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Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

America’s Least Wanted

America’s Least Wanted

Wildlife can be beautiful, and a treat to watch, but not when the animals in question are destroying your home or garden. Whether you’ve got squirrels nibbling your wiring or deer decimating your garden, here’s a quick reference guide for dealing with some of the most common household and garden pests:

Problems: Can damage lawns, eat crops, and have even been known to cause structural damage by digging under a building’s foundation.

Solutions: A good wire fence can keep groundhogs from your lawn or garden, but it must extend at least two feet beneath the ground to prevent the animal from burrowing under it. Ammonia soaked rages may also keep them away. Live trapping is also an option, but is best done before a mother groundhog gives birth or after her young have been weaned.

Problems: Destroys lawns by tunneling and creating mounds.

Solutions: You can purchase mole traps from your local hardware store, which can be placed right in the tunnels. Another easy way to rid your property of moles is to use a lawn roller. Lawn rollers are steel wheels that are generally filled with water and pulled behind your riding mower. Once filled, they are very heavy and will crush the mounds and tunnels. This is very effective, but not a one-time fix. You will have to do it on a routine basis.

Problems: These tiny, but destructive, rodents can cause serious damage to lawns, flowers, and vegetable gardens.

Solutions: Keep your lawn mowed short, and keep vegetation and brush away from flowerbeds, veggie gardens, and ornamental plants.

Problems: Can devastate gardens and ornamental plants.

Solutions: Install a deer fence. Deer fencing should be at least eight feet high to be effective, as white-tailed deer have been known to jump as high as six to seven feet on a full run. Or use a repellent. There are numerous commercial varieties, or try a homemade repellent, such as bone meal, soap shavings, liquid hot pepper spray, columbine, coneflower, goatsbeard, St. John’s Wort, meadowsweet, marjoram, peonies, trillium, foxglove, lavender, verbena, and many other varieties of plants.

Problems: Disturbs bird feeders. Can move into your home and destroy insulation, wiring, and more.

Solutions: Keep trees and overhanging branches away from your structure. Make sure all parts of the exterior of your building are maintained, and repair any rotted or damaged areas of eaves and soffits. Make sure your roof is in good condition. You can live trap squirrels near their access point to your home, repair any damage that enabled them to get in, then release them outside. To prevent squirrels from disturbing your bird feeder, install all feeders on steel poles at least six feet off the ground and far away from bushes and overhanging branches, and add a metal, cone shaped baffle at the base of the feeder.


1 Jaime McLeod { 06.12.13 at 12:03 pm }
2 Lana { 06.11.13 at 4:51 pm }

We also have a beaver problem. Their dams are flooding our land! What do we do?!

3 Darlene McConnell { 04.05.13 at 6:50 pm }

I have chipmunks that eat all of my currants! What to do?

4 Peg Pfahler { 04.05.13 at 4:56 pm }

HELP! The skunks are driving us crazy. They smell up our yard and house. Can’t stand it any longer.

5 sara { 04.28.12 at 8:48 pm }

moles, ground squirrels, gophers, not sure but our yard is destroyed…HELP..

6 whiskeefeb14 { 02.21.12 at 12:14 pm }

how do i keep skunks away?

7 Helen { 02.16.12 at 2:33 pm }

How does a person get rid of armidillos. They are digging up my yard and flower beds.

8 T { 02.10.12 at 7:00 pm }

A great deer and rabbit repellant is Milorganite fertilizer. It is inexpensive and mainly used on golf courses. The secret is, the fertilizer is made from human waste. It is not offensive to us, but they smell “human” and run. Regarding squirrels, a high powered pellet rifle seems to be working quite well for us.

9 Linda B { 02.08.12 at 10:06 am }

Using some form of really hot dried pepper helps keep the squirrels away from my suet feeders. Squirrels can be a real problem and trapping and releasing them miles away from your home is a good way to get rid of them. Trapped 7 squirrels using pecans and corn after one got inside my attic. Of course finding and repairing the entry into your home is key.

10 Shawn { 02.02.12 at 10:18 am }

Hi Sue.
Send me an e-mail at or
We can communicate there. I would need some detailed info. Where do you live? Property type. ponds versus streams, etc.

11 Sue Wilson { 02.01.12 at 5:50 pm }

What about beavers? They are taking down trees at the farm pond….and they are multiplying!

12 Shawn { 02.01.12 at 12:50 pm }

I had this problem once. We tied garbage bags around the cushions when we werent using them. Then we sprayed the bags with a liquid hot sauce.
Give it a try!

13 Mildred { 02.01.12 at 10:29 am }


14 Linda { 02.01.12 at 9:21 am }

I have the most problem with squirrels destroying my pation furniture cushions. My swing cushions have been totally torn to shreds. I guess they are using the stuffing for their nests. I can’t take the swing apart and bring it inside after every use. I set a trap with peanut butter and nuts but we have so many acorns on the ground, they weren’t interested in my bait.

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