One of the nice things about working from home is that every so often, I can still be found in my pjs at 9:30 am. And then of course, on those very rare days, invariably someone knocks on the door!

Yesterday it was the guy from Duke Power. For a couple of weeks now, we’ve had some strange beeping coming from our computer power sources. Arch’s computer would start chirping and then in a few minutes, mine would too. He replaced the batteries, thinking that was the cause. Nope – right on schedule, just before 7pm, the beeping would start again. It didn’t last long but it was bothersome. And there had to be a reason.  We finally decided it was caused by the power spiking but it still shouldn’t happen. So a couple of calls to the power company finally had them schedule a house visit. It would have been nice to know that they were coming but somehow it wasn’t mentioned to me, so there I was in my nightshirt working at the computer when the doorbell rang.

Josh, the power guy, didn’t seem to be surprised – no telling what he’s seen in the years he’s been working. He probably thought I was lying around on the sofa eating bonbons at that hour of the morning. Little did he know that I live by my Daddy’s creed – “If you aren’t up by six, you’ve missed the best part of the day.” Josh decided to take the power box off the house and then replace it. That took a few minutes and then the doorbell rang again. “Ms. L, I’ve figured out why this is happening.  You’ve got a squirrel problem.” AAARRGH – not another critter problem!!!

So why did this not surprise me? Because I’ve been jousting with those critters for months! My aim this year has been to keep those pesky little rodents from eating all of the seed in the bird feeders. So armed with a fistful of dollars, I’m now on first name basis with the bird man over at the Wild Bird store. I’ve bought baffles for every one of our feeders. It worked on most of the feeders (yes, we have more than one feeder. Does 8 signify an addiction?) At any rate,  those clever squirrels have figured out how to drop from overhanging branches and leap from the rail of our porch. I’ve seen them literally throw themselves horizontally for about 10 feet. Not to be deterred, I went back to the bird store and got “Squirrel Buster” feeders. That drove the rodents crazy for all of 3 minutes. They learned how to knock them off the hooks or they just hung around underneath for the birds to throw out the seeds they didn’t want. Uh oh. One more thing to fix.  I went back to the store and bought seed that they guaranteed had no filler! You know that translates to more $$.  They love me over there.

So having the bird seed denied them, guessing they looked around to find something to eat. Or maybe they just needed to sharpen those little rodent teeth. And that brings me back to the power man. The squirrels had chewed the power lines from our house to the power pole. Once he pointed it out to me, I could see that every inch of the exposed thick aluminum wires had gnaw marks – and in one place, there was only one wire left out of the three. He said that if we’d had a bad lightning storm, everything in our house would have been fried. (In a flash, I was wondering how fried squirrel would taste.) So he had to shut off our power and get another guy to come in to string a new wire. A couple of hours later he had to shut off the power again because he discovered that our house wasn’t the only one with the squirrel problem. Looks like those “rats” had chewed the wires to two of our neighbor’s houses also! So lots of new copper wires are now installed – apparently squirrels prefer aluminum to copper. Ha! We’ll see about that.

This morning I called our local police department to check on city ordinances. I wanted to make sure my next blog wouldn’t be written from the county jail. My husband has been wanting me to pop a few of the squirrels with my BB gun. I wasn’t sure if this was legal and I certainly didn’t want to kill them or wound them! I just wanted them to understand that our yard is off limits. Waiting for a call back from the police but betting that BB guns are a no go within the city limits.

If anyone has any ideas on getting squirrels to move down the block, I would really appreciate some advice. I have to admit, it’s been fun seeing them sitting figuring out their next moves. I might miss that. Maybe.

Happy memory making – I’m ready to make a few that don’t have squirrels or raccoons in the equation!

Content used: #p2PSnippetsof2010BP   (This is an very oldie but goodie p2PBlueprint by Kerrianne Hobbs as you can tell by the name. I tweaked it too!)

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12 Responses to Blog: Critter Control

  1. Linda Harper says:

    Glad to know someone else feeds the birds and educates the squirrels in the finer arts of stealing seed. It’s quite funny to watch their antics every time my husband thinks of something else to try to to deter them. They even like the chili pepper flavored suet. 2 of our 4 feeders are weight sensitive – so they close down when the heavier squirrels get on them. As a result, we’ve educated the red-wing blackbirds, as well – they have learned to only partially perch on the feeder, so it doesn’t close down on them. Just be glad the squirrels haven’t chewed their way into your house. Cleaning up a squirrel nest in the linen closet is no fun at all!!!

  2. adakallen says:

    Back to the layout you used. When I was looking at a hard copy of that Blueprint I could see that the frames look exactly like your except for the color. When I downloaded the Blueprint and opened it in a page the frames are solid, YET in the elements panel they look like yours. What is the deal? What am I doing wrong?

  3. Natalie says:

    I feel your pain too. We don’t have a yard as we live in a Townhouse so I planted a tomato plant in a large pot. Immediately the squirrels began digging in the pot. I put rocks all around the exposed dirt and that stopped them until we put a frame around the plant to support it. The squirrels decided that would make a good gymnastic bar and oh, the fun they have. We will be lucky to get one tomato! My neighbor uses Cayenne pepper to keep them out of her herb plants.

  4. adakallen says:

    Well, I have discovered (quite by accident)…
    1. Squirrels don’t like dogs! I did not have a squirrel problem until my last dog a dachshund (in the hound family-first hint) died.
    2. After scooter was gone I began seeing more and more of the brazen critters. My son began trapping them for me. That helped but only after they had chewed into some wiring, another story).
    3. My daughter is here frequently and when she comes she brings her dogs with her (one of them is a dachshund). Squirrels must have decided that my house is not a safe place.

    Back to the wiring: they chewed the patio wiring. I discovered that when for no reason some of my house lights and my patio lights did not work. We replaced the breaker – NO fix. We replaced the switch to the patio lights – NO fix. Finally (when weather would cooperate) my son took the boards off the PROTECTING box around the wiring. Yep they had chewed it in a couple of places AND built a nest. They are pesky critters.

    PS: I do NOT have trees in my yard. I just “benefit” good and bad, from my neighbors trees and other things. there were things in the nest that did NOT come from my house or yard.

    • Anne says:

      What a nightmare!!They truly will eat just about anything or at least chew on it! Glad you got it fixed. Amazingly, we haven’t seen as many since the wires were replaced with copper. Hoping they’ve moved on down the block. Wait! What am I saying? I don’t wish those chewing critters on anyone!

  5. Ann Marie says:

    I feel you 2. We had squirrels chew through wires in our car on 2 occasions. Cost us over $300 in repairs both times.
    I don’t know what the solutions is to get rid of the tree rats.

    • Anne says:

      There’s got to be a way. The power people said that they don’t like the taste of copper but that won’t help for your car. So sorry! I’m thinking traps to relocate would work. That’s next on our list.

  6. Dana Browne says:

    I hear you!!! I love feeding my birds. I have a Squirrel Buster feeder too. The squirrels (or rats, I don’t know which) chewed through the metal top. Yes! I couldn’t figure out how my seed was getting wet until I took a good look and realized there were little holes in the top. I called the manufacturer, sent them a photo, and they sent me a replacement top. I’ve had that feeder for well over ten years now, so it’s nice to know they are serious about their Lifetime Warranty. I spend lots of money on premium seed with no shells or filler, and I make sure I go a few days between fillings. This seems to help cut down on the amount of seed that piles up on the ground, but I have accepted that I will always be seeing the squirrels, and they don’t bother me like the rats do. Although we do have a hole in our soffit into our attic that is definitely made by the teeth of rodents. More money to spend as we need to have it fixed. Bottom line, I feel your pain!

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