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Red Squirrels

Posted by Josie_2 Maine (My Page) on
Sat, Jun 4, 05 at 10:10

Dear Friends,I love to feed the birds,but I have been invaded by Red Squirrels.They have come to live in the garage.What a mess and they are real brazen.This morning 4 of them were running around and climbing over everthing.I have an electric sonic thing that emits noises to drive rodents out and one of them was sitting on that just looking at me.Any tips to help get them out of there?.Thanks Josie_2


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Red Squirrels

My neighbor uses a .22 - I have a double-pawed cat :)

I've heard of some putting sunflower seeds on the top of a bucket of water which resulted in taking care of a chipmunk problem. Wonder if it would work for the squirrels?

You definitely want to discourage them from the garage at the very least. Same neighbor who shoots the squirrels totalled his truck. The squirrels had stored acorns in the engine which had resulted in a fire. Guess they got the last laugh!


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RE: Red Squirrels

Our farmcollies take care of most of them. I don't mind them as long as they stay out of the livestock and poultry feed and don't get destructive. Once one of those rules are broken the farmcollies are allowed to treat them as pests.


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RE: Red Squirrels

I have had good luck catchin' the rascals with a catch-um-alive trap...then I transport them away and let them go....Franklin


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RE: Red Squirrels

I think they are gone to live elsewhere-Someone said they hate mothballs--so I bought 3 boxes and threw them all over the garage floor and flung them up on shelves.The garage reeks but have not see any of the little fellows for 2 days now.Thank you so much for tips.Happy Josie_2


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RE: Red Squirrels

whew...what a gardener has to do to find peace!lol glad to hear the easy solution.


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RE: Red Squirrels

Mothballs did not work after,they are back.I think a Have a heart trap will have to be obtained,unless you have any other suggestions.I'm at my wits end.My husband is quite ill in ICU and I'm spending most of every day in the hospital.The squirrels have a free run now.P.S stopped feeding the birds for now. Regards Josie_2


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RE: Red Squirrels

Josie_2,

Someone suggested mothballs so you threw them all over your garage, you reported success, got congratulated for that success, the mothballs did not work after all, your husband is ill, your garage reeks, the squirrels have free run, and oh, by the way, breathing mothballs is bad for your health.

Next time you see that person who suggested mothballs for squirrels, you might want to thank them for taking advantage of your gullibility. I have sympathy for your plight, and concern for your husband's health, but there should be some sort of lesson here for all of us. Maybe a little healthy skepticism?

MM


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RE: Red Squirrels

You are so right MM.I have already swept up the moth balls.For the dump tommorow morning.Thank you for advice.Josie _2


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RE: Red Squirrels

Hi Josie,

I've been feeding our squirrels in spots away from where I don't want them, which works pretty well except if you forget to replenish their feeder -- they remind me by ripping out plants or just chattering when I go outside :) If you're not feeding the birds right now, you certainly don't have time to feed squirrels, too. If you have a handy neighbor or friend who could check around your garage and see where they're getting in, maybe it could be sealed up, with chicken wire, hardware cloth, or even just rags (I've heard rags soaked in pine cleaner works, if you have some, worth a try). Hope you find something to have one less problem right now!

~Kat


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RE: Red Squirrels

Thank you Kat,I will try the pine cleaner rags on Mon next.I guess that I brought the squirrel problem on myself.They looked so cute playing around the bird feeder.I even bought them special food too.They are so naughty.I am from Ireland and so enjoy the wild life in Maine,I sent Blue-Jay feathers home for the family to see the beautiful blue color they were.Today I have not seen the squirrels in my garage,maybe they have moved to greener pastures.Regards Josie_2


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RE: Red Squirrels

Kat,

"I've heard rags soaked in pine cleaner works, if you have some, worth a try."

Josie,

"Thank you Kat, I will try the pine cleaner rags on Mon next."

Well, so much for healthy skepticism. But no reason why you shouldn't try to exploit the squirrel's instinctive fear of pine trees. How does this work? Do the oily rags spontaneously combust and the squirrels leave your burning house?

MM


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RE: Red Squirrels

Actually, MM, both moth balls and pine cleaner have worked for my mom keeping various rodents, cats, dogs, seagulls and crows away from the garbage for the past 40 years or so. Her trash bags go unmolested while the neighbors' get ripped to shreds and strewn all over the street. I would guess they don't care for the smell or the smell disguises whatever goodies they might want. Works the same way in the garden with garlic, onions, marigolds and other strong scented plants. May not be scientific enough for some and probably not 100% effective (especially in a large space like a garage), but if it does no harm and has minimal cost to try, why not?

Do you have a suggestion, or just like shooting other people down?

~Kat


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RE: Red Squirrels

Kat,

"...both moth balls and pine cleaner have worked for my mom keeping various rodents, cats, dogs, seagulls and crows away from the garbage for the past 40 years or so."

Thats a lot of moth balls and pine cleaner! I guess I have saved a lot of money over the years by not buying all those moth balls or pouring our pine cleaner in the garbage. By the way, if they work so well for your Mom, why aren't you using them?

"Do you have a suggestion, or just like shooting other people down?"

I suggest that you and anyone else who has absolutely no successful experience in getting a bunch of squirrels out of a garage stop telling Josie how to get the squirrels out of her garage. I have never had to deal with the problem of squirrels in my garage, so, unlike you, I am not dreaming up suggestions for Josie to try.

Josie,

Let us know if those pine cleaner soaked rags got rid of your squirrel problem. Let's hope they do, because Kat hasn't brought out the big guns of garlic, onions, and marigolds yet.

MM


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RE: Red Squirrels

Hi guys,I went to Damariscotta today and bought a Havaheart
squirrel trap.So I should be all set.Thanks so much to everyone.Regards Josie_2


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RE: Red Squirrels

The red squirrel topic is what initially led me to the Garden Forum site; thank you, Josie!

Can you all forgive me for stretching the topic to include chipmunks? Rascals, all the same.

"Our" chipmunks' appetites were whetted at the bird feeder. Their next course was bulbs. Last fall, we did what we could to decrease the amount of seed that the birds can scatter on the ground in the process of feeding. We _Hav-A-Heart_ trapped and relocated forty (maybe more, I quit counting) villains. Those that remained, and those that were born this spring have dug up every bulb in the garden--even and especially the summer bulbs I planted not so long ago.

So I'm back to trapping/relocating. We tried some expensive garden center "rodentia" repellent, which appears to be more of an attractant than a repellent. The _Hav-A-Heart_ method seems to be the most successful; but it offers only a momentary decrease in the "herd." Nature hates a vacuum...

The hard part is understanding why the chipmunks have just recently begun eating bulbs. Until this past year, we had hundreds of bulbs that were always left unscathed. Are there that many chipmunks/squirrels competing for food that their natural food supply is inadequate, and they need our pricey bulbs??? Or is it that their tastebuds have evolved?

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
--Maureen


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RE: Red Squirrels

Maureen,

"The hard part is understanding why the chipmunks have just recently begun eating bulbs. Until this past year, we had hundreds of bulbs that were always left unscathed. Are there that many chipmunks/squirrels competing for food that their natural food supply is inadequate, and they need our pricey bulbs??? Or is it that their tastebuds have evolved?"

That's a very good question and you aren't the only one who has experienced evolving tastebuds in squirrels and chipmunks. We had some gray squirrels that developed a specific taste for tomatoes and taught that to their young. Until we trapped and killed that "tribe" of gray squirrels our tomatoes suffered.

I think you have experienced the same problem with your bulbs. Some chipmunk accidentally discovered a tasty bulb, liked it, and taught her young to eat them as well, and so you now have a local tribe of bulb-loving chipmunks.

"We _Hav-A-Heart_ trapped and relocated forty (maybe more, I quit counting) villains."

We also use Havahart traps, but we release the birds that occasionally get trapped and kill the varmints. When you "relocate" your varmints, you are frequently just transferring your problem to someone else. And in some states and municipalities, it is illegal to "relocate" the varmints.

Perhaps one reason you are experiencing only a momentary decrease in your herd is that other people around you are relocating their problems to your neighborhood. Nature does abhor a vacuum, but you may be accelerating Nature. This reminds me of that classic line from Pogo Possum comics (many years ago), "We have met the enemy, and he is us."

MM


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RE: Red Squirrels

Hi Maureen,so sorry about your bulbs.We have chipmunks too and I still have my red squirels.The havaheart trap I bought was not for RED squirels.I found out they are not heavy enough to spring the trap.They enjoyed the Pepperidge Farm toast and peanut butter and now chatter at me(for more?)from the top of a roll of carpet.The local animal warden has lent me a smaller trap.I thought I would let them enjoy the 4th of July before I start moving them out.I just hate doing this stuff.Regards Josie _2


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RE: Red Squirrels

MM,

Thank you for your thoughtful response. Indeed, I sense I am embarked upon a battle as described by Pogo. Good info regarding the legalities of relocating. I did put a lot of thought into the specific locale that I chose; it is far from any dwelling. Likewise, the property where I garden is removed from other dwellings. Lastly, what the laws be 'round here, who knows.

While I own that there is something inherently wrong in relocating, it is what I believe I'll continue to do. At the least, this thins the herd. Perhaps a focused effort on trapping/releasing now--before the juveniles attain sexual maturity--would be a good idea. Relocating might be death for these guys; yet, outright killing is not something that needs be considered.

Will we enjoy perusing bulb catalogs with abandon? Not likely. But what is spring without daffodils...

The message on a friend's answering machine says, "Well, technology wins again." In this instance, I'd say, "Well, Nature wins again." I can live with that. I won't employ mothballs. But the one thing that remains troublesome to me is that I've begun wondering what bulbs taste like. I'll bet they are good.

Josie,

Cheers! MM's suggestion that the relocation place be well considered and "lawful" is worthwhile. Peanut butter does seem to be the thing. Although, a "dry" trap has worked for me, too; these creatures are inquisitive. I'll bet the ones chattering the loudest are males...

Thank you for your consideration and best wishes with meeting your enemy.

--Maureen


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RE: Red Squirrels

Maureen,

"I'll bet the ones chattering the loudest are males..."

Grin. Now that was subtle.

MM


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RE: Red Squirrels

Josie:
Buy a small animal box trap from the hardware store. Inside the trap put a piece of bread with peanut butter, and sprinkle sunflower chips on top of the peanut butter. check the trap every day. The animal isn't hurt, and can be relocated to a different place. Good luck, phil


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RE: Red Squirrels

Hello Clownwacko I have bought 2 Havahart traps(1 for regular squirrels and 1 for red squirrels and I still can't trap the little devils.They help themselves to the bait and the traps spring shut without them inside.So the bird feeders have gone and I hope the squirrels will leave my garage too.One good thing is that our woodchucks have left,thanks to our dogs roaming around outside. Regards Josie_2


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RE: Red Squirrels

Josie_2,

"I have bought 2 Havahart traps (1 for regular squirrels and 1 for red squirrels) and I still can't trap the little devils. They help themselves to the bait and the traps spring shut without them inside."

Unless there is something mechanically wrong with your traps, it is virtually impossible for a squirrel to eat the bait and not get trapped inside. In over a hundred catches I have had only two cases in which the animal got the bait and got away. The first time was when I had placed the trap on a slope and the squirrel bounced around enough inside the trap to cause it to roll down the hill. A design flaw of Havahart traps is that the door latch mechanism releases if the trap is rolled upside down. From that experience I learned to place my traps on reasonably level spots. More expensive live-catch traps don't have that flaw, but they do cost more and they aren't locally available. I got my traps locally.

A couple of months ago I had a second escape, this time from a level placement. By doing a little "Crime Scene Investigation" I was able to piece together a probable explanation. The key piece of evidence was a hole in the ground near the empty trap.

Apparently I caught a partly grown gray squirrel which was nearly too big for the trap (a smallish double-door chipmunk/ground squirrel/red squirrel trap) and the animal dug with it claws through the openings in the bottom of trap into the ground and got hold of a small tree root and used that as leverage to tip the trap over. The depth of the gouge in the ground and the marks on the little tree root indicated considerable strength.

The next day what appeared to be the same squirrel was chattering noisily at me from a nearby tall tree. It's like he was bragging about his escape from my little trap. He kept up the tirade. So I shot him out of the tree with my 22-caliber airgun. He was a little bit too confident.

Josie, is it possible that mice or voles are stealing the bait from your Havahart traps? They are small enough to squeeze between the wires of most Havahart traps, and they like all kinds of bait. And, if an animal just brushes up against the external trigger mechanism, it can be enough to set off the trap even though the animal is not in the trap at the time. Falling twigs, acorns, and sometimes even leaves are enough to set off my small trap, which seems to have a hair trigger.

You might want to continue to experiment with your Havahart traps. Normally they are not easily defeated by squirrels. Read the instruction sheets to make sure you are setting the traps properly. Just out of curiosity, what are you using for bait?

MM


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RE: Red Squirrels

Hello MM,my first and second attempts were a slice of toast spread with thick peanut butter decorated with whole peanuts.I cut the bread in half and placed one piece in each side.
My third attempt I decided to cut the toast in one inch squares.I had hoped the collecting of the smaller pieces would activate the traps with the little devils nside.
They are red squirrels for sure,I have a concrete garage floor,its going to make a cosy place for them this winter as there is a monitor heater in there(to stop pipes freezing).I hate this trapping thing so I think a glass of wine will help fortify me?.
Heavens knows what will happen to my nerves if I ever catch one.As long as I still have a heart it will be OK.
You are right about the traps going off fast,the first time I placed my trap on an uneven part of the floor it went off just as I set it down.Regards Josie_2


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RE: Red Squirrels

I have been using powdered fox urine as a squirrel repellent. I found it last week at my local garden store. The product is called Shake-Away. $15.95 for 20 ounces. So far this seems to be working. I haven't seen any squirrels anywhere near my garden.

Here is the Website link to the company

http://www.critter-repellent.com/


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RE: Red Squirrels

Josie,

"...the first time I placed my trap on an uneven part of the floor it went off just as I set it down."

So, your traps are reasonably sensitive. It hard to see how the squirrels could get the bait without getting caught.

I use peanut butter on half a marshmallow. I spread some on both sides and just press the marshmallow down on the bait holder. The peanut butter sticks the whole thing to the upper surface of the holder reasonably well. I don't like to have anything loose in the squirrel traps in case it gets under the holder and interferes with the bait holder tipping and triggering the trap. My big trap doesn't have a bait holder as such, but has a trip plate that the animal steps on in order to get to the bait near the end of the trap. That bait is loose in the trap.

Peanut butter on bread or toast should work the same way. I don't think the extra peanuts are necessary.

It will be interesting when you do trap a squirrel. Perhaps you could interest him in a glass of that wine. (grin) Just don't let the squirrel bite you.

MM

P.S. I don't know if I would like fox urine in my garage. But you probably have a fair amount of squirrel urine in there by now, so it might not make a big difference.


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RE: Red Squirrels

Josie, My first question for you is, why do you think the little buggers went into the garage? Do you store your feed in there? If so....get some metal garbage cans to store it in. I had mine in rubbermaid containers in the shed and they ate a hole in it. Since I have used the metal containers, there have been none going in the shed or garage.

I fought the squirrels getting at my feeders for 6 yrs. I tried every baffler on the feeders from store bought to homemade. Use to vaseline or Vicks the pole so when they went to climb it they would back right off and go clean their paws. Everything I tried would work for awhile but then they would be back!
Finally, last winter I realized I wasn't going through nearly the amount of seed I had been. So, I watched for days...no red or grey squirrels in sight!! Baffled but thrilled!
Then came spring and one day I was out on the deck and saw some kittens playing up in the woods near the old rock wall. Got out my binoculars and low and behold, I saw the mother. Not a cat but a fox!!
Well, I figure that those litte kits looked nice and healthy because Mom had a great 'squirrel' diet!!
The family has moved on now, and the squirrels are back! Sure hope one of them uses the den again this winter.


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RE: Red Squirrels

Hi,gram NH yes I had bird feed in big Rubber maid bins,the little devils ate though the lids.I now have the feed in metal bins.I going to get that stuff from NY that Fred said worked for him.We do have a few fox visits around the house and I wondered why.Regarding your attempts to keep the squirrels from your feeder,my husband made me great bafflers for my poles NO squirrels can circumvent them and,I have been using these for ten years.We use Droll- Yankee feeders screwed onto a length of plumbers pipe prior to hammering the pipe into the ground place an approx.nine inch length of stove pipe over plumbers pipe(you need to put a nut on the plumbers pipe to stop the baffle sliding down it) cover top end with a metal lid(I have used a pie plate) put a hole in center first.The squirrels and chipmunks run up the pipe ,bang their little heads and come down looking Baffled.Regards Josie_2


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RE: Red Squirrels

Recently I adopted a cat. I HATE scooping his box, but I got a good idea. Each day I scoop his poop and clumped urine into a grocery bag in my attic and having babies thus far. Much cheaper than coyote urine... I just have to remember to remove the bags before summer!


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RE: Red Squirrels

MM,

"... and having babies thus far."

Perhaps you could explain that in a little more detail. I think a few words must have been omitted from your message. I get the general idea that you are using used kitty litter as an inexpensive substitute for commercial animal urine products.

MM


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