(Editor’s note: After I wrote about the rats/vermin in Pacific Palisades, a CTN reader wrote that she was having problems with ground squirrels and when she called the county, someone recommended a gun. In response to this posting, I received this note.)
By JERRY SPENCER
I had closed the back of the house for a couple of months as the back bedroom and bathroom were not being used. When I went to re-open them, the disaster left behind by what must have been a hurricane shocked me.
The Christmas presents and cards stored in the back closet were destroyed, leaving tattered messes everywhere and decorations in the bathroom were ripped off the walls.
I saw what looked like a rat scurrying under the bed so I tried to catch it with big rat traps baited with yummy peanut butter. For three days the critter would eat the peanut butter, trip the traps and be gone again.
I went to animal control and got the humane trap (I told them I was catching a feral cat – shhhhh, don’t “rat” me out!). Sure enough, the next morning the trap had the most bedraggled animal in it I had ever seen! The poor squirrel with almost no hair and a tail like a rat due to lack of food, was almost relieved to see me.
I was shocked but realized it WAS a squirrel so I took him out to my front porch, set the trap down, pulled up a chair and gave him a lecture. (I have always had trouble with squirrels; my house is on a fire road against the hill and as many as 10 at a time could be seen running across the street to or from my yard.)
So…. sitting down on the chair, leaning over the cage, I told the squirrel, “You listen to me! I lived in the South and I can peel me a squirrel for stew without a second look.”
I shook my finger at him and sternly said, “I am going to let you go this time BUT you better tell your friends that if I see you or any of them on my property again, I’m gonna have me a whole MESS of squirrel stew!” I swear he was paying close attention. I shook my finger one more time and then let him out. He dashed up the hill and was gone.
The next day, there were NO MORE squirrels on the road, in the yard or anywhere around my house!!! NO LIE! That lasted for three years!!!!!! My neighbors all were going nuts with the squirrels, but my house was untouched by squirrel paws.
After the three-year hiatus, the critters were back. I found that they had apparently set up shop in the back of my yard.
Now let me give you a real remedy for squirrel problems, because after all, not many folks can make squirrel stew. I found the area with some holes and obvious hiding places. This time I got rid of them by first hosing one of the tunnels and watching where the water came out.
I went to the 99c store and got a bunch of mothballs and steel wool. I threw a handful of mothballs into each and every hole, poking layers of water, mothballs, dirt, water, steel wool and dirt, packing each layer down–and repeat. It took about four rotations in each hole to complete the job. I made sure things were packed down, ending with dirt.
The mothballs stink rodents out from the area and steel wool hurts to chew or dig. The water allows the dirt to harden into a solid mass around the two other ingredients.
This takes all the fun out of trying to set up squirrel housekeeping in a yard. Long after the mothballs have vaporized, the nasty odor remains in the dirt, so the sensitive squirrel noses really don’t want to return. Nothing in this remedy will harm the yard. It only makes it quite uncomfortable for digging rodents to move in. Every couple of years, you just do ‘upkeep.’ The big problem then will be the neighbors where the squirrels will set up their new digs.