective option. Gun with real bullet is out. Our neighbors are so close and none of us have any fences. I know my aim will be bad. Don't want to hit my neighbors' houses or worse,my neighbors!! Have to study the kania trap again.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 10:00AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

If you bait your traps at night and check them first thing in the morning then your kids will not see any squirrel nearly all the time - they tend to show up early and check out whatever is new then.

The one thing I have not done right with my Kania traps is I mounted them to fixed trees and I think they are really better on posts you can hammer into the ground near wherever the squirrels are causing trouble. Once I get some time I am going to re-mount two of them as portable traps.

I have a pile of havahart traps that I could not get to reliably work. Part of the problem is dogs etc would kick them over to get the crackers and I never built a platform for them out of dogs reach. This is the reason the Kania need to be on a pole, you don't want Fido from next door with a crushed paw whining in your backyard.


    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 10:04AM
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I'm concerned with the neighbors' kids seeing the lethal traps and calling the police.

One neighbor was target shooting with a legal pellet gun and the police showed up - someone called them.

But I just got back from finding one Havaheart sprung and a ripe Galia melon gnawed on.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 12:33PM
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skyjs(z8 OR, USA)

Poison also kills owls.

Has anyone thought about getting a cat or a mini schnauzer dog? My dog thinks that chasing squirrels is more fun than an amusement park.

The squirrels don't like her.
John S

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 3:19PM
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I second skyjs. Do not put out poison, because you could inadvertently poison animals that will eat the squirrels, including cats and dogs. Instead, consider adopting an alley cat or two. They love squirrels(and rabbits).

Also, if you want to "shoot" them, nothing as big as a 22 is needed. You could use a BB gun, or a really good sling shot on a squirrel.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 3:30PM
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Wandered down to check on the progess of the half-dozen Stanley plums that escaped the freeze and the curculios. Up in the branches was the squirrel, chomping away on a ripe plum. I shook the branches, hoping to shake it down into the waiting jaws of the cat, who wasn't as enthusiastic about this prospect as he ought to be. It finally escaped, yammering furiously.

If I'd been packing, I could have nailed it dead.

Instead, I picked the two remaining plums.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2012 at 7:48PM
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You got to try a barn owl bird house. If it gets occupied, the problem will take care of itself.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2012 at 8:37PM
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We do have a lot of redtail hawks in the neighborhood. They prey on squirrels. I don't suppose they like houses.

But I'm pretty sure the local bird preserve would have info on owl houses.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2012 at 9:54PM
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Olpea that is the one of the funniest squirrel stories I've ever heard! What a riot! Mrs. G I'm buy a Kania for this fall.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2012 at 9:16AM
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