Oops I missed this question. I am rotating amongst three different sprays: Plantskydd, Deer Out, and Bobbex. It is important to rotate as they get used to a spray. It is also important to be spraying frequently. I have gotten better at using the minimal amount of spray to stretch it out - I spray a low-power stream at “deer nose” level, I don’t do a big wide spray like I was putting down a disease-control spray. Stretching it out is important, the stuff is expensive and if you don’t really stretch it there will be a temptation to not spray as often as you need to. The Plantskydd I mix thickly and fling drops on with a paint brush. These drops I still see a month later through a lot of rain. Then one of the other two can be put “on top” to protect the more recent growth.
A squirrel stripped 5 or 6 big pears off my seedling pear. Never ate one of them. Must have been mad at the world. Nice.
I had a similar thing happen when I was away last weekend - the squirrels went nuts on a few of my pear trees. No Chojuro or Fondante des Moulins-Lille this year Some of them they hauled away but there were lots just lying on the ground untouched.
Its been a frustrating squirrel year here, it was going reasonably well at the start but has turned worse than usual. I just switched to wet cat food bait to see if that helps. What is frustrating this year is I am having long periods with no squirrels and then (just as I go out of town for the weekend, it seems) a mob shows up and strips a bunch of stuff. There are many birds eating the bait so I need to refresh daily. If the cat food is not liked by birds that will be a big plus. I am trapping a lot of birds, the tube traps are very sensitive.
For some reason the whole problem is in the rear orchard, the front orchard is pretty much squirrel-free. 8/10ths of the traps are in the back but its not helping.
Any tips for breaking in a new tube trap? I just picked up a second wcs but the spring and set bar are really tight. Curious how i can loosen it up. My other wcs is working like a champ.
You must have a lot of woods around you that is a source of squirrel breeding operation? I’ve been good this year so far (until today)…only a few here and there. I can tell they are babies (this years). I think my local population got cleaned out a few years back and the population is growing back up. Every time i see one in the road i speed up and don’t swerve.
There is a lot of woods nearby, but I think its more the neighborhood bird feeders which keep them fed 24/7/365. I have seen over a dozen squirrels under some feeders nearby.
Oh God… yeah that doesn’t help.
Do you trap/kill all winter? You might want to look into that. It is way easier to get rabbits in the winter. I’d imagine squirrels stay pretty active in Maryland all year? Around here they will hibernate for weeks/month at a time when it’s really cold or if a lot of snow is on the ground.
I stop bating my traps in the winter. This year they are going to run 365 days out of the year.
As I’ve stated before, anything approaching from the ground here I’ve usually been able to stop by training a tree to have a straight trunk with first branches above 4’ and attaching about 32" of aluminum flashing starting as high above the ground as the first branch permits. Only squirrels can muscle up this before I add my axle grease- motor oil blend.
Today I learned that at a few sites the blend needs to be reapplied every couple weeks or so because the squirrels will sometimes keep trying to get up until they’ve removed enough of the slickner to get up. Reapplication appears to be working like a charm.
I’ve wondered previously how the squirrel copes with the greasy gunk in its fur
They don’t move around much in the winter and since I usually have cleared out all the squirrels in a wide area by fall I don’t see many at all. When I start to see squirrels I bait the traps again.
The birds are a key reason for my problems this year, I found three birds in traps this afternoon. Once the trap is triggered it is not going to catch any squirrel. I usually don’t trap many birds at all, maybe a couple a year. In general it seems like there is an over-abundance of wildlife this summer after the mild winter.
The squirrels here have also picked up their raid on my fruit. The peanut butter does not seem to be attracting them anymore. I guess my fruit is more appetizing. I never thought of using cat food. I thought squirrels were more vegetarians. What brand and type of cat food are you talking about and using? Last night I spotted a opossum by my trees. I’m sure cat food would be much to his liking. I just hope cat food doesn’t draw a skunk to my trap.
I had to strip my saturn peaches off the one tree. Stupid squirrel was back in there this morning. Its interesting how they just totally ignore the almost ripe plums (same tree) while searching out the peaches.
This is the year of the Possum. Coons just arrived last night. Have a heart trap and bullets are my best defense, but there are too many possums this yr. After watching the melons grow and almost ready to pick, deer paw them to pieces and the aroma fills the air. That’s enough to invite the coons. Maybe next year…
Interesting approach Alan. Could you oost a picture of your setup? Curious how the metal goes together.
I used the cat food for two days and trapped nothing with it. So I am back to peanut butter.
If you can I would set up the trap in the tree they are taking the fruit from, and smear lots of bait all around the trunk etc. Often when its right in their face like that they will be tempted. I just rigged a trap in my Mericrest this morning as the squirrels are starting to steal peaches from it. I have a few squirrels now which are really hard to trap. I think they may have seen dead birds in the traps and decided they are not friendly places…
Skunks love cat food!
So do raccoons
I’ve got one of the Chip n Dale brothers over here, stripping the trees bare. It’s amazing how such a small creature could eat so much. My Blue Healer is on the case though, he’ll soon be dealt with.