Saturday, July 16, 2011

Squirrels with issues...

My squirrels have developed addictions this year.

I've always had the usual problem with the pesky rats with tails getting into my bird feeders, snitching my sunflower seeds and other bird favorites. I've adapted. I put a hot pepper mix on the seeds and it keeps them away for a while. I have fun in my pottery studio with them, too. I'll put the seeds in the window feeder, then sneak over and bang on the two-way glass when they climb in... After a couple of scares they usually stay away.

Now, however, I have a tomato addict.

And, I have a sugar water addict.

I added some extra fencing around my raised tomato bed initially, not knowing what was getting into it. Then I walked out one day and saw a squirrel sitting inside the bed munching away on my tomatoes. It sat there brazenly snacking until I was just a couple of feet away, almost within swatting range (not that I'd take a chance on tangling with a potentially rabid squirrel). It scampered off to a nearby tree where it sat at eye-level on a branch, one beady eye focused on me, while it finished its delicacy. Grrrrr...

I've been spraying stuff to keep deer and other animals away around the bed and even on the bottom tomatoes (as I've given them up to the cause). It's been working. However, we've been having rain every day lately and I notice that there are once again discarded tomatoes on the ground around my plants.

A few days ago I went out and found one of my hummingbird feeder on the ground, empty, ants crawling all over it. We'd had a bad storm so I "assumed" it had gotten knocked off in the high winds. I refilled it only to find it completely empty the next day. I refilled it and moved it. Humph, empty again. I moved it around the house to the other side on a taller pole, next to another one. Hump, empty today.

So, I'm going to move the shepherd's hook away from any nearby climbing or hanging spots and grease the hook. I don't know if that'll work but I want my hummingbirds and I don't want the squirrels.

I went out and did a little research. Some have suggested hanging them from a baffle and even share how to make a home-made baffle with pie pans. I may try that next.

Sugar is highly addictive. It's what they feed to drug addicts to wean them off the 'hard' stuff. Having a sugar addicted squirrel is going to be difficult. I can't put pepper water in the feeder as the hummingbirds won't touch it. However, once the hummingbirds leave, that's exactly what I'm going to do if this keeps up.

Ideas anyone?

I did find it funny when I read the comments on other discussion boards about the subject. Quite a few people said squirrels don't like sugar water. I found that humorous. I used to have those baby feeders hanging inside my window bird feeder. I'd sit there and watch the squirrels come up, tip the feeder and greedily finish off the sugar water in the little thing. I quit putting them out down there.

Love to have any suggestions from friends. I didn't have any luck doing an Internet search, just found a lot of people with the same problem!

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