Monday, March 27, 2006

Fluffy-Tailed Little B*stards

I'm trying very hard not to obsess about squirrels.

Last fall I planted some 200 tulip bulbs in front of my house. Full disclosure: actually, I paid someone a ridiculous amount of money to plant 200 tulip bulbs in front of my house. "Just wait 'til spring," he said. "It will be glorious."

So Saturday I went out and counted: there are over 50 perfect little holes in my yard.

Squirrels. Eating my tulip bulbs.

My property is infested with squirrels. I blame the local tree-huggers who disguise themselves as Tree Service Guys. We had a couple of them here last fall. "Take down that one and that one," we said, pointing to the looming oaks that overshadow our house.

"Oh no. We can't do that. Oaks like that are rare in Minnesota. We just couldn't take them down. What would the folks at the Arboretum say?"

Well, we wanted to fit in in Minnesota. So we let the trees live. Creating, as every rodent in Minneapolis apparently knows, a 24-hour acorn buffet.

Now, it's one thing to be Squirrel Central if all they want to do is eat acorns. But when they go after my tulip bulbs- well.

This means war.

By the end of the weekend I concluded that my previous squirrel elimination method- running around the front yard yelling and throwing rocks- was not working very well.

Plan A being a flop, I went on to Plan B.

Last night I went rummaging through all the boxes in the garage until I found it: one of those supersonic animal annoyers. You know, those little boxes you plug in and they supposedly emit a sound that humans can't hear but bugs the hell out of vermin. I plugged it in the outlet that I think must be meant for Christmas lights in the front porch and turned it on.

I suppose the only thing to do is count the holes again and see if the gadget was any kind of deterrent.


I do have a bb gun in the garage....


Des_Moines_Girl said...

Good luck with the squirrels. Just don't buy any Acme brand rocket powered roller skates or hire an exterminator named "Elmer."

UbiCaritas said...

Try shaking baby powder around your tulip areas; squirrels absolutely hate the smell of baby powder. Of course, the stuff has to be applied after every rain and if your neighbors see you doing this they will become convinced that you are one screw short of an Erector set, but you should have tulips. Good luck.

Ray from MN said...

Google says there are about 523,000 methods for getting rid of squirrels. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Good Luck!


Jan said...

This is the reason that people who live in the country plant daffodils. They are poisonous, and so are free to bloom. Give up on the tulips. They only last a year or two anyway. If you have animals around, nothing on earth will stop the tulips from being eaten, and besides, even if they manage to survive into bloom, the rabbits will charmingly approach them with wiggling noses, stand on their cute little hind legs, bite off the flower heads, and spit them out. Voice of experience. My property has over 3000 daffodils, planted a few at a time. They're better than tulips anyway, because they spread, they don't have to be replaced every couple of years, and they're absolutely glorious. Welcome to the midwest!

Ryan said...

Here in Michigan the deer eat the flowering tulips so you are left with a bunch of flowerless stalks...As for the squirrels, I usually "adjust" the population during hunting season with my .22. It makes me glad I don't live in City limits where it is illegal to discharge a gun!

Christine said...

I had a @%$#%$^ chipmunk (probably with the local squirrels as accomplices) eat my crocus bulbs from Breck's (Holland!!!). I was so mad that I had convinced my husband that perhaps a cat was in order. (He hates cats.) However, I've managed not to lose any tulips or crocus bulbs so far this year because when I planted them (120 crocus bulbs from Sam's Club), I put a layer of chicken wire over the flower bed, and then mulched over that. I saw one hole that looked like it was aiming for some bulbs that was only part-way down and pretty obviously smack into the side of the chicken wire. HA! TAKE THAT RODENT!!!!

I also put mothballs around my flowers and lilac bushes when I went on vacation. I think it's helping a little, and they last longer than baby powder. But that was for the deer. The squirrels just hop over them.

Christine said...

I'm posting some pictures of the happy results of the chicken wire experiment at my blog today.

Mary Beth said...

I highly recommend a Rat Terrier. ; )

Kate said...

A neighbor of mine found the only way to get the racoons out of his attic was by playing loud recorded Greek bazouki muzic all night.

Hope that's helpful.

M. Alexander said...

I think the BB gun should have been your Plan A. Here in New England we call them varmints. Happy hunting!

Joke said...

We sacttered the cheapest dried cat food we could find. The cats found the food, and the squirrels, realizing the yard was being gentrified, took a powder.



J. T. Corey said...

Sorry, have to say it:

"Be vewwy vewwy quiet...she's hunting for squwiwwels..."

Sue said...

Joke- are you serious?? Would that work???

Joke said...


Yep. I'm serious. To the rodentry, cats have a particular scent that tells them to be among the absent.

Of course, much hinges on the availability of outdoor cats in your neighborhood. But, basically, once the cats and your Cheap-O-Rama Store Brand Dry Cat food have connected, you should be golden.

This has worked for us for epochs Down Heah.


Adoro Te Devote said...

I have to take issue with the person who suggested that tulips don't spread and only last a couple of years. Maybe her own squirrels are eating her bulbs and so that is the reason for her opinion.

The first flowers I ever planted were Tulips. They lived and bloomed on schedule. I planted 4. The following year there were 6-8, and the following year they had spread again. Maybe the squirrels in our area were mentally deficient, but they lived uninterrupted.

NOW! About your squirrels...the state of MN wisely has a little thingie called a "small game permit", and you could have a lot of fun with that.

I'm not sure it's necessary in any season on your own property, but that would depend upon your ordinances. If you're in the city limits you may run into issues, but as you suggested, a little BB in the butt never hurt anyone...especially Tulip-eating squirrels.

Jeffus said...

don't bother with supersonic animal annoyers. They mostly annoy the attorneys general of state after state who have to keep issuing cease and desist orders to the constantly changing manufacturer names. pure garbage.

If it doesn't drive a dog crazy, it sure won't bother a squirrel - especially a hungry squirrel or mouse or rat or raccoon or cockroach or pigeon or grackle or cowbird or redwing blackbird or pillbug or snail or....

Christopher McLaughlin said...

I'd lay down Irish Pizza