Ground squirrels and gophers can be a major headache Their burrows can ruin the aesthetics of a well kept landscape and cause severe plant damage as they feed on roots. Ground squirrel burrows pose personal liability problems to property owners as persons can injure their ankles in rough uneven areas. Additionally, extensive burrowing activity may lead to irrigation problems, excessive water use, and erosion problems. On slopes, ground squirrels can be particularly menacing as erosion can help contribute to slope instability and ultimately failure. In recent years, this has become a major factor in recent litigation cases in California.
The California ground squirrel (Spermophilus beecheyi) can be found in almost all parts of California and can be a very destructive pest. Their burrows can pose hazards to machinery, pedestrians, pets, and livestock. They often damage both food bearing and ornamental plants by girdling the bottoms of trees and shrubs as well as irrigation lines. The damage from their burrowing can undermine structures, cause major erosion problems and dry out tree roots.
Ground squirrels also harbor diseases that are known to be harmful to humans, such as bubonic plague due to the fleas that they carry. Ground squirrels are easy to identify by the burrows they make and due to the fact that they are constantly above ground. The opening of a ground squirrel burrows is usually 3 to 4 inches in diameter. If left undisturbed, they typically continue to improve their burrow systems through the years. Some ground squirrel systems can become so complex and range anywhere from 3 to 30 feet long and 2 to 4 feet deep.
Ground squirrels are often about 12 inches long, while their tail can add another 5 to 9 inches in length. They often hibernate in the winter, but will usually wake up once a week. If the winter isn't extreme, these little critters can skip hibernation. To make matters worse, they can have 7 to 8 offspring a year, with the young usually emerging at only six weeks of age.
Ground squirrel control requires a thorough understanding of their unique life cycle and biology along with full knowledge of all pest control methods available, as timing is key in controlling their population. Ground squirrel management on a large scale basis or when a site borders open space usually requires an initial treatment to limit the existing population to manageable levels and then continuous monitoring and baiting program to prevent severe re-infestation problems. Call us today for a free no obligation quote. We guarantee results.