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Florida squirrels!! ARG!

Posted by MuscledBear 10a (My Page) on
Sun, Mar 10, 13 at 10:24

OK:

I NEVER thought I would ever want to kill a squirrel, heck in previous states I have even put up squirrel houses so they would be on my property.

But the squirrels down here in St Pete have made me feel quite the opposite. I am almost ready to buy a shotgun (doubt the neighbors would like that) or put out poison (and I rarely kill even insects).

But these guys have been digging up all my small plants, pulling new plants out of pots and deheading flowers and branches. I think I would ring their little necks if i could get to them.

I am looking for effective deterrents that won;t force me from my yard. [ok, i read one suggestion on laying ammonia laced rags around the garden.that won;'t work]

I am going to get a couple of habanaros and chop them up with a little water, vinegar and oil and try spraying that extract on some plants / pots.. Does anyone have any experience in this method. i.e. does it work and any plants that it has harmed?

Any other options I can try, that you have found that works here on these overgrown gremlins? . I have also read Fox urine, which I would need to go buy. [Heck, I might be willing to get a pet fox a this point]


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Florida squirrels!! ARG!

I can sure relate! I wait all year for my bottle brush trees to bloom and one by one, the squirrels bite off all the flowers. My deck is littered!
I don't have ideas for keeping them out of trees (although my cat helps a little) but for potted plants, I go to dollar store and buy the hottest pepper spice I can find...cajun or red pepper...cheap...and sprinkle it in all the pots. This will work until you have to water a lot and it doesn't seem to hurt the plants.
Now if I could just find a way to keep the wrens from building nests in the garage!
Hester


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RE: Florida squirrels!! ARG!

You could always get a cat or a dog to chase off the squirrels. Some of my key west roosters hate both cats and squirrels and chase them off whenever they see them lol.


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RE: Florida squirrels!! ARG!

Home Depot sells a critter repellant that supposedly works for squirrels....

Here is a link that might be useful: Squirrel Stopper


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RE: Florida squirrels!! ARG!

I too can relate to the squirrel issue. I have never seen so many squirrels in one yard as in my own. Every time I pot up some new plants, the next morning the squirrels have dug them up and left them for dead on the patio. They dig up seeds I'm trying to grow. They plant acorns in my containers. They climb all over the house and rip the screens.
We have a Golden Retriever. He tries to chase the squirrels, but the yard is big and there are too many of them. Besides, they only run until they're over his head and out of reach. At that point, they just watch the dog and squawk at him. I guess they've gotten used to him.
I feel the same way you do, MuscledBear. I want to kill them, which shocks me because I don't typically feel that way about anything.
We had a very old opossum dying in our back yard last year. When animal control came to get him, I asked what to do about the squirrels. The guy said, and I quote, "There really isn't anything you can do that won't require constant re-doing it. Unless you kill the entire bunch." He suggested kill traps, poison bait, or fumigation if you can find the burrow. (We can't)
I haven't done anything yet because I don't really WANT to kill them. I will admit I haven't tried any repellents yet either because I keep hearing the animal control guy in my head basically saying "you have to kill them."
I hope someone has some experience with something that works... that isn't cost-prohibitive. My squirrels are EVERYwhere and I can't buy enough granules for almost a full acre lot!
The Squirrel Stopper spray says it needs to be reapplied every 30 days to all bulbs, seed, soil, bird feeders, etc. They would need to sell this by the bucket for my sprayer.

This post was edited by shear_stupidity on Sun, Mar 10, 13 at 11:44


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RE: Florida squirrels!! ARG!

I also don't want to kill them either.. but my partner is ready to.. He see each plant a squirrel digs up as money I have wasted...

I am going to try the habanaro spray or a hot pepper/tobacco mixture with water and see how that works.. I figured it might stick better than the chili powder on plants and would be hotter. [and hence be better at deterring the squirrels]

and since they seem to largely bother only the plants in pots, newly planted things and certain flowers I might be able to keep up with spraying those.

I think I will try it and update the post on if it helped or not.


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RE: Florida squirrels!! ARG!

I can relate. In the last few years I started to notice an overabundance of squirrels and fewer birds around. Used to be, you'd see mourning doves and other assorted birds everywhere, but now it seems like the squirrels are dominating the landscape.

I don't necessarily believe there's a correlation, but I preferred the days when squirrels weren't quite so ubiquitous.


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i used hot pepper, cheap,big jars from sams". works pretty good but you have to keep reapplying it. alot cheaper than the critter ridder stuff. with the amount of large oaks we have, i finally figured it was easier to live with them. if i want twenty cuttings of something, i start forty....:)


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RE: Florida squirrels!! ARG!

I haven't noticed less birds. Then again, I have so much wildlife passing through my yard that on any given day I will see:

Squirrels
Hawks
Ducks
Ibis
Egrets
Gopher Turtles
Armadillo
Vultures
Hummingbirds
Butterflies
Black Snakes
King Snakes
Spadefoot Toads
Tree Frogs
Woodpeckers
Cardinals
Blue Jays
Robins

The list goes on and on!
(I love it! Except the squirrels)


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RE: Florida squirrels!! ARG!

I hate to be the bearer of bad news but in reality the only thing that is going to work is to kill them or relocate them. Yes relocating is probably illegal but I doubt you would be put on the ten most wanted list for it.

Buy a couple of live havahart type traps bait them with sunflower seeds and take control of the problem one bushy tailed rat at a time. Once in the trap you can relocate and just don't tell anyone or drop the trap in a container of water.

I have killed hundreds here with .22 quiets..they make almost no noise. It keeps the damage to a minimum. Without killing them I would not harvest much of anything.


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RE: Florida squirrels!! ARG!

Cats will kill them and eat them and they will learn to stay out on the perimeter of the property that way. Our 3 cats keep them off pretty good. We only have about 4 acres though so maybe it would be harder with a larger property.
Our dog is so dumb she shares her food with the chickens, muscovys, turkeys, possums and probably anything else that wants to dine with her. The bad thing about the cats is that they will also try and get the wild birds. The chickens around here pick on the cats so no worries there.
On the other hand, the cats don't seem to be catching all the cardinals around here. The cardinals have been eating our chicken food on a regular basis, I always see them darting in and out of the chicken pens where the food is kept. The chickens will start squawking and making their alert sound like when there is a fox or hawk out there and I go back there and it is only a little old cardinal LOL.


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I hate squirrels. Rats with fluffy tails. I never get a loquat off of my tree because those damn things eat them all before they get ripe. They attacked my strawberry plants the day after I planted them. I'll have to cover my peach trees with bird netting if I expect to get a single peach. They deserve to die a horrible death.


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RE: Florida squirrels!! ARG!

  • Posted by karalynn z9 FL, Inverness, Ci (My Page) on
    Sun, Mar 10, 13 at 19:49

I've gone bamboo rabbits route of shooting the squirells but it's my dad and brother who shoot them with high powered BB gun rifles. I don't even attempt to shoot them since my aim is horrible! I've tried the hot peppers on and around the plants and the blasted fuzzy tailed tree rats actually ate them and came back for more. That generation of squirels also had a taste for my ginger plants. On the plus side we get to see the local hawks up close since they take advantage of the squirels that get shot and dumped in the back woods.


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Well, Jack... that explains why I have so many squirrels. I have 5 mature Loquat trees (plus all the acorns off the oaks). If you ever want loquats, please come get some. Even with the squirrels and birds, there are zillions of them still left on the trees!


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RE: Florida squirrels!! ARG!

I use chicken wire to cover pots, as well as bird netting. I have two dogs that try to keep them at bay, but with a Pecan, a few Loquat, a Magnolia and a few Oak trees in the yard, it's their favorite yard in the neighborhood.


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RE: Florida squirrels!! ARG!

I guess I've been kind of lucky. The squirrels around here like to dig where I've dug, but they don't dig up my plants in the process. It's more like they're curious to see what I've been doing. And their numbers are kept in check by a pair of nesting red-shouldered hawks in the area. Just the other week I got to see one of the hawks flying away with a squirrel grasped in its talons while the squirrel's mate (I'm guessing) chased after it on the ground. Kind of reminded me of Disney's Sword in the Stone (except with a much grimmer ending).

So... umm... get a pair of red-shouldered hawks and give them a nest in your yard?

This post was edited by Leekle2ManE on Sun, Mar 10, 13 at 20:57


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RE: Florida squirrels!! ARG!

Well, I live in the NE part of Saint Petersburg, about 35 blocks straight north of downtown.. so shooting them with a gun, of any sort is likely out of the question.

I could go the trapping and release route. I could take them to one of the city parks and drop them off there. I would not have much guilt about that. I doubt I could kill them. Heck, I live trap palmetto bugs who get in the house and release them outside, so killing an animal willingly is not likely going to happen.

The squirrel problem has gotten worse since i moved in. we had one or two when we rented the house last year. now there are a good 6.

I'll try the deterrent methods. I may try to attract and feed some of the feral cats in the neighborhood and see if they will make the yard home. [ I have an older male cat who would not like a new cat inside ] might be a good option. If i can't attract a cat or that fails, i'll try to live trap and move them.

Not encouraged :-(


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RE: Florida squirrels!! ARG!

Six! SIX??? I'm sure that the deterrent methods should work for you.

I probably have more like 60 myself.

I'm the one who's not encouraged. LOL!


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RE: Florida squirrels!! ARG!

Be careful with the cat tactic. You could be replacing one digging critter with another... and the second one leaves presents in your garden soil. Also, if your male cat tends to sit in the windows, the appearance of another cat outside could trigger territorial behavior in him, causing him to start marking his territory all over your house.


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RE: Florida squirrels!! ARG!

Just a thought on the hot pepper/tobacco spray: I'd leave the tobacco out. I accidentally introduced tobacco mosaic virus in my yard but using a tobacco spray to get rid of mole crickets. The crickets are still there and on top of that I have that virus on several plants and I know it won't leave anymore....so I don't recommend tobacco as a deterrent spray for anything.


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RE: Florida squirrels!! ARG!

You know what amazes me, a person simply walking through scrub land is probably endangering some sort of sand mouse or bird that can't seem to survive any sort of human encroachment whatsoever, and yet, there are all these things we hate that we can't exterminate no matter how hard we try (squirrels, termites, ants, rats, roaches, pigeons, lubbers, pickleworms, etc.).

You'd think nature wouldn't be so inconsistently able to thrive around humans.


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RE: Florida squirrels!! ARG!

In some cases, some critters' natural enemies have lost their habitat making it safer for the critters to reproduce and go about their daily lives. I imagine squirrels weren't quite so heavily populated when there were an abundance of hawks, wolves, foxes, bobcats and snakes to help keep their numbers in check. But now that the hawks, wolves, foxes, bobcats and snakes have little, if any, room to live in suburban/urban communities (and in some cases are killed on sight), the squirrels (and other critters) are left to run rampant.

God or Nature, take your pick, set up a series of checks and balances to help make sure that no one species gained the upper-hand. The only check that was missing was against the human race. And with our 'superior' intelligence and wisdom, we've taken it upon ourselves to somehow 'do it better' and we're failing horribly.

Now, I'm not a tree hugging hippie who thinks that we must somehow restore balance to nature. I know that things have already pretty much spun out of control and will continue to do so. I can do what I can in my yard/practices to lessen my impact on the environment, but the sad truth is, there's no going back. The only way this world goes back to any sense of balance is if somehow the human variable is removed from the equation. And that is not going to happen on our own accord.


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RE: Florida squirrels!! ARG!

Good point, Tradition. Well said, Leekle.


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RE: Florida squirrels!! ARG!

We have plenty of hawks but I rarely see them try to bag a squirrel. I've seen them swoop down toward a squirrel, only to fly right over it and pounce on something too tiny to see from my vantage point. I think they prefer lizards or snakes (probably don't put up as much of a fight). In any case, my hawks don't help much with my tree rat problem.


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RE: Florida squirrels!! ARG!

We have dozens of hawks in the area....eagles also as well as foxes, coyotes and bobcats. I have yet to see a hawk so much as make a pass at a squirrel unless it is flopping on the ground after being shot. The hawks seem to prefer the lizards and snakes. Squirrels benefit from people because of birdseed it helps them get through the times when there is not enough natural feed so we help the tree rats to over populate.


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RE: Florida squirrels!! ARG!

  • Posted by karalynn z9 FL, Inverness, Ci (My Page) on
    Mon, Mar 11, 13 at 16:51

I've seen the hawks in my area carry of squirrels before. One flew across the road in front of my car at eye level once with the squirrel still flopping around in it's talons!


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RE: Florida squirrels!! ARG!

My hawks grab squirrels, for sure. One even tried to grab my tiny little Maltese puppy once!

Something is eating small turtles and leaving their shells in my yard, too.


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RE: Florida squirrels!! ARG!

I hate the furry rodents, they have clipped off lots of my orchids in the oaks when there are plenty of acorns for them to eat! They dig up what I plant. There are some people here who feed the awful things, when they go back home I intend to decimate some of them!!!


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RE: Florida squirrels!! ARG!

  • Posted by karalynn z9 FL, Inverness, Ci (My Page) on
    Wed, Mar 13, 13 at 9:08

I've had to take out a few racoons in my yard too although we only do that when it is absolutely necessary, such as when they become destructive or look sickly. We usually live trap them and then shoot them. Again dad just uses his BB rifle. He only takes out his regular gun when he's going after rats in the chicken coop (he actually managed to blow a hole in the side of the coop with rat shot once while completely missing the rat!) or when there's an armadillo that just won't stop digging under the foundation of the house. Once we accidently trapped a very large possum and had no choice but to shoot it because we couldn't get it out of the cage otherwise. Those things have nasty looking teeth up close and it just kept hissing and trying to bite if our hands got too close. As someone who had to go through the pain of rabies shots after getting attacked by a stray cat I can tell you I will do anything not to have to go through that again!


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RE: Florida squirrels!! ARG!

I can say with fair certainty the hawk that I saw carrying off a squirrel was one of the pair of red-shoulders that have a nest in my area. I see them around here much more than I do a red-tail. The red-shoulders are usually quite noisy, declaring their territory, but on the day that the squirrel was nabbed, the only thing I heard was the chittering of the squirrel on the ground that gave chase.

Red-tails are an uncommon sight in my area, though they do appear from time to time. I tend to see swallowtail kites more than red-tails, which says something since the kites are seasonal. There's also a Bald Eagle that has a territory somewhere east of me near the Okalawaha River/Lake Griffin area, but it's very rare that I see it this far inland and when I do, it is usually circling way up. Last year I saw it chasing what looked like a heron across the sky toward the west. Then about 5 minutes later it came 'blasting' by so fast that I think most prop planes would be hard pressed to keep up with it.

Though it doesn't live near me, the coolest Bird of Prey sighting I had here in Florida was this past Sunday. After leaving the Spring Garden Fair in Ocala, I went down NE Jacksonville Rd to 441 and turned left (heading south). About a half mile down there is a bridge just before you enter the more municipal area of Ocala. As I was reaching the top of this bridge, a Golden Eagle came over the rail from below the bridge and flew about 15 ft in front of my windshield. I was hollering at my kids, "Look! Look!" but they were looking out their side windows instead of through the windshield and missed it. I think that was the first time outside of a zoo that I've seen a Golden Eagle. It was... awesome.


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RE: Florida squirrels!! ARG!

Leekle,

My bet is what you saw was an immature bald eagle. Far as I know Florida is not home to any golden eagles.

Brute,

I agree on the red shoulders...they will come get squirrels when I shoot them but they are physically unable to fly off with their prize, the squirrels are just too big. Now once they consume part of the rat they can fly off with the rest.

The red shoulders are quite good neighbors..I have 19 chickens and 22 ducks. Not once have the red shoulders even made a pass at them or even the ducklings. On the other hand during the winter when the hawks are migrating the red tails can be a problem.


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RE: Florida squirrels!! ARG!

Aw, that does it! they're eating the buds off of my new pink perfection camellia plant. they have to die.


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RE: Florida squirrels!! ARG!

The squirrels are eating the Camelia buds? (Or are you saying it's the raccoons?)


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RE: Florida squirrels!! ARG!

It's the squirrels. Haven't seen a racoon in my yard in a few years (although they are in the 'hood).


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RE: Florida squirrels!! ARG!

We have a new resident who's got a taste for skqwrlll...
A Peregrine Falcon!

It's a blurry photo, but that's a squirrel he's eating, and I've seen him a few times since. So very cool!

Now, all I need is something to "look after" the hood cats. Neighbors don't fix, let them run amok and breed willy-nilly. They pee and poop in my beds (makes me gag... Sometimes it smells o bad I've had to close windows). Dog and chickens keep them out of the backyard pretty well (squirrels to, BTW) but the dog barking at the cat just OUTSIDE the fence is enough to send me squirrelly!

What doesn't work for squirrel repellent in my yard:
Holographic tape
Ultrasonic repellent
Pepper spray (have to reapply after every rainfall)

Grrrr


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RE: Florida squirrels!! ARG!

I wonder if rat poison is bad for camellias?


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RE: Florida squirrels!! ARG!

We finally gave up getting rid of the squirrels and raccoons....we just feed them. I have not had any problems with eating any of our garden or flowers. Between the birds, squirrels and raccoons we spend hours on the back porch watching them. But let them start to pull up my plants or eat on the garden and they are gone.


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RE: Florida squirrels!! ARG!

Our cat kills everything for us. Blue jays, squirrels, moles, rats. Sometimes he's even nice enough to leave them on the door so we can share!

He's neutered, so he doesn't 'spray', and cats are extremely easy to train.


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RE: Florida squirrels!! ARG!

I use a paintball gun with laser sights. After a few months of using the paintball gun I got fairly proficient with it and can now even take out a lubber at 5 to 10 yards. I load the hopper with different colored balls and also paint the roving neighborhood dogs with splotches of different colors which pleases the dog owners when the dogs go back home and rub the paint off onto the rugs in the house. For the squirrels high in the trees I use my high powered air rifle. With diligence you can really thin the herd of squirrels and any survivors will go find easier places to go cause damage. They do keep coming back and test your resolve, so stay diligent. I have the prettiest colored critters in the hood.

Lou


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RE: Florida squirrels!! ARG!

  • Posted by saldut 9-10 st pete, fl (My Page) on
    Wed, Jul 3, 13 at 16:45

I live just north of downtown St Pete, near the NE shopping center, and am sick of squirrels taking a bite out of my mangoes, then the fruit falls to the ground useless to eat, they have ruined most of the mangoes this year.... there are families of fish-hawks screaming in the air, they fish in the bayou and what a sight to see! but they don't go after squirrels, drats! between the squirrels and 'coons and 'possums I feel like giving up on trying to grow fruit.....sally


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RE: Florida squirrels!! ARG!

Sally.. i live 2-3 blocks away from the NE shopping center as well, I was the one who started this thread.

Now you have me thinking that our neighborhood just has the meanest and nastiest squirrels. I have found they have eased up in my yard the past couple of months. I don't have fruit trees, so maybe they have moved on off to your yard. Mine were the worst this spring, just before they nested.


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RE: Florida squirrels!! ARG!

The squirrels were HORRIBLE last year, with the neighbors keeping several full bird feeders all of the time. Racing through the yard, tearing up the plants to shreds. Chasing each other around, like a bunch of small dogs. I was hating it!

THEN, the neighbors got rats in the attic. The exterminator told them to switch to safflower seeds. And it has been heaven ever since. Squirrels do not like them and since the switch, the squirrels have all but disappeared.


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RE: Florida squirrels!! ARG!

The squirrels used to eat my tomatoes and peppers, even the hot ones.
I tried everything except poisons or shooting them.

I bought a small pet safe elelctric fence charger, and a spool of wire, they haven't come back since.

Havahart SS-2LGX Battery-Operated Nuisance Animal Intermittent 1 Mile Electric Fence Charger

Two D batteries run for several months, and yet it definitly will get your attention if you touch it.

I just made sure I placed it with the power switch easy to get to.


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RE: Florida squirrels!! ARG!

I'm in Land O Lakes, Fl. in a villa, very small yard with solid vinyl fence, screen porch. We're bird feeders. Being surrounded buy lakes it amazing how many critters come in our yard. I've trapped pounds of squirrels, many coons & opposum. I average 3 squirrels a week, take em on a 5 min. ride & let go into one of the wetlands. There all over our screen so I spray em with a mix of Tobasco/water. The trap bait is peanuts & peanut butter. It's a maintenance problem but keeps retiree busy when I'm not Whittling wood.


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RE: Florida squirrels!! ARG!

  • Posted by saldut 9-10 st pete, fl (My Page) on
    Thu, Jul 4, 13 at 20:44

Musclebear, welcome to the neighborhood! the NE shop.center is great that's my Publix, love it.... I wish my cats would take an interest in the squirrels but they have gotten so old now and poor eyesight, and the squirrels are up too high anyway...I do get a few mangoes, the ones the squirrels knock down and that land in dirt not on the concrete where they split....guess we just have to keep a sense of humour and be grateful for what we do get....LOL...sally


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RE: Florida squirrels!! ARG!

Well, I found this thread that was started almost a year ago to the day. Since I was late in starting my spring garden last year, I guess that might have been why I had NO problem with squirrels. This year I was able to get an early start and had most seeds/seedlings in the ground by mid-February (I live in the Largo/Seminole area). Here it is March 9th and the squirrels have pretty much destroyed at least half of each raised bed (I have 6). Planting corn was a joke. I planted it 3 weekends in a row and at first (duh) couldn't figure out what happened. But when the seedlings started getting chewed, and I had holes everywhere, it dawned on me.

I sprinkled cayenne pepper over the watermelon seed mound I just replanted yesterday... only to go out this morning and find that they clearly like peppered watermelon seeds just as well as plain. I bought critter ridder yesterday too... and they dug right through it with no hesitation. I have taken the advice to put sunflower seeds on the opposite end of my garden and just give them something else to eat, but so far they haven't paid any notice. I guess I have to give it a few days.

I'm an animal lover too, but boy do I get pissed off when I walk out every morning and see the damage they've done. Between them and moles, I feel like I'm losing the battle with organic, humane gardening.


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Am lucky so far in my larger mobile home park, - have not seen any marauding bands of squirrels. But they are here, as I see one or two every other day. However, am anticipating a bumper crop of mangos in a few months so have been considering various means to combat these devils if necessary as they are notorious for ruining mangos, while still on the tree yet !
One thought that persists is to get two male kittens from the same litter,...brothers. Name 'em Bert & Ernie ( smile ) and have them as 50/50 house/outside cats, - is that possible ? Would they be able to successfully scare away squirrels ? However I do realize, being single, this would be a lifestyle change.
This all reminds me of a story a pal told me awhile back. A widow lady in this very park awoke in the middle of the night to a sound nearby. She looks up and there, perched on her headboard, is a fat squirrel looking down at her ! Didn't find out aftermath, but if it was me, I'd be close to heart attack city !! lol


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RE: Florida squirrels!! ARG!

Get a cat.

Left at my door by my kitty

 photo 27E39DE1-D0E4-4725-9314-7EB32EE3D139_zpsuwz9ebef.jpg

Jane


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RE: Florida squirrels!! ARG!

I live in St. Pete as well and they are pests.

I don't like the idea of killing anyting either, but I have to say that the high power pellet rifle has been employed.

I had to use it to get rid of the rats living in a neighbors citrus tree. They were trying to make another nest in my shed. Get a .22 cal piston powered pellet rifle (the kind where you break the barrel to cock it), you can can shoot it quietly in St. Pete. Trust me.


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RE: Florida squirrels!! ARG!

m5allen, I have the rifle you referred to, almost forgot..a Crossman 760 Pumpmaster. Got it out this afternoon, dusted it off and took a couple of practice shots with bb's in backyard,..will use pellets later on. Also just ordered a one door squirrel trap from Home Depot ( $27.97 + tx ), so will be ready when the " rats with fluffy tails " come swarming around in another 6 weeks or so as I know they will. Am looking forward to the most productive mango season I've ever had,..have three huge trees out back brimming with flowering pannicles and small fruit.
Getting a cat or two in here was not the answer,..not fair to the cat if my goal is simply so one dimensional,..and especially when I remembered what I had stored away in the back of my closet. Nothing worse than watching as one nibbled on mango after another drops to the ground as the squirrels frolic in the trees !
Am optimistic now about my chances of saving the majority of the looked-forward-to harvest.


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RE: Florida squirrels!! ARG!

My mom uses these noisy holographic streamers suspended above the plants that the squirrels like. It keeps them away just fine. When the wind blows even just a little, it makes a rustling noise.


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RE: Florida squirrels!! ARG!

I saw a tan or blond squirrel in a neighbor's yard yesterday. I didn't know there was such a thing. I didn't have a camera with me.


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RE: Florida squirrels!! ARG!

We had a garden show years ago and the host recommended a product called milorganite........ahhhhhhh...human sewage....kinda....I tried it years ago and seemed to work well....warning....kinda stinky! LOL


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