[NAFEX] Peaches and squirrels

Scott Smith scott at cs.jhu.edu
Wed Jul 20 13:07:37 EDT 2011


I highly recommend the Kania brand lethal traps.  I have found them much more reliable than Havahart and similar live traps.  You need to start baiting them in March in order to get the squirrels cleared out by peach season -- if they have found the peaches already it is much harder to get them to stick their heads in a trap.  Also you need around one trap per quarter acre in order to get enough coverage on different squirrel approaches.  I have two Kania traps and recently ordered two more for the south side of my orchard which has been getting too much squirrel activity with traps on the N side only.  In my orchard I probably trap 3-4 dozen squirrels per year in my two traps.  Baiting the traps requires some trial and error, my method is to use pecans in the bait area and push them through the wire mesh to release the oils and so the squirrels will see bits of pecan they could directly grab.  Mast needs to be left outside of the trap to entice them in as well - I push pecans under the bar right by the entrance to do this (although the birds regularly steal it).  I have never heard of anyone failing with these traps if they were put out early enough and experiments with different baiting methods done to find one that works.  Peanut butter is another good bait to try.

The peanut butter / PoP method seems to be hit and miss, Mark Angermayer did a test and determined it was not lethal, but it may be uncomfortable enough to convince some squirrels to go elsewhere.  My squirrels just ate them, burped, and went back to the peaches.  The cage method is very good for a limited number of trees.  I successfully thinned them with a pellet gun but it requires constant vigilance and was just too much work for the reward.

Scott

On Jul 20, 2011, at 12:22 PM, Harrick, Barbara wrote:

> After years of cussing at and shooting at the squirrels in Northern VA suburbs (zone 6b), we finally built cages to put over the  4 dwarf peach trees. We used 1 x 1s and built frames and then staple gunned hard plastic mesh top to bottom. They are light (I can lift them myself). The squirrels tried to bite holes in them and got a few 2 x 2 inch holes going but abandoned the project. This is the first year I was actually able to eat my own peaches!
> 
> Barbara Harrick
> Senior Technical Editor/Writer
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> International Launch Services
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> Message: 5
> Date: Wed, 20 Jul 2011 11:21:46 -0400
> From: Richard D Hansen <rdhans01 at louisville.edu>
> Subject: [NAFEX] SUBJECT:  Tree Rats
> To: <nafex at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Message-ID: <4E26BA4A02000087000ABA9E at gwise.louisville.edu>
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> 
> I am at a loss at how to handle the fluffy tailed tree rat AKA squirrel
> problem. Just a few of them completely ate/destroyed most of the peach
> crop from 4 trees and the few plums I had from Howards Miracle. I had
> already trapped 7 of them this year (gave them swimming lessons) but
> they just keep coming. I tried hot pepper but it did nothing, they still
> ate them like crazy.  I have not tried the peanut butter plaster of
> paris balls because the reviews were mixed, but I am ready to try that
> now after this episode. I would like to prevent them from getting the
> apples before they ripen. What are your thoughts? Is there a decent
> repellent? Can any of you comment on the peanut butter/plaster paris
> balls?
> 
> Thanks
> 
> Richard Hansen
> Zone 6b
> 
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