Monday, April 19, 2010

Get Rid of Groundhogs Permanently

Groundhog eating bird food:  Image by Sgolis

Getting rid of groundhogs can be achieved quick and easily. I discovered a few methods that are effective in permanently removing groundhogs without harming them.

Groundhogs that choose your yard to be their forage area will eat your vegetation or they may burrow under your deck or house.  

Groundhog on steps waiting for cat or dog food

Last summer two groundhogs decided to spend the summer foraging in my yard. They also burrowed and weakened my retaining wall.

 My home resides on a ridge and a ten-foot retaining wall keeps my yard intact and home secure.

The retaining wall burrow had many living space that took up  fifty feet, with many entrances and separate living spaces for the offspring and other family members. 

While the groundhog may be cute and the babies adorable, they can cause major structural damage from their vast tunneling system and devour your prized flower and vegetable gardens in under a week.

Tips for Getting Rid of Groundhogs

  1. Install a dog house an get an outdoor dog.  Groundhogs are terrified of dogs.  
  2. Cover groundhog burrow holes in your yard with a cement cap. 
  3. Buy a Scarecrow motion activated sprinkler.  This pest control product is easy to install and it gets the job done.  Groundhogs are afraid of water and should the the rodent come 1000 feet of the scarecrow the sprinkler will emit a powerful burst of water that hits the groundhog and gets them wet.  They are terrified and run back to the forest.  What I like about this product is that it is a humane way to train groundhogs to stay out of your yard.  It does not take much, if the groundhog is uncomfortable they will move to another location.

More tips for Getting Rid of Groundhogs

  1. Purchase a live animal trap or clean a used trap with dawn dish soap.  I clean the trap by rinsing it with soapy dawn dish soap and then I rinse it well with the garden hose.  I set the trap out in the sun to dry.  When the trap is dry I put on latex gloves before I handle it.  If the groundhog smells the human scent they will not enter the trap. 
  2. Get the trap ready by laying newspaper on the bottom of the trap. Fold the newspaper in half so that it fits inside the trap. Bait the trap with a red juicy apple.  I cut the apple in half so that the scent of the apple will lure the groundhog to the trap and encourage the rodent to enter the back of the trap.
  3. Set the trap up against the side of your home, shed or garage or conceal it under shrubs or bushes. Cover the trap with a twin sized blanket but do not cover the entrance. On the day that I plan to trap the groundhog I will stay close to the trap, I never leave traps unattended. 
  4. Once the groundhog is trapped I will cover the entire trap with the blanket. I find that the blanket that covers the trap comforts the groundhog and they are not as terrified. Put on thick protective gloves and handle the trap carefully, never pick up from the sides, only carry the trap with the handles.
  5. Relocate the groundhogs to a wooded area that is across water.  Water will prevent the groundhog from coming back to my yard. I think that trapping is an permanent method to remove groundhogs from your yard and garden. 

Use caution when opening the trap door as the groundhog may show aggression.  In my experience the groundhog did not want to leave the trap and I needed to coax him out with apples.  I did not rush the groundhog to leave the trap, I waited patiently until he exited on his own.

The above groundhog images I took.  The introduction is a groundhog that was born in May 2011.  The groundhog on the step is approximate 28 months old, the size is quite smaller from a fully grown groundhog. Both groundhogs have been trapped and relocated.

The motion activated Scarecrow sprinkler is something every gardener needs for pest control.  It works great for deer, stray cats, raccoon and groundhogs as long as they don't try to sneak by the sprinkler.


Shari said...

I too battled groundhogs and used the same system. It worked well until the day I caught a skunk instead of a groundhog! I started keeping an eye on my cage after that and never set it up overnight again. Love this site, you've got a lot of interesting reading here.

Sgolis said...

Shari...a skunk...Oh my...word to the wise is to never trap at night. Groundhogs do sleep at night; however they are up bright and early to get a fresh start at eating everything, even the outdoor pets food. The one groundhog that took a liking to cat food would come running out of the woods and then sit at the end of my driveway. This year I don't have any problems with groundhogs. (Knock on wood). Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting.

Sgolis said...

I received a message stating that ammonia is an effective way to repel groundhogs and other garden pests. I do not condone this repellant because it is toxic; it will irritate the skin, eyes and digestive track. It is also toxic to plants, birds and the environment. I am not one to hurt any animal. I believe in pest control that is humane.