A little over a week ago, it was Groundhog Day. One wonders exactly what it means why a day would be named after a fat little burrowing animal that has no claims to beauty or any spectacular physical attributes.
Well, some folklore associates the appearance of groundhogs with a change in seasons. Some folks actually believe that after spending much time in hibernation (late October to early February), groundhogs come out of their tunnels to let the world know about the coming of spring.
There is an explanation for the relationship with the groundhog’s emergence with the onset of spring but we won’t be going into that right now.
Rather, what we find interesting is why anyone would be interested in getting rid of such an auspicious animal. But before we get into that, let’s have a little info about groundhogs.
Groundhogs are also known as woodchucks or whistle pigs and are in the same family as prairie dogs and your good old chipmunks since they are members of the squirrel family.
As at the time of writing, the United States is home to about six species of groundhogs. All six species are omnivores that feed on plants hence their invasion of vegetable gardens and just about anywhere they can find a large collection of plants and some small insects like bugs.
Being heavy(weighing up to 13 pounds) and slow runners, groundhogs are the natural prey for carnivores like hawks, foxes,raccoons, coyotes, bobcats, dogs, bears, and some humans.
The groundhog is a natural excavator that leaves mounds of earth anytime they burrow around fields, the bases of trees, around the foundations of buildings, and along fences.
They engage in most of their activity during the day and you could spot some of them sunbathing when the weather is warm and burrowing underground when the sun is at its highest. Springtime is groundhog season because of the great weather that allows them to feed in the mornings and evenings.
They are found in open and closed forests, creeks, wooded areas, bushy areas, and pastures. And here’s is a fun fact. In spite of their heavy bodies, they are good swimmers and climbers too!
The Good Side of Groundhogs
Like all members of the ecosystem, groundhogs play roles that basically maintain the balance in the ecosystem.
For instance, they also provide shelter for other digging pests. They might have to abandon their burrows for one reason or the other and this vacant real estate easily becomes home to rabbits,foxes and other groundhogs.
Groundhogs are known as intermediaries in the ecosystem because as prey for carnivores like eagles, hawks, owls, and coyotes they ensure that those animals get food to eat.
As omnivores, they eat other pests like snails and grubs(among others).Interestingly,their burrowing activities can even be good for the soil as they can recycle nutrients, loosen the soil and allow air into the soil.
So why would anyone want them gone?
Groundhogs have a penchant for damaging gardens, farms, orchards, and field crops no thanks to their search for food and shelter.
But it doesn’t end there, groundhogs have been known to weaken the foundations of buildings and destroy lawns. In areas where there are underground wires, some of their burrowing activities have been known to result in electrical outages.
Why You Should Get Rid Of Groundhogs
There are several reasons for groundhog removal.
For one they love plants like soybeans, strawberries,cucumber, corn lettuce, alfalfa, and some underground insects that they often have to burrow underground for. This burrowing often leaves really ugly holes in garden centers and lawns.Such activities causes damage to both residential and commercial gardens and croplands.
Groundhogs need to feed and build enough body fat for the long months they spend hibernating during the winter months. So they spend a lot of their time eating just about anything they can get their snouts on in your back yard,including green beans, twigs, sweet corn and the barks of fruit trees! Consequently, that leaves enough damage wherever they search for food.
But beyond all that burrowing, groundhogs are also known to eat up seedlings that are still struggling to grow. So for folks who invest so much resources into maintaining gardens and croplands, having woodchucks around are a no-no.
Property managers, landlords, and even tenants would not want to see the whistle pig either.The reason is the structural damage that they cause when they burrow along fences and the foundations of buildings.
Over time these structures weaken and depending on the extent of damage, the costs of repair and maintenance can become significant.
How to Repel Groundhogs?
Groundhogs are also known to carry fleas, ticks, and rabies which are known vectors for a lot of diseases like Lyme and Powassan both of which are dangerous to both you and any pets you may have around.
Although the groundhogs is rarely aggressive to the point of attacking humans, you do not want to be close to a female groundhog with baby groundhogs because it will attack you if it feels threatened.
There have actually been cases of groundhogs biting humans.Thankfully, the groundhogs were not rabid and so the injuries did not become fatal.
Although groundhogs are essential to the ecosystem, they also cause a lot of damage and you’d do well to get rid of them as soon as you can.
But how do you know if you have groundhogs around?
Here are a few telltale signs that you might have a groundhog problem:
- Visible ridges crisscrossing your yard
- Multiple mounds that look like small volcanoes. These burrow holes are the entrances and exits of groundhog’s holes around your yard
- Loose,squishy soil
- The presences of dead and discolored grass that can be traced along a path.
- Tearing of roots
- Damaged flower beds
- The presence of claw markings on fruit trees and even ornamental plants.
What Do Groundhogs Hate The Most?
Groundhogs hate the strong smells like that which emanates from ground garlic and pepper. They also hate the smells from plants like lavender, oregano, sage, and rosemary among others.
So if you are looking to repel them you might grind some pepper and garlic, add some water before spraying the solution around the areas you want to keep them away from.
Another option would be to build a fence using plants like sage, lavender, and mint(more on that later).
Are Groundhogs Scared Of Loud Noises?
Yes. They are startled by loud noises so you could find a way to play loud music or make loud disturbing noises.
The trick would be to use this tactic at times when you are sure that they are active which is mostly in the daytime.
Will Noise Keep Groundhogs Away?
Yes. Using sounds as a repellent to groundhogs is a good tactic because if applied right, the effect could be likened to the discomfort you feel when you sit right next to speakers at a concert without any protective earplugs.The reason is that these animals have an extremely sensitive audio range and are sensitive to different types of noise.
This is the principle behind the use of devices known as ultrasonic repellents as a means of keeping groundhogs away. Just as loud noise can be used to deter groundhogs from an area ultrasonic noise has the effect of generating disconcerting high pitched sound that will keep them at bay when used right.
Do solar mole repellers work?
Getting Rid Of Groundhogs
Now that you have discovered the presence of some groundhogs around, here are some ways pest control methods to get rid of them
Set Baited Traps
Before you start with this method, we recommend that you put on thick gloves. We also recommend that you find out what the law (federal, state, and local) say about trapping these animals because it is illegal in some places to trap groundhogs. Once you are in the clear about, using baited traps is the more humane method of getting rid of groundhogs than toxic chemicals.
With a baited cage trap all you need to do is to place some fruit (preferably cantaloupe) on a trail that leads to the inside of the trap. Be sure to place some pieces far enough inside of the trap. This way when the groundhog gets well into the trap,it snaps shut.
There is a trick to using this method though. You have to be smart about the location of the trap. We advise that you leave the traps around the entrance to any of the groundhog’s hole so that it gets to see it first before other ground hogs.
You also want to make sure that you place it before daylight because groundhogs go about their business early in the day. Once you have trapped it, you could release it somewhere else or kill it depending on what the law says.
Use Repellents To Keep Them Away.
You could also, use certain repellents (more on those later) to get rid of them.
But when using repellents, you should have an exit route for the groundhog to leave from. So when you place the repellent around the areas where you want to leave,they are forced in a certain direction that leads away from those areas.
You might have to repeat this process over and over again until you finally get rid of them.
Drive The Groundhogs Out Of Their Homes.
This is another great option for getting rid of them and there are different ways to do this.
One method is to flood their burrows so that they are forced to look for dry land. If that does cut it for you could opt to fumigate the burrows by putting carbon monoxide inside. The carbon monoxide are packaged as gas bombs .
With fumigation, you might need to seal the burrow and any other holes that might be around. The downside with fumigation is that carbon monoxide is dangerous to you and your pets, so you might need a completely safe alternative
One environmentally friendly method is to use scare tactics where you use different methods to get these animals to leave their burrows for a “safer” destination.
You might opt for scarecrows and spinning pinwheels but these do not work long-term. Or you could opt for the windchimes, lawn windmills, or portable music players (depending on how close your neighbors are to the house).
There is also the option of using the ultrasonic repellents that we spoke about a few headings back. These are essentially devices that are built to emit ultrasonic pulses that are disconcerting to groundhogs.
You could actually use ammonia to as a pest control to get rid of groundhogs. The idea is to pour ammonia down the groundhog’s burrows. This might be a tedious task because you would have to go about searching for the burrows.
However, once you have discovered the groundhog’s hole and you pour some ammonia into it, you can rest assured that the groundhog would leave ASAP.
You might also have to keep at this method for a while. At least until you have gotten ammonia down all their burrows.
Kill Them for Food
Some folks who have sampled groundhog meat claim that it tastes good as long as you remove the scent glands under the armpits.
A large groundhog can offer several servings of meat.So if you don’t mind a different kind of meat, why not shoot or trap(using lethal traps)some of them for food. At least you won’t have to worry about where to dispose of them.
How to Prevent Groundhogs from Moving in
It is one thing to get rid of groundhogs and it is another to keep them away for good.
In our opinion it is best to prevent them from coming around in the first place so you don’t go through the hassles of getting rid of them. Even when you have gotten rid of them, it is in your best interest to prevent them from returning.
We have put together some tips that will deter groundhogs from moving into your premises.Once you understand how deterrents work,you are in a better position to use it as a pest control measure .
Groundhogs are scared of cats, dogs, and humans.
They use their keen sense of smell to detect predators and given their primordial fear of these predators, they avoid any semblance of their presence.
So you can try using you could try using any of human hair, cat litter, dog fur, coyote urine, fox urine or dog urine to create the impression that these predators are around.
The groundhog detests spicy foods and few things are as spicy as cayenne pepper. You could try scattering red pepper flakes. Another alternative is to create a pepper spray using water and chopped peppers. You then spray this location around groundhog burrows and holes with a spray bottle.
You might have to continue using the pepper spray option over and over again especially during the wet season.
If you can lay your hands on some blood meal, then it is another great natural repellent that you could use to get rid of groundhogs.Blood meal is a fertilizer so you could use around your vegetable farm, garden or cropland.
You could also use any of castor oil,epsom salt,talcum powder,agricultural lime as a natural groundhog repellent.The only thing with this kind of groundhog repellent is that you have to keep using it.
Build a Fence
Building a fence is probably one of the best pest control methods to tackle your groundhog problem.
However, it is tedious work because the fence has to meet certain specifications to be able to keep the groundhogs away. Any fence meant to keep out groundhogs must be at least four feet high and at least 12 inches deep in the ground to be stable enough to keep them out.
You could also set up the front of the fence so that any groundhog that tries going over the fence gets thrown back.
Since groundhogs burrow under fences,you also want to ensure that the part of the fence that is buried inside the soil is bent at a right angle that keeps the groundhogs out even if they try to burrow underneath the fence.
An electric fence that is connected to a charger could be an effective pest control tool and a great groundhog repellent to solve your groundhog problem. Some of the best materials for fences include hardware or chicken wire.
Groundhogs are often found around areas with lots of shrubbery like golf courses, woodland,farms and fields.
So if you have any shrubbery, woodpiles and overgrown weeds around your environment then you are inviting groundhogs. Your best bet would be to clean up your yard.
So cut the grass regularly and clear any piles of wood or leaves that provides cover for them.Tall grass gives them cover from their predators and it is this security and availability of food that attracts woodchucks to your place in the first place.
Here are some steps to take:
- Harvest any crops that are ready for harvest
- Remove any debris, rocks, or wood lying around
- Trim your plants regularly
- Fill any abandoned burrows, holes, or tunnels with gravel
Commercial Groundhog Repellents
You could use commercial groundhog repellents like granular repellents or liquid repellents(depending on the situation)to keep them away in addition to limiting their destructive activities. Another great alternative are electronic repellents like Thanos Sonic Groundhog repellent. These sprinklers detect movement and spray some water in that direction.
Groundhogs are naturally edgy animals and it doesn’t take much to effectively scare them away from an area.
Given the fact that the electronic sprinklers are hardy and are low-maintenance, we believe that they are a great alternative to other repellents that might contain harmful chemicals. While the other repellents require some manual labour to ensure their efficacy, the electronic sprinklers does all the work.
Once it detects motion, it turns in that direction at sprays water that way .
Plant Natural Groundhog Deterrents.
As soon as you have successfully gotten rid of the groundhogs, one way to prevent them from returning is to plant natural groundhog deterrents around the areas you want to keep them away from.
By natural deterrents we mean certain plants with strong fragrances that are capable of driving groundhogs as far away as possible. Such plants include lavender, mint, sage, basil, and lemon balm among others.
You could plant these natural groundhog repellents along your fence as double protection to repel groundhogs.
What Is The Best Groundhog Deterrent?
Although there are quite a number of groundhog repellents, none of these groundhog repellents to choose from are as effective as the Thanos Solar-powered sonic groundhog repellent . Here is why
Solar Powered Mole Groundhog Repellent
The Thanos solar powered groundhog repellent takes the use of repellent devices a step further than others.
For starters, it is a different repellent as it is solar powered so it is powered by a solar rechargeable battery that ensures that you don’t need to replace batteries after extended use.
Secondly, it is designed for outdoor use so it provides extensive coverage that has a reach of up to about 40ft in diameter.
Since it moves in a circular pattern then you don’t have to bother about how it she get to effective it is in offering protection from groundhogs to your lawns, gardens,and planting beds.
More importantly, this groundhog repellent is essentially structured as an alloy steel spike that easily penetrates the soil and gets down to the areas where groundhogs dwell.
Thirdly, the Thanos Solar Powered Mole groundhog repellent is waterproof and is also designed to be protected from water so once you set them up, there is no need to uninstall them if it starts raining.
The best way to use this product would be to use about 12 units of this product per acre and with a frequency of 400Hz, it is recommended that users would need at least 2 weeks to completely drive any groundhogs around.
It is an effective and humane pest control method and a great alternative to using insecticides or traps to get rid of groundhogs. The best part is that this also repels other animals like moles, gophers, squirrels, voles and armadillos without a gas cartridge.
What Animals Does a Solar Mole Repeller Chase Away?
Groundhogs have managed to be both blessings and curses. To some farmers and homeowners they are more of curses than blessings because of the damages they are capable of inflicting on the environment. With that in mind, we recommend that you get rid of them ASAP.
One of the overall best groundhog repellent devices for doing this is the weather prone,sturdily built, eco-friendly, safe, and economical Thanos Solar Powered Mole Groundhog repellent.
It has been designed to attack the groundhogs deep down in their burrows and when the units are used right, groundhogs do not stand a chance.