How To Get Rid Of Groundhogs Quickly & Easily
Groundhogs can cause a significant amount of damage to our property, especially if they’re allowed to nest in it. With how expensive it can be to repair this, the majority of us will want to get rid of them, although we might not know-how. This could mean that you’ll hire a professional to do so.
However, there are a few DIY methods that you’ll be able to use before needing an expert. When many of us think about how to get rid of a groundhog, we often assume that it will be difficult. This isn’t the case, as there are a few simple steps that you can take.
This should mean that the process will be much more straightforward then you might have thought. However, you’ll first need to make sure that it’s groundhogs causing the damage and not some other pets. There are a few ways that you’ll be able to identify them, even if you don’t see them. These include:
- Distinctive Sounds: The noises that groundhogs make are quite distinctive and should be easy to identify. This is typically a “tchuck, tchuck” sound and a shrill whistle.
- Tracks: Groundhog tracks may not be as noticeable as you might think. However, they’re quite unique from other pests and shouldn’t be difficult to identify. Typically, they’re up to two inches long, with there being four fingers on the front paw and five on the back.
- Damage: In many cases, you’ll be able to identify the groundhogs through the damage that they do. Typically, they’ll leave bite and scrape marks on trees. They may also target underground wires, among other things.
Once you know that you’ve got a groundhog problem, it’s time to start getting rid of them.
What You’ll Need
Before you start trying to get rid of groundhogs, you’re going to need a few materials. There’s a large chance that you might not have them lying around, so it’s worth buying them before you start groundhog-proofing your home. There are quite a large number of products on the market to choose from, so you may need to spend some time comparing specific models.
- Type: Granule
- Coverage: Up to 10,000 square feet
However, it’s recommended that you pick up certain things, including:
- Sprinkler System or Hose: Groundhogs prefer to nest in dry ground. As such, you should be able to avoid them doing so in your garden by keeping the soil well-hydrated. While a sprinkler system it better-recommended for this, you could also prevent nesting with a hose. When you’re doing so, you’ll need to make sure that the first two or three inches are moist.
- Groundhog Repellents: There are quite a large number of groundhog repellent products on the market. While these often come in the form of a spray, you can also find ones that come in a granular form. Alongside this, some groundhog repellents can work for other pests too.
- Cage Traps and Bait: If you’ve got a groundhog nested under your patio or some other area in your home, you’ll need to catch them and get rid of them. There’s quite a large selection of cage traps that you can choose from. Some of these might be easier to use than others, so you may need to spend a large amount of time comparing them. You’ll also need some kind of bait to lure the groundhogs, although this can often come with the trap.
- Gloves: If you need to use a bait trap, then you’re going to need high-quality gloves to keep your scent off of the trap. While this can be overlooked quite often, it can be a vital part of trapping and getting rid of the groundhog.
- DIY Repellents: Alongside the groundhog repellents that you can find in the store, there are a few DIY options that you could use. Some of the most notable of these are talcum powder, spices, and garlic, among others.
- Fencing: In many cases, you might want to consider putting up a fence to make sure that the groundhogs can’t get into your property. If it’s possible, then this is something that you should consider, although it can often be an expensive approach.
Once you have each of the above, you’ll be able to protect your property from groundhog damage. While it will take a certain amount of time to do so, this will pay off when compared to the potential damage they could cause. This is especially true when you think of the financial cost that it could take to repair this damage.
However, all of the above should be relatively affordable, making them cost-effective ways of protecting your home. In many cases, it’s worth investing in more expensive options. While there shouldn’t be too large of a cost difference, cheaper options might not perform as effectively as you might want.
Step By Step Instructions
While there are a few steps to getting rid of groundhogs that may be obvious, there are a few that you might not have considered. The majority of these will be preventative, as this will avoid the need to having to trap and get rid of the pests in the first place. As such, you should plan to take a few steps in the weeks leading up to groundhog season.
However, quite a large number of us might not know when this is. While exact timelines can vary across different states, groundhogs typically follow the same seasonal patterns. In the Fall and Winter months, they should be hibernating, so they shouldn’t pose any problems for you or your property.
During the Spring is when they’re most active, with this being for two reasons. The first is that it’s now warm enough for them to venture out and get food. Secondly, this is mating season, so they’re much more likely to seek each other out. As a result, they’ll be much more active.
During the Summer months, you should find that the groundhog has become much less active than they once were. This is mainly because it will be too warm for them during the day, so they’ll stay in their burrows during the majority of the day. However, they’re still likely to come out at night time.
This means that you’ll need to groundhog-proof your home in the weeks leading into Spring. By doing so, you should be able to avoid the majority of damage that they’re known for. Alongside this, you also shouldn’t have to worry about hiring a professional to get rid of them from your property, which is something that we’d all want.
- Type: Gas
- Coverage: Up to 6,000 square feet
1. Eliminate Nesting Opportunities
One of the first steps that you’ll need to take in getting rid of groundhogs is by ensuring that they don’t have any nesting opportunities. While this is best done before groundhog-season has begun, you shouldn’t skip it even if you already have an infestation. By doing so, you should be able to make sure that they don’t have a place to run back to.
There are a few ways that you can prevent much of your garden from becoming a potential nest for groundhogs. The most effective of these are:
- Keep your grass cut short.
- Trim back bushes and shrubs to make sure that their leaves aren’t too thick or close to the ground.
- Fill in any dips or holes that might already be in your garden. Groundhogs will typically be attracted to these, as they’ll have to do less work.
- Clean your yard regularly. While you should know to clean up any food or other things, you should also make sure that you clean up leaves, wood, and sticks. These can be attractive areas to nest under for many groundhogs, which is why they’re best cleaned up.
Alongside this, the majority of groundhogs prefer nesting in dryer dirt. This should mean that they’ll avoid any moist soil as much as possible, which could be a problem for those of us who live in dryer locations. However, you’ll be able to avoid this by taking a few steps.
The best approach is to install a sprinkler system, as you’ll be able to personalize how often it wets your garden. Alongside this, it doesn’t require much manual work after you’ve set it up, making it quite a time-effective way of protecting your garden.
If you’d prefer not to use a sprinkler system, then you should use a hose to wet your lawn regularly. This should ensure that your garden is as unattractive to groundhogs as possible. However, this doesn’t mean that you’ll need to drown your garden.
Instead, it means that you should water your lawn regularly and make sure that the top layer of soil is moist enough to be unattractive to groundhogs. Since this will take a lot of work, it’s best to use this method alongside each of the other steps, as it can be easy to forget this. However, it can still be quite effective.
- Type: Tube
- Coverage: Up to 12,000 square feet
2. Trapping A Groundhog
Using a trap will be the most effective way of getting rid of a groundhog. However, this can be a much more complicated step than many others, giving how intelligent the pests can often be. As a result, you may need to spend a significant amount of time setting up and preparing to catch them, although this can vary depending on the trap that you’ve bought.
When doing so, you should first check any local or state regulations that you may need to adhere to. In some cases, this may force you to call a professional to get rid of the groundhogs. Once you know what you can and can’t do, you’ll be able to start the process of trapping a groundhog.
You should always read the manufacturer’s instructions when you’re setting up a trap. This is mainly because you may have to perform specific steps when setting up. These can often vary drastically depending on which one you use, which makes reading these instructions vital. Alongside this, you should make sure that you’re wearing gloves when setting it up to ensure that your scent doesn’t rub off on the trap.
You should then set up the trap as per the manufacturer’s instructions. This is best done during the daytime when you can see everything you need to know. You’ll be able to place the trap in an appropriate place later on when you need to, as long as you make sure that the groundhogs don’t see you do so.
Following this, you should place the trap near the entrance to their burrow and disguise it with leaves and dirt. It’s also recommended that you plant a piece of bait inside it. In the majority of cases, fruits or vegetables should be effective with this.
Once the trap has been set up, you’ll need to wait patiently until you’ve caught a groundhog. You should check the trap daily to make sure that a groundhog doesn’t get dehydrated or hurt itself trying to escape. Following this, you should dispose of the groundhog by following state laws.
Typically, this will mean releasing it in a wooded area away from your home.
3. Plant Another Food Source
In the majority of cases, groundhogs will be attracted to your property because of a food source. Typically, this will be focused on any vegetation that you have growing, although they can often be drawn to food in the trash. Should this be the case, then you should empty and clean your bins as much as possible.
With food sources, however, it can be somewhat more difficult to address the problem. What you may not have considered is that you could plant another food source to help deal with the issue. To do so, you should plant the food source as far as possible from your house. This should subsequently draw the groundhogs away from your home.
However, this may only be the case if you use certain food sources, as they’ll be much more attractive to the groundhogs. Some of the more effective of these include:
- Beet Greens;
- Green Beans, and;
While this might not be an option for those of us with smaller properties, it could prove to be a viable approach if you have a large garden or farm. When you’re choosing where to plant these food sources, however, you’ll need to spend a significant amount of time deciding where to put it.
While you should place them as far as possible away from your property, you should avoid placing them close to another person’s home. Alongside this, you might want to make sure that there’s nothing else nearby that they can damage.
Though you’re not exactly getting rid of the groundhogs, you should be able to limit the damage that they could do to your property. However, this is a step that’s best taken with a few other methods, as you could still find yourself with groundhogs nesting around your property.
4. Put Up Fencing
Fencing may be one of the most obvious steps, although often may not be as effective as many of us might like. However, if you set up your fence right, you should be able to stop groundhogs from burrowing into your home. Typically, you’ll need to plant it so that it’s at least two feet deep.
Alongside this, it’s recommended that you make sure that there’s not a straight line going from the floor to the top of the fence. Instead, you should try to curve it slightly. By doing so, you’ll be able to prevent any groundhogs from climbing over it. While this might not be needed for taller fences, it could be highly recommended for smaller ones.
You might also want to install a piece of fencing that has an area that runs parallel to the floor. While this will be slightly more expensive than normal models and be more difficult to install, it could offer a significant amount of protection against groundhogs.
This will mainly be because many groundhogs may be smart enough to burrow under a fence and come up the other side. With a parallel portion, however, you should be able to avoid this as much as possible.
You should also repair or replace any parts of your fencing that’s been damaged. There are quite a few things that you can use to do so, depending on what type of fence you have. Typically, however, you should aim to use the same materials as your fence, although caulk can also be effective at filling small holes.
When you’re doing so, you should make sure that there aren’t any holes wider than three inches around your fencing. If there are, then these should be filled as quickly as possible. You should do the same for any gaps in your patio or other areas.
There are quite a large number of repellents that you’ll be able to use to get rid of groundhogs. Typically, these will come in either a granular or liquid form and will need to be spread around your property. These will normally be made from a concentration of predator urine, which groundhogs will know to avoid.
Given that these are non-toxic, they can be a wise choice if you’ve got kids, as it’s much safer than a lot of other methods. Alongside this, you’ll be able to make sure that the areas of your property that are being affected by groundhogs receives the most protection.
However, there are a variety of other DIY repellents that you’ll be able to take advantage of. These could prove to be much more affordable than store-bought repellents, which could make them a much more cost-effective way of dealing with the pests. Some of the more notable DIY groundhog repellents include:
- Blood Meal; This is a fertilizer that the majority of groundhogs want to avoid. As such, it could be used around your vegetation while helping keep groundhogs away. This could make blood meal one of the more attractive options for many of us.
- Talcum Powder; Groundhogs are repulsed by the smell of talcum powder. The powder also shouldn’t have an effect on your plants, so you should be able to sprinkle it around your garden to keep groundhogs away.
- Spice Spray; For some reason, groundhogs avoid the strong smell of spice, so you should be able to spray this away from your garden to prevent the pests from coming to your garden.
- Garlic; Similar to spice sprays, groundhogs detest the smell of garlic. You’ll be able to place this around your garden to help protect it. Alternatively, you could consider growing some yourself.
- Type: Ultrasonic
- Coverage: Up to 7,000 square feet
It should be noted, however, that each of these repellents can be worn away. This means that you’ll need to use them in your garden a few times during groundhog season, which could be somewhat time-intensive, depending on your garden.
As such, this may be best used alongside each of the other steps above. However, it should prove to be one of the more effective ways of getting rid of groundhogs.
In some cases, you might find that you can’t get rid of the groundhog by yourself. As such, it can often be recommended that you hire a professional. While they’ll often utilize many of the above methods, they’ll have a variety of techniques at their disposal to help get rid of the pests.
As a result, they can often be a cost-effective way of getting rid of the groundhogs that have nested in your home. However, you’ll still need to take a variety of preventative steps to make sure that they don’t come back. While you’ll be able to skip catching the groundhog when you hire an expert, you’ll still need to put effort into each of the other steps.
Though you might think that this will be a long process, it doesn’t have to be. Aside from fencing, the majority of other steps shouldn’t take too long. While you’ll have to put aside a few hours to do it properly, you can get the majority of steps done during a day.
Were there any steps that you found helpful? How did you get rid of any groundhogs around your home? Let us know in the comments!