Getting Rid of Critters

Nocturnal creatures could be to blame for lawn damage in their nightly quests for grubs. Here's how to keep them away.
pest caught safely and painlessly with havahart

pest caught safely and painlessly with havahart

Figure A

Are you finding holes dug in your yard, sod rolled up, grass uprooted? Don't scold the family dog. The culprit could be any one of four nocturnal animals: the opossum, the skunk, the raccoon or, if you live in certain areas of the U.S., the armadillo. All of these critters can damage a lawn in their nightly quest for their favorite delicacy, grubs.

There are several ways to discourage your nightly visitors. One is to remove the food supply, either with a diazinon spray or beneficial nematodes.

A second possibility is to pin down hardware cloth over the affected area.

The third method is the Havahart trap, which you can bait with peanut butter, bacon, dog food or cheese. When the animal enters, a trapdoor is tripped, and the little pest is caught safely and painlessly. Then you get to release him as far from your property as you wish.

One consideration: When you trap a skunk, relocation isn't a simple matter. To help keep yourself smelling like a rose, hold a large tarp in front of you as you approach the cage and its occupant, then gently drop it over the trap. Place the trap in the trunk of your car with lots of papers underneath and the tarp on top. Take little Stinky to the woods, set the trap on the ground, carefully lift the cover and back off, grabbing the tarp as you beat a retreat.

You might also invest in a water scarecrow, a device that runs on a nine-volt battery and, when it detects motion, squirts the source of that motion with a stream of water.

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