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DukeBoxer

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Is it just me or is anyone else having problems with squirrels knocking over and biting their plants lately. Almost everyday I come home, some of my seedling phrags are knocked over and other plants have bite marks in their leaves. One ripped out a Max. tenuifolia bulb with 2 new growths on it and another ate a new growth on a seedling cattleya I have and also took a bite out of a Lycaste aromatica bulb.

Does anyone know of any squirrel repellent or something that might keep them away?

-Josh
 

Rick

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At my house it was rats and wrens. Not squirrels. I ended up snap trapping the rats. The wrens weren't as bad, and I wouldn't have bothered with them, but they got stuck in the sticky traps I put out for the rats:(

Now I haven't seen any wrens around the house at all this past year:(:(

Another friend of mine has had big problems in his Catt house with racoons, but there are so many in his neighborhood he couldn't trap them all. All he could do for his GH was try to make it more impervious.
 
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Barbara

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There used to be a product on the market up here called Ropel. I used it on outdoor plants that baby squirrels were eating and they stopped immiently. I also used it on the ground after planting bulbs in the fall, so they wouldn't fallow me and dig them all up. Worked like a charm, except it had to be reapplied after a heavy rainfall. Still, I would be very careful about applying substances to orchids leaves since it could damage the cuticle that protects the leaf. Ropel is meant for outdoor use.

Squirrels will also go into a live trap for relocation very easily, especially if there's peanut butter involved...
 
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Eric Muehlbauer

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I'm having the same problems...plants knocked over every day, the water filled masdevallia pot gets knocked over so they can drink out of it....fortunately they haven't eaten anything. Unfortunately, I think trapping/killing would be a waste of time...there are so many squirrels in my neighborhood that they will just move in. I once had 13 squirrels trapped in my roof...their removal left my yard squirrel free for maybe...a week? Take care, Eric
 

dave b

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Ive had squirrel problems off and on. There is still a nice bite mark in my Ang. Sesquipedale from a couple years ago. I didnt mind too much the occasional small hole dug in bark, but once they put holes in that one, i put my foot down.

I found a pretty good solution. My pellet gun. Now that ive pissed off all the PETA members... I only pump it once. It only stings a bit if at all. I know this personally, because when i was younger, my friends and i used to have bb gun wars. I have had very few problems this year. A month a go, i walked out on the balcony with my water sprayer pumped and ready to water plants. A squirrel was there, and got a good blasting of water. I think it disliked that more than the pellets.

And now for a nicer story---over the winter, the kids sled was out on the patio. It had a quarter inch of ice in the bottom, some chunks broken loose. A squirrel came up and began breaking off pieces of ice and eating them. Sat there for several minutes, munching away. Kinda felt bad about shooting the little buggers after that.
 

Heather

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I've had no problems with any bugs this year on my plants outside. And we've got squirrels and slugs and all that (turkeys too!)

However....I've had to battle deer and groundhog in the past (tho not with orchids.) What about a hot pepper (capsaicin) spray? Natural and still a deterrant.
 

DukeBoxer

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Barbara, I've heard of Ropel before, I remembered the name once I read it. I used to see it at the garden center I worked at. I don't know about that though...maybe I could spread it around the plants on the ground.

Heather, good idea. I actually have a hot pepper with maturing fruit on it right now. I could throw those in the blender with a little soap and water and spray it on the plants.
 

Carol

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There is a product on the market called "Deer Off" that smells and burns the eyes like hot pepper. Works great on deer and rabbits, but I don't know about squirrels. Nothing deters the ground hogs that eat anything that they want in my perennial bed. Best part is that it lasts on the plant for months.
 

TheLorax

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I've got big problems here with deer, rabbits, raccoons, English house sparrows, herons, chipmunks, and squirrels complete with an opossum knocking over our garbage cans and rooting around in our composter nightly. Squirrel damage is particularly bad this year because the oak and hickory trees are masting.

I've tried every product known to mankind to deter them. I've got shelves devoted exclusively to all the products that didn't work. I've even got several owl and snake decoys strategically placed on my property and the squirrels frolic underneath them carefree doing their squirrel "thang". I have very expensive heron decoys that did nothing but provide a nice place for the herons to land and preen themselves. And, when I bought them I religiously moved those decoys around daily so that the problem critters wouldn't catch on that they were decoys. What ever you do, don't spend hundreds of dollars buying decoys because they only provide relief for all of a week or so before the critters catch on. I should also add that I tripped over that snake decoy I put out to deter the squirrels so many times I lost count.

I've let my kids pee outside to mark my property and plants as being mine. Didn't work at all however the kids enjoyed peeing outside so much that breaking them of the habit has been difficult to say the least and I couldn't help but notice I have quite a few dead plants out there from boy pee.

Squirrels are by far one of the most destructive at this time of year. They uproot plants out of the pots trying to bury their nuts and I frequently don't find the uprooted plant in time to get it back in the medium. The only products so far that provided some relief were cayenne and chili powders. I bought a case of it from Sam's club. I sprinkle with glee and thoughts of squirrels getting a good dose of that in their mouths makes me smile. The problem with the red cayenne or chile pepper is that you have to reapply it every time it sprinkles or rains. The critters soon learn when to come back to nail your plants. Human urine doesn't work to deter anything based on my experience here.

What works no fail for me is-
1) Placing all of my newly planted tree and shrub saplings in vented tree protector tubes until they are mature enough to withstand the critters. This protects the trunks of the trees from rabbits stripping the bark which girdles them and deer stripping plants of leaves. The deer still get the leaves sticking out of the tubes but they generally don't get enough to kill the tree. I have also used these tubes on herbaceous perennials with great success. What ever will fit inside the tube will be safe and squirrels do not like going in the tubes. Tubes can be purchased in sizes with a diameter capable of fitting around most pots.
2) Laying chicken wire down after planting bulbs/rhizomes then covering it with a thin layer of top soil. The bulbs/rhizomes will grow right through the chicken wire and the squirrels can't get to them to dig them up to dine on them. I've got some Platanthera out there right now under chicken wire.
3) Electric shock fences work very well for raccoons (squirrels scurry right under the wire) and just about critter however a bird which will fly right in over the wire and land in the middle of what ever you are trying to protect. The racoons get zapped by one of those and that's the last time they will try to enter an area surrounded by one of those cheap dog zapper fences you can buy at Lowes. After a while, you don't even need to run electricity to the wire... they stay away.
4) Draping fruit tree netting over plantings. This is risky, it can entangle species that are desirable. If you use it, you have to check it a few times daily to release any species of birds that aren't English house sparrows or European starlings. I got tired of those two species attacking and destroying plants (and other birds) to get insects to feed their young. Those two species we humanely destroy if they are in our nets- sorry if there is anyone out there who is a member of PETA but we do humanely destroy those two species.
5) Setting traps for stray and feral cats that dig up plants to urinate and defecate in large planters and raised beds. Works great. I had a trap out there recently by my raised acaule bed because I saw a stray cat through my kitchen window out there digging in that acaule medium like it was a sand box two days after I got it in the ground. Animal control comes and picks up every cat we trap for free. The wild ones are euthanized. Sorry again to any PETA members out there.
6) Fully enclosing any area where desirable plants grow by setting stakes and adding chicken wire. Sometimes squirrels still "drop in" from a close limb. I either remove the limb giving them access or cover the top with more chicken wire.
7) Adding hardware cloth below grade around beds. This stops moles and shrews. They could always come above ground and go over the hardware cloth but for some reason they don't.
8) I relocate chipmunks about 10 miles away in an area on forest preserve property that has a lake. I don't do it right now because it would be a death sentence but I trap them and relocate them up through the end of the month of July. They've got ample time to create an area to hibernate at their new location. There are three out there that I missed right now having a field day. I am finding clumps of sunflowers germinating in quite a few pots.
9) Trees that die are left in place unless they are close to the house. Hawks will sit in them during the day and use them as a vantage point from which to hunt. And then there is the night shift. Sometime shortly after dusk, owls begin using the dead trees as a vantage point to hunt. Many species of hawks and owls are quite capable of attaining lift with a whole rabbit or a squirrel or a chipmunk and they do around here on a regular basis.
10) Build a greenhouse and put it on a cement slab so they can't tunnel under and close off all the areas where utilities were brought in so the squirrels can't get in where it's nice and warm.

The opossum and the skunks I leave alone. The opossum only messes with my garbage cans and composter and the skunks are grub control for me.

Not much more I can do. Squirrels are a swear word around here at this time of year. Maybe we should start a new thread and exchange nice squirrel recipes. I understand squirrels, along with pigeons, were a staple during the Depression. I hate squirrels.
 

TheLorax

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Forgot to mention I have also tried opening up the back doors to let my dogs chase them off. Didn't work and took me a few hours tracking down my dogs from the local area. Squirrels came back as soon as dogs were back in the house.
 
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Eric Muehlbauer

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Pee definitely does not work. Believe me, I know from experience. Forget little boys....Daddy marks his territory.....even off the top deck at night....(its a "guy thing"....what can I say?)...doesn't work on raccoons either. Hot pepper only works if its in an oil base that doesn't wash off instantly. In an oil base, it may work for a few days...but you then end up with plants covered in oil...and there is never any guarantee. I once filled a bird feeder with habanero's, and rubbed habanero juice all over the outside...squirrels didn't notice a thing. (Wait till next year....my son ordered- from the UK- seeds of Bhut Jolokia and Bih Jolokia....the hottest peppers in existence...750,000 t0 1,000,000 scoville units! They are sitting in my cabinet, waiting for spring....) But I was excited...I saw a chipmunk 2 blocks from my house...I have never seen one on any part of Long Island, other than Prospect Park, where they had been intentionally (re)introduced. Take care, Eric
 

TheLorax

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Pee definitely does not work.
I was desperate, what can I say.

I was walking around my house today with goldenrose showing her all that the dear darling squirrels had done to unprotected areas and potted plants. I don't think squirrels are high on her list either. Are squirrels high on anyone's list at this time of year?
 

Hien

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My grand mother will advice you to:
- get a cat. Not a nice looking cat (this has nothing to do with usefulness, infact it will hinders his ability to work, since he will spends all his time grooming himself)
-before buying the cat, pick it up by the skin fold at the back of his neck. if he pull all his legs up, tightly into a ball, he will be the meanest, fastest , most nimble cat you've ever seen in your life) throw away all the cats that hang their legs straight down when you meter out this test.
-And if you follow my grand mother's advice. Not only you will not see any squirrel in the 50 miles radius, you will not see any rat, bird either.

Oh, by the way, it does you no good to lock the cat inside the house all day, he needs to do his patrol work outdoors.
 

Hien

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Hien, are you joking?
No, because when a cat is in heat, all the male cats in the neighborhood are there, so my grand mother always test all the kittens. She only keep the baby that curles up in tight ball. The rest of the litter are given away (a very few peoples only going for look, they don't care if the cat does not do anything)
But generally, in the other countries, peoples are very practical, the cats are good for something, certainly not for running after the Feline Cuisine or Food Lion cans.:p
You can not castrate a male cat either, He becomes extremely docile after that (I seen it happen to one of our cats) He does not get mean to the rats anymore.
 
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I have always found that female cats are better then males at hunting (and ours are always spayed). I live in the concrete jungle so there are no problems with those kinds of pests, my parents used to get raccoons, rats, squirrels,mice, gophers, deer etc etc. They disappeared when my parents got three Rhodesian Ridgebacks and a cat. My mom even started feeding the squirrels in a mounted feeder, but they never dare come down from the trees.
 

TheLorax

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I've never seen a cat, feral or stray, try to take on a nice big Norway rat and they certainly wouldn't try to take on a raccoon or an opossum unless it was a juvenile. Squirrels, sometimes but generally only if they are ill or injured otherwise most squirrels easily out wit a cat.

Cats aren't really good for much other than companionship. I love every one of mine and will probably always have cats for the rest of my life but they truly are documented as doing substantially more harm to the environment than good which is something to consider. There are considerably more cons than pros to allowing cats to have access to the great outdoors. Spaying and neutering goes with out saying unless you are a breeder I suppose.

practicallyostensible- Very good that your cat is spayed. Wish everyone who lived around me spayed or neutered theirs.
 
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Eric Muehlbauer

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I have 2 cats...they can barely kill a mouse indoors. They play with them, then let them go. Even though I am in the middle of NYC, my mice are white-footed mice- the hantavirus kind! My cats are never allowed outside (ha-ha.....my son likes to take my old male out for trips in the yard...but he is carefully supervised.) My female was purchased from a breeder ( she's a Maine Coon) and we signed a contract saying she would never be let outside. Fine with me....she actually will not cross the threshold even when the door is open. Take care, Eric
 

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