Just because winter is setting in doesn’t mean you can let your guard down when it comes to pest control. As a matter of fact, this time of year calls for even more vigilance as the weather causes food to become scarce and if pests like deer find your yard hospitable they are likely to be an even bigger nuisance in the spring. Deer are not the only pest you need to be worried about at this time of year. Squirrels are notorious for digging up newly planted Tulip bulbs as well as looking for a warm bed for the winter. We’re going to share some tips for you to combat these pesky critters.

There is probably no animal that causes more headaches for gardeners than deer. Regardless of what area of the country you reside in, they are a problem. Regardless of what you might hear there is no such thing as “deer proof.” The reality is that deer will eat virtually anything if they are hungry and this includes plants that they might avoid under normal circumstances.

All is not lost, however; there are strategies you can employ to minimize their impact on your garden:

  • Physical barriers such as fences 8 feet or higher can keep them out of your yard.
  • Deer are skittish so motion sensors that set off a flash of light or make a noise can spook them.
  • Repellants can be effective but you need to use more than one and they need to be rotated to maintain their effectiveness.

It is a common misconception that squirrels hibernate during the winter. In fact, while you may see them less in the winter squirrels remain active all year round. They are constantly foraging for food or looking for shelter and some species actually mate during this time of year. These activities cause squirrels to dig up your newly planted spring-flowering bulbs as well as raid feeders full of seed that you put out for the birds. They also may try to use your home as a place to stay warm. This can be particularly problematic as they can chew on electrical wires which can lead to a fire.

Here are some strategies for dealing with squirrels at this time of year:

  • When you plant your spring-flowering bulbs try putting some cayenne pepper or squirrel repellant in the hole with the bulb.
  • Preventing squirrels from entering your home is a lot easier than getting rid of them once they do. Trim your trees to keep them off your roof and make sure to seal up potential entrance areas such as those around pipes, gutters, etc. 
  • Inspect and repair any damaged exterior portions of your home such as rotted wood.

If you have questions about deer, squirrel or other winter pests please feel free to send us an e-mail or why not share your “home remedies” on our Facebook page for others to try!

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