How do I keep people from stealing my lychees?

blinkie2May 27, 2009

Hi, I'm new here and need some help. Does anyone have some advice on how I can deter people from stealing my lychees? They come at all times of the day and night (2am!) and annoy my dogs, which in turn, bothers me and my neighbors. They've even broken 4 foot branches off the tree, taken the fruit, and left me to clean up the mess. I know many people love them, I do too, but I don't grow them so some stranger can steal my efforts and damage my beloved tree. I caught a woman today who told me she "thought she could have some."

I am just about at my wit's end. I'm almost tempted to strip the tree even though only a few fruit are ripe.

Thanks in advance for your replies. BTW, this isn't a sales solicitation :)


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sounds like you need at least an 8 ft wood fence, thats hard to see through, and some fire crackers, and maybe bottle rockets, the whistling ones. Potato gun :)

    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 10:02PM
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Hmmm...My preferred method is landmines and barbed wire, but they have problems all their own. I would guess some "no trespassing" signs would send a message, and call the police to file a report. How big is your property? Is the tree on the edge? Give us a better picture of the situation.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 11:17PM
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Maybe you can house your dogs closer to the lychee tree. A tall fence sounds like it should work but will cost quite a bit of money. I would write a sincere notice, perhaps something like this:

Please do not steal my Lychee fruit. You are tresspassing and stealing fruit from my yard is a punishable offense. I have notified the police of tresspassers and they will be looking out for any offenders.

By the way, what variety of Lychees do you have? Don't worry, I live in San Diego, a little to far for a midnight raid :)

    Bookmark   May 28, 2009 at 2:19AM
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i'm a big fan of these.

Here is a link that might be useful: scarecrow

    Bookmark   May 28, 2009 at 3:02AM
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ch3rri(z6 PA)

Maybe you should put up a hidden camera to video tape them. Once you know around what time they come and who they are, you can call the police. If not just print their pictures and post them around town and call them lychee thefts. :) That way the whole neighbors know who they are and if you see them on the street just go up to them and say stop stealing my LYCHEE.

You can also install a sensor light. This way it light up when they're in your yard. Good luck.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2009 at 4:15AM
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ohiojay(z6 OH)

You should have called the police the moment you found the woman in your yard. Bullcrap excuse. File a report and press trespassing charges. The word will get around.

Maybe some midnight vigils with a ball bat, taser, shotgun? The above suggestions are good ones. It may cost you money now but you need to think long term solution here. Post a sign. Tresspassers will be prosecuted. No excuses, no second chances. I like the sensor lights idea, and the fence...broken glass on the top.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2009 at 7:37AM
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Thanks for all the wonderful suggestions. Well, the thieves were at it again last night and pretty much every lychee that was even close to ripe within arm's reach was stolen.

My tree is a Bengal and it's been in the ground about 15 years. We bought it for it's shape and the shade, the fruit is a bonus. We didn't think anyone would be interested in it because there aren't any other lychee trees around here. Boy, was that wrong! Unfortunately, it's right smack in the front yard. I've added a link to pics, but I'm not sure how that works.

The sad thing is that I know who two of the people are, but have yet to catch them in the act. Unless, of course, it is normal to take a walk in your pj's at 1am, stare at my tree, and walk away when they see me.

I'll try the sign first, and if that doesn't work, I'll be pricing land mines, electric fences, razor wire, and armed guard services ;)

Thanks again!


Here is a link that might be useful: Lychee tree

    Bookmark   May 28, 2009 at 10:00AM
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ohiojay(z6 OH)

What you could do for those two neighbors you greatly suspect is to casually let them know that security measures have been put in place and that you are going to prosecute any and all trespassers. Just make like you are having a passing conversation.

It's a beautiful tree and you have every right to be upset. I would, however, be up late tonight watching from inside with all of the lights off. I'd wait until they got up into the tree, call the police, then quietly go out and take a picture of them. You will also find out where they live. What they are doing is no different than coming into your home while you are away. Gloves come off.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2009 at 12:39PM
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After seeing that absolutely beautiful tree, I understand why people are stealing your fruit. Bengal is supposed to be a great tasting variety also and the fruit on your pictures look very large, OK, I'm starting to salivate. Well, with an open yard like that, it will be very tempting for passers by. A large fence will be a permanent detractant but may obscure your view of the neighborhood. The motion detector lights are easy to install and the attention the bright lights cause should scrare off any intruders.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2009 at 12:52PM
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Without a doubt, get a camera and record the tree. Save it to your computer or buy one of those infrared wildlife cameras that only records (still pics/short video) when it senses motion. It uses infrared (invisible to the naked eye), so the perpetrator would be unaware he/she were being recorded on a dark night. Also, put a motion sensor light that will activate when someone approaches. I would also put up a no trespassing sign and then throw the book at whomever is stealing your fruit. Theft is theft. One thing about theft is that it won't stop until they are busted...maybe now it's your year your radio is missing out of your car.
Also, you might get an infrared "chimer" that sounds in your house when someone crosses the beam. That way you could ambush them.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2009 at 8:38PM
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ohiojay(z6 OH)

Good suggestions! We are anxiously awaiting a report of last night's activities! I'm hoping you pulled the SOB out of your tree by their feet breaking the freaking neck on the way down! But that's just me...I'm a people person.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2009 at 7:04AM
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Gorgeous tree Blinkie! Do the bengals live up to their name as having a rose-scented flavor? How would you compare them with other varieties?
Also, after you put the sign up, if there is any damage from thieves in the night; you should definitely call the police to file a report. Don't clean up any damage until after they file the report. The cops can't do anything until they have a legitimate paper trail to follow (or pics as evidence). A hard line in the sand is the best deterrent. Get one arrested, then the word will spread fast.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2009 at 2:22PM
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Buy a pit bull, tie it's leash to the trunk. Problem solved. I don't think even a camera is going to help much. Unless you happen to recognize the person it's not like the cops are going to put up wanted posters for them.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2009 at 2:35PM
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Florida has whats called 'Castle Doctrine .' Buy a shotgun and protect your property.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2009 at 6:21PM
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puglvr1(9b central FL)

Very nice tree!! Sorry about the problems you're having, hope it gets resolved soon. How did you make out the last few nights? Hope there's more fruit left on the tree for yourself!

Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 31, 2009 at 6:46PM
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Sorry, I've been in Homestead for a few days and haven't been able to update all of you on my tree. Well, the sign has worked for the daytime and casual "gee I thought I could have some" people. It hasn't worked for my nighttime folks. They've taken about 50+ lbs so far. They are quite picky about which ones they steal. They have to be 3/4 red for my gourmet thieves. So, yesterday I picked everything I could find that was more than 1/2 red and guess what... none were taken last night! I prefer them more ripe also, but they will sweeten up some off the tree. Now I'm off to peel a bazillion lychees to start some mango-lychee wine. I figure a 3:1 lychee to mango ratio should be good.

As far as the scent of the Bengal, I suppose they do smell and taste a bit like roses, I never thought of it before. I should probably have a few more just to make sure. Usually, I just think mmmmm.... yummy! and pop open another one.

Unfortunately, I can't compare the flavor, because the only lychees I've ever had have been from my tree. I am interested in trying others also. Any varieties you can recommend?


    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 12:59PM
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Sucks that you have to pick them when they are not ripe just to keep the scum bags away. I still think my pit bull idea is the way to go.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 1:11PM
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ohiojay(z6 OH)

John...instead of a pit bull...I would be chained to the tree at night waiting for the first SOB to show up!!!

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 2:13PM
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I know you would Jay. Personally, I would rather sit at the window with a BB gun and hope I got the reputation around the neighborhood that I was crazy.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 2:26PM
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I hate thieves when someone kept stealing my dads Blood plums and cherries . We put a light in the backyard with a sensor facing the trees well didnt the thieves figure it out and unscrew the light bulb. Thats when I staid up one night waiting then at around 3am I heard my pitbulls sniffing the backyard door I looked outside and seen two people one on each tree good think I have two pitbulls I opened the door and man did they ever run for lives. Never had any issues again.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 3:07PM
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Blinkie- The most common varieties (commercial) in Florida are Brewster, and Mauritius. The Brewsters are sweeter, and probably rate higher on the taste scale with most people. If you do try some...please give us a comparison between them. I'm seriously running out of space here, but I might be tempted to buy a Bengal if they have a distinct rose flavor compared to the others.
As for the thieves, you could probably hire Jay to do the dirty work for a mere pittance of lychees.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 11:18PM
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ohiojay(z6 OH)

I WILL work for lychees! I really believe these people need the hell beat out of them.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 8:06AM
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That's what I worry will happen my Avocado bare fruit next year or when the tree gets taller than the fence. It is amazing how theives will get up for "special" visits to steal everything from Aloes-Yucca flowers. I have caught them in the past with car running,headlights out and with a machete in their hands as they began to decapitate an organ cactus. I wouldnt get up at 3am to pick up free tickets to Disneyland...

    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 2:57PM
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gcmastiffs(z10 Florida)

SmartHome has very good battery-powered motion sensor lights and wireless alarms. I have both, and they work great!

When the alarm chime goes off inside your house, simply step out and rack a round into your shotgun! That sound is known by everyone, and the thieves will NEVER return!

I LOVE my 20 Gauge Remington 870!!


Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 3:33PM
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lmao I like your stlye Lisa hehehe.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 3:59PM
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gcmastiffs(z10 Florida)

Nelson20vt, I'm glad you took the photo as it was intended- to be amusing!

I had so much fun at the range that day! They were building an extension onto the long rifle and pistol lanes, and shotgunning was done on the end. I had just blasted my target into smithereens, and my happiness must have been apparent to the rangemaster(G). I usually hate having my picture taken, but this one was okay..

I've never shot anyone, or anything, except squirrels that steal my fruit. But it makes sense to know how, if the need ever arises.

P.S. I really like my "Judge 45/410" too(VBG)


    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 4:23PM
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where do you live i whant my share hehe

    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 6:06PM
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The Judge eh? I was "this" close to buying that but opted for the S&W Model 60-14 .357 Magnum instead. You're my kind of girl! (I'm an NRA, fruit-growing, anti-squirrel kind of guy).

For the sniping squirrel head-shots, I recommend the Diana RWS 34 Panther in .177 caliber using Beeman Match extra-heavy pellets. It is a German-made, $600-quality air rifle that sells for $200. It is extremely accurate and puts the hammer on the varmints! Just what I've heard, not from experience... ; )

    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 11:49PM
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gcmastiffs(z10 Florida)

BluePalm, thanks for the advice on the pellet rifle! Ours works pretty well on the tree rats. I'll check out the one you suggested.

I found shells of ripe, red Lychee fruits in my yard yesterday, under my last big pine tree. Obviously, someone nearby has a mature Lychee that is also being robbed, but by 4-legged pests in this case. They must have been really yummy, since the squirrel cleaned them out- didn't just take a bite and drop the rest, like they do with my Peaches.

Your choice of the S & W Model 60 is excellent! I have the Model 60-18 on my headboard(G).

If you ever practice at the range in Sebastian, look for me. I'll loan you the Judge to try. You have to use it last though, as afterwards there is no target left(G).


    Bookmark   June 3, 2009 at 10:04AM
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ntm- i really take it personally when people say they prefer brewster to mauritius- for me thats like someone saying they prefer carrots to chocolate- simply incomprehensible. mauritius so incredibly yummy whereas brewster is just plain sweet

really cool tree blinkie. if it was me- id build a treehouse in your tree and sleep in your tree.

u may also want to put in place real or fake video cameras.
i love the motion-light- im sure that would stop most thieves.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2009 at 1:29PM
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Lychee Thieves trailer HD

Here is a link that might be useful: Lychee Thieves

    Bookmark   June 26, 2011 at 10:03PM
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mangomandan(10 FL)

Thank you to the person who posted about the motion-detecting sprinklers! I had no idea such a thing existed. People often assume that my mango trees were planted for their benefit.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2011 at 12:27PM
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how bout put a big ol sign front of the tree stating all thieves will be reported and prosecuted or something to that effect...?

    Bookmark   June 27, 2011 at 12:41PM
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I would post no trespassing, beware of gun owner and a sign posting Floridas Castle Doctrine

S436 GENERAL BILL/CS/CS/1ST ENG by Judiciary; Criminal Justice; Peaden;
(CO-SPONSORS) Argenziano; Clary; Wise; Lawson; Crist; Baker; Bennett;
Posey; Villalobos; Garcia; Fasano; Webster; Lynn; Haridopolos; King;
Dockery; Diaz de la Portilla; Bullard; Campbell; Jones; Sebesta; Pruitt;
Constantine; Smith; Alexander; Saunders; Aronberg; Klein (Similar
H 0249)
Protection of Persons/Use of Force; authorizes person to use force,
including deadly force, against intruder or attacker in dwelling,
residence, or vehicle under specified circumstances; provides that
person is justified in using deadly force under certain circumstances;
provides immunity from criminal prosecution or civil action for using
deadly force;

not that I would use deadly physical force against someone pilfering fruit, but it does give me free range to turn them into paintball practice

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   June 27, 2011 at 2:18PM
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hmhausman(FL 10B)

Just in case we have any deadly force users here is Florida intending to protect their lychees or other fruits, be prepared for a manslaughter charge or worse as it is not legal to employ deadly force to protect a property right. Only if you or other person you are trying to protect are being physically threatened or attacked is deadly force legally permissible. The Florida Senate Bill posted by Mango Kush refers specifically to threatening action taken "in dwelling, residence or vehicle" where you or another has to be protecting yourself or the other person from imminent threat of harm. For what its worth that is my humble legal opinion regarding this aspect of Florida law.


    Bookmark   June 27, 2011 at 6:14PM
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...this does not apply to squirrels. Bwahahahahahahahahaha!!!!

(evil laugh).

    Bookmark   June 27, 2011 at 7:29PM
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810.011 Definitions.--As used in this chapter:

(1) "Structure" means a building of any kind, either temporary or permanent, which has a roof over it, together with the curtilage thereof. However, during the time of a state of emergency declared by executive order or proclamation of the Governor under chapter 252 and within the area covered by such executive order or proclamation and for purposes of ss. 810.02 and 810.08 only, the term means a building of any kind or such portions or remnants thereof as exist at the original site, regardless of absence of a wall or roof.

810.02 Burglary.--

1. Entering a dwelling, a structure, or a conveyance with the intent to commit an offense therein, unless the premises are at the time open to the public or the defendant is licensed or invited to enter; or

2. Notwithstanding a licensed or invited entry, remaining in a dwelling, structure, or conveyance:

a. Surreptitiously, with the intent to commit an offense therein;

simple Burglary is a third degree Felony in Florida

Q. When can I use my handgun to protect myself?

A. Florida law justifies use of deadly force when you are:\

* Trying to prevent a forcible felony, such as rape, robbery, burglary or kidnapping.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 2:06AM
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You could try putting a fake alligator under or near the tree.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2011 at 8:30PM
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I have a Jackfruit and a Dragon Fruit tree on the side of my house. I am on the corner in an HOA and I do not think they will allow me to put up a fence. I am seriously getting tired of the thieves. I am thinking next year I am going to inject the fruit with something that will make anyone consuming it get violently sick. I know this probably sounds harsh, but I simply don't care. Life is too short to sit by my window and wait to catch them. Sure I won't have any fruit for myself, but I hardly get any now. It's one season and the problem should be solved. I am only hesitating if somehow I could get in trouble for doing it. Any suggestions on what I could use that will not harm the tree would be greatly appreciated. I loved the "tie a pit bull to the tree" but I would not feel right leaving the animal tied there all the time. Not only that, he would relieve himself there too. Realistically, you would have to bring him in after, what 10 or 11 pm anyway.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 4:48PM
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Hi Frustrated,

The problem you have seems to be a "good problem" ... at least you're having fruit out of your Jackfruit and Dragon fruit ... lol. I have both of these plants, but they're still very small now and I cannot wait to see them fruit if they do in my planting zone. That said, I understand how frustrating it must be for you or anyone who have put in so much effort to see their fruit of labor and then have them stolen. I can understand if animals steal them because they don't know what's right or wrong.

You definitely will need to do something about it to end the problem, but I don't know about poisoning the fruit though .. It seems rather dangerous to me ... Maybe you might want to hang on both of your trees that says:

Warning: You're under survillance camera.
Stealing is a crime. We will call the police.

Whether you have a security camera or not is another matter. Some even put up some fake security cameras to scare away intruders.

Don't know if that's a good idea or not .., but maybe worth a try if nothing else works ..

I do hope you'll get to eat your own fruit at last :)

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 5:27PM
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ethane(9 FL)

I know this is an old post, but for many it's an ongoing problem. Instead of injecting your fruit with poison, get a warning sign that says, "Danger: Pesticide Applied, unsafe to eat." That usually works, or at least they'll think twice. (Then if you do decide to spray poison on them, they were warned.)

Here is a link that might be useful: Pesticide warning sign

    Bookmark   July 4, 2013 at 11:54PM
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brute(Florida 9B)

I wonder what ever became of the original poster, Blinkie2?
ethane, you'd probably have to make your warning sign in spanish and Haitian creole. It's been my experience that third-world types don't have much respect for private property once they arrive on our shores. Maybe fruit trees were "community property" in the villages they came from?
My favorite security device is a gadget called "Driveway Patrol" that I bought rather cheaply from the As Seen On TV Guys.
The little motion detector (which I painted camouflage) goes out by the tree, while the little radio receiver stays by your bed. When somebody or something passes in front of the detector, a chime rings in the receiver.
I think the best solution is to actually go out and confront them while they're in the act.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 12:05PM
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