From no squirrels to endless

Last year I didn’t have to kill a single squirrel or raccoon. There was the most extreme population crash of vermin I’d ever seen. Strangely, they started showing up again in early spring coming from outside my area apparently and now they are multiplying or at least increasing to the point that I keep killing them and more keep coming.

It’s strange because I don’t see them hopping in the trees as I always did before during big booms and, for the first time, they don’t go into any of my traps beyond just a couple.

They aren’t drawn by peanuts or sunflower seeds and are focused on my IE mulberry trees. I keep shooting them and more keep coming. It’s like my mulberry trees are on a squirrel Google GPS because when driving the population seems about normal.

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last year I had one big mean bruiser of a dude with nuts the size of… nuts, he didn’t come inside my back garden at all, but had claimed my entire property as his own. he fought multiple other guys to keep it too. I didn’t have to trap or do anything. I love that dude but

this year he had a girlfriend and there’s young dumb squirrels invading the back garden, so I’m trapping again. we are up to 4 and only just starting that season. I hope Big Guy sticks around, he’s never come near where the traps are.

maybe you had a Big Guy for a year, but he got hit by a car or otherwise indisposed, and the horde is fighting to take over your place for themselves and future progeny

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Nope, I manage almost 100 orchards in a wide range and it was an off year everywhere. No corpses on the roads, no coons in my traps or in anyone’s orchard, etc, etc.

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You are probably more right with the GPS, than you think. My dog will smell a mulberry with some fallen fruit from 50m away (maybe much more, but that’s when he shifts gears…) . And he should be allegedly tuned towards animal scents… They are a hedgehog magnet, too, while hedgehogs prefer worms, slugs and insects.

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With or without squirrels you will pick the same amount of mulberries, your mind just tells you to get rid of them because you learned that from your ancestors but I bet you if you really pay attention to the fruit you pick and the fruit you let go to waste, squirrels or no squirrels you would pick the same amount. also by killing some, other squirrels come it’s like getting rid of a gang, you get a new one coming in.

Ummm… I think the human brain is a little too complicated to diagnose from afar and in this case you miss my point entirely because I failed to flesh it out. I’m not worried about mulberries- they are just a forage crop for me, what I’m worried about is what they will be pillaging in a couple weeks when the mulberry crop starts to peter out and my orchard is in prime time plums and peaches. So far I’ve been able to harvest all of my apricots, Spring Satin plumcots and Flavor May peaches, but I’m greedy and there’s a lot more coming on the first really good year for growing high quality fruit for a while.

The other thing is the strange sudden appearance- my mulberry trees are up to 30 years old and have been there attracting squirrels for most of that time, just not this many in ratio to what I’m seeing elsewhere. Also, it is absolutely bizarre to me that they’ve suddenly stopped going into my traps after doing so for about 15 straight years when I used the same baits I’m using now. I got one to go in for a peach but they’ve mostly ignored sunflowers seets and peanuts for the first time ever.

Shooting them is very time consuming and it’s getting exhausting.

I have been fighting squirrels for over 50 years near both coasts, but it’s a battle that’s never won.

Except that baffles are a good way to go and I look forward to the day that I’ve converted my orchard to a fully baffled one. I will have to give up some nursery space to do it though.

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if I ever saw a native squirrel I would feed it and help it

all I ever see are the European grey. people feed em in the neighborhood- it’s not good

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Well, that’s “Natural” Selection for you. It’s supposed to be about describable characteristics of species’ local populations and take eons to occur, but I wonder if it applies to behavior over the very short run (a handful of seasons), too.

I know a lot of people say “ew”, but lot’s of good recipes for Squirrel Pot Pie on the web. The Joy Of Cooking edition from the 30’s had a good subsection for small game animals such as squirrel, rabbit, etc.

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Wait. Aren’t they native to eastern N America and made their way to europe from here?The european grey is just our eastern grey.

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There is a western species that is getting outcompeted by eastern greys just like native European squirrels are getting outcompeted

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this is what I mean, we had native red squirrels here and the grey ones have out competed them. you rarely see them now

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Peanut butter is a popular bait but at certain times of the year they lose interest in it. I assume they are finding something they like better.

In this case, we are talking about a whole new population of squirrels. Almost the entire population starved out or experienced some disease that eliminated them entirely in my area. I’m saying that last year I didn’t see a single squirrel from late winter right into fall. Some that I killed recently were black squirrels which never even existed here until now- they used to be, like, Bronx squirrels and that isn’t a joke about their being black- the Bronx is south of me and that was the line of their existence. . .

We had this amazing disappearance of many types of wildlife, which also included raccoons, possums, skunks and fruit eating birds. Last year I harvested cherries for the first time without nets.

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My nephew likes to show me the edutainment videos that Mark Rober posts on YouTube, like his glitter bomb to defeat porch pirates. He showed me one that Rober did, titled “Backyard Squirrel Maze 1.0- Ninja Warrior Course”. From minute 4:00 to 4:15 he mentions that over the course of a week he put out a buffet of seven different nuts and seeds, and all four times he repeated the experiment the walnuts were always the one they ate the first.

Compared to peanuts and sunflower seeds, mulberries are very low protein. Baby squirrels require a lot of protein to grow and survive, so why aren’t their parents seeking out high protean food like they always have in the past?

I’ve always been able to lead them into traps with a trail of sunflower seeds.

I killed two more with my shotgun when I came home from work today.

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I have the same observation here, though there are not many squirrels in my neighborhood, most likely due to abundance of predators (foxes, coyotes, bobcats and all sorts of raptors). Five squirrels have been playing around in my front yard, very close to my house and I have been setting traps for them baited with peanut butter, sunflower seeds, peanuts and even walnuts, but they completely ignore my traps and are foraging the ground for something else. In all previous years, these baits have been very attractive to squirrels, but for some weird reason, not this year…

They are currently relatively far from my fenced orchard, but firstly, they will eventually discover it and secondly, squirrels have nested in my attic before, and don’t want that to happen again.

Scott says that his squirrels are also avoiding traps this year. If someone else says it I will have to assume that these are squirrels from outer space. :wink:

I never cease to be amazed by nature’s unpredictable variations.

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Squirrels (and birds) have robbed me blind this year. I don’t know what is different this year vs previous ones. Maybe the long span of high heat has robbed them of other food sources.
I’m going to try something novel on what I have left. I use surround in an off label way to hide the fruit as it starts to color up by adding nufilm to stick it thick on the apples. I think I’m going to add liquid fence along with some capsicum since there are months left before harvest. Maybe it will make them unappealing enough.

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We’ve lived on our current property for 8 seasons now. We have 3 peach trees. This is the forst year we’ve had squirrels completely strip trees of immature peaches. 1 tree is completely empty. 1 has maybe a dozen peaches left. 1 has a few dozen. But the rate at which they take the fruit probably means I’ll have none left to ripen.

We’ve used baffles, shiny metallic tins hanging from branches, irish spring soap, pepper wax spray, and a motion sensing sprinkler.

Nothing has deterred them.

Sigh

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