California ground squirrel aka Beechey ground squirrel (Otospermophilus beecheyi), may look cute or even cuddly, but ground squirrels could be the worst things to hit your garden since your cousin came to visit in his RV. No, seriously, this last year saw an explosion of the squirrel population due to the late but heavy March rains which brought a profusion of good things to feed the ground squirrels. And multiply they indeed did.
First, don’t use poison to control squirrels. The possibility of poisoning another species unintentionally, such as an owl, a hawk, or a turkey vulture is too problematic. Instead, I opt to capture the squirrel in a live trap then remove them to the wild, or to Pacific Wildlife Care to feed their rehab birds. Selecting a live trap can be complicated. I prefer the larger live trap to capture the critter. I use a combination of peanut butter and birdseed to bait the trap, placing it on the trap trigger. Once I catch the squirrel, I cover the trap with a towel so as to calm the little guy down until I can release him in another suitable place, which is up to you.
Next month we will cover gopher control. Until then, Happy Gardening.
John Nowak, Plant Sale co-Chairperson