Some homeowners and gardeners have a problem with the California Ground Squirrel (CGS). Anywhere from a $30M – $50M per year problem, according to experts. These critters can damage food-bearing and ornamental plants & trees with their gnawing of bark and girdling the trunks. They can even undermine your homes’ foundations. Gardner’s may see stunted growth as well as plant damage due to CGSs eating roots and sprouts. They also burrow extensively, which can cause problems with livestock and machinery.
The California Ground Squirrel has been known to occasionally carry the bacteria that cause the bubonic plague. However, the CDC says panic is not called for; it’s something to keep an eye on but it’s not as dangerous as it was in the Middle Ages as we now have antibiotic treatments that successfully handle the disease.
These are different from tree squirrels. They burrow and do not head for the trees when surprised; they head for the safety of their burrows. They sleep, eat, reproduce, store food, hibernate and estivate (inactivity during hotter periods) in their burrows. Colonies can be large. California Ground Squirrels are seedeaters, but will also eat green grasses, veggies and fruits.
Homeowners can use fencing or other barriers to exclude the squirrels from certain areas. They can even plug holes in those areas. You can get baits and traps to control your CGS infestation. Check with your local county office for information on what to do with trapped CGSs.
The preferred traps used by many are the Squirrelinator and Havahart live traps. The Squirrelinator is a multi-catch trap holding 6-7+ squirrels at a time. You should bait the trap with items from the CGSs local food source.
If you opt to use poison bait, Wilco Ground Squirrel Bait is the way to go and highly effective. It’s a multiple-feed formula that is pelletized to mimic the CGSs’ natural food sources. It’s an anticoagulant bait with 0.005% Diphacinone. As always, read the label & keep away from humans, pets and other wild animals.
You’ll need to use a bait station with these baits “Wilco Ground Squirrel Bait Station”. It’s a simple station with two doors; the CGSs go in and eat, then leave. Wilco’s bait station has a Child Resistant Closure (CRC) cap for adding bait and is made of heavy-duty green plastic. It holds 2 – 4 pounds of bait and can be staked to the ground.
You can check with your local Hydro-Scape for the availability of traps and baits and as always, we are happy to help provide solutions to your landscape and garden issues.