Your shed is meant to harbor the things that may not fit in your garage or are meant specifically for the care of your lawn. In any event, it is a place where you can keep the things that you need and access them when you need them.
But it can also be a place where groundhogs tend to stay. From television and movies, we think of groundhogs as these cute little animals that really aren’t very harmful. The thing is, they are actually quite harmful to your land.
Groundhogs are also known as land beavers, woodchucks, or whistle pigs and they are essentially rodents. If given the opportunity, they will eat away at the plants of your garden until there is nothing recognizable left aside from holes that will make you wish they never existed.
Thankfully, there are more than a few ways to get rid of those pesky rodents and to do so in a humane way that doesn’t harm them. Try these helpful tips to rid your yard of your groundhog problem and do so with a clear conscience.
1 – Use a Trap
This is the most common method of getting rid of groundhogs and it is also one of the most humane since they can be released in another habitat.
Groundhogs aren’t terribly aggressive, but they will bite when they feel threatened. So, if you plan to trap them, wear gloves that are fairly thick whenever you attempt to catch and release.
To trap them, make sure that you wear thick rubber gloves so that you don’t transfer your scent into the trap itself. If they can smell a human, they won’t go anywhere near the trap itself.
Make sure to place the trap around 5 or 10 feet away from the entrance of wherever they happen to burrow. You can camouflage the trap by spraying the trap itself with water and rolling it around in the dirt, followed by covering it with something such as leaves or twigs.
When you have successfully covered the cage, put a brick or two on top of it to keep the cage from rattling as that could keep the groundhog from going near the trap.
From there, it is time to bait the trap. If you have been dealing with the groundhogs for a bit, you can get a pretty good idea of what they like from the plants they have eaten in your garden.
They tend to be most attracted to sweet fruits such as berries, peaches, corn, or cantaloupe. You can’t go wrong with cucumber, lettuce or green beans, either.
Put the bait all the way into the back of the cage so that the groundhog has to enter the trap fully to get the food. Keep a watchful eye on the trap; the groundhog could get nervous and hurt itself.
When they have been caught, close the cage and use a towel to cover the cage to keep the groundhog calm.
You will want to drive at least 5 to 10 miles away from your home to an area that is wooded with lots of logs, trees, and groundcover. Groundhogs are most comfortable in these types of areas and won’t venture back into your yard or into someone else’s if the area you release them into feels safe enough that they will want to build their home.
There are some traps that are known as lethal traps. These are definitely not recommended as these are the kind of traps that will snap shut around the body of the groundhog and kill it.
Not only is this very inhumane, but there is the issue of having to get rid of it as well.
Before you do this, check your state’s guidelines. There are some states where trapping is illegal and the last thing you want is to get into trouble for simply trying to remove a pest from your property.
2 – Try Using Epsom Salts
The most ideal situations will allow for removal of the groundhogs without harming or killing them. What you may not have realized is that Epsom salts that are sprinkled around or near their burrow entrances and exits will actually help to keep them away.
If you find that some of your plants have been eaten, fill a pie tin with the salts and place them near those eaten plants. Whenever it rains, this is when you will want to replace your pie tin.
Keeping that tin of Epsom salt around your garden is a good way to deter these rodents from returning and doing further damage to your crop.
3 – Use Castor Oil
Another natural method of keeping those pesky little rodents away from your garden is through the use of castor oil. Pour it both in and around any of their burrow holes.
This can be a highly effective way of deterring them from visiting your garden since they absolutely hate the smell.
The key here is that you want to apply the oil when you know that they aren’t around. If they are around, they will likely just stay burrowed. You will have to be vigilant when using this method whenever they leave their burrow to find food.
Still, this can be an effective method for getting rid of those pesky critters without having to implement any inhumane or deadly tactics.
4 – Soiled Kitty Litter
While it might seem gross to have to collect soiled kitty litter, this can be one of the more effective methods for getting rid of groundhogs that have been plaguing your property.
Even better, it doesn’t require any additional purchases; you simply make use of something you were going to get rid of anyways.
What makes this so effective is that there is ammonia in cat urine. That smell is strong enough to human noses but it is something that groundhogs cannot stand.
Not only that, it smells like a predator and that can be enough to drive the groundhogs from their burrows. It may be a good idea to wear some type of covering over your nose as the scent can be quite strong.
Pour the used kitty litter around one of the den holes (or more if there are several entrances). The idea is that you want to leave one exit available that is scent-free so that the groundhogs can escape rather than staying burrowed underground.
When the problem has been effectively handled, you can clean up the litter and dispose of it and then close off the burrow holes for good. Going forward, it might be a good idea to sprinkle some of the used kitty litter around your garden space to keep those groundhogs away for good.
5 – Use Strong, Offensive Smells
There are some things that groundhogs simply cannot tolerate from a smell standpoint. Garlic is one of the major deterrents of groundhogs. All you have to do is crush up some garlic cloves and spread the resulting paste around any of the areas of your garden that you want the groundhogs to stay away from.
Groundhogs have sensitive noses and that strong, pungent smell can be enough to drive them away for good.
Cayenne pepper is another great deterrent for groundhogs as well. All you have to do is pour the cayenne pepper around the openings that the groundhogs use to burrow.
You will want to buy enough that it creates a small pile and whenever it is particularly windy or rainy, you’ll have to use more of it.
They don’t like the smell but they also dislike the heat of the pepper, too. You can also spray down your plants with a mixture of cayenne (two teaspoons) with water (a quart) to keep the groundhogs from nibbling on your plants.
This will also result in them leaving since their food source is compromised.
6 – Use Smoke to Get Rid of Them
If you are insistent on getting rid of the groundhog no matter the cost, using fumigation methods can do the job fairly well. The smoke is meant to kill the groundhog while it is living inside of its burrow and requires no cleanup since they are underground.
The key here is to make sure that the groundhog is inside the hole when you begin the fumigation process. You can buy gas cartridges that are known as gas bombs to fumigate their burrow, eliminating the problem.
When you are certain that the groundhog is inside of its burrow, you will want to fill all of the entrances with dirt except for one. You would then light the cartridges and throw it into the last open entrance.
The smoke will quickly fill up within the dirt, trapping the groundhog inside with the carbon monoxide.
Even if it doesn’t end up killing the groundhog, there is a chance that the fumes will be enough to flush him out and make him run far, far away. This method has proven to be quite effective when it comes to getting rid of these pesky rodents.
Ben has a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies, you can find him at home with wife and two daughters. Outside of family, He loves grilling and barbequing on his Big Green Egg and Blackstone Griddle, as well as working on projects around the house.
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Tuesday 14th of September 2021
Hi Ben, I have had a problem with groundhogs under my shed for a few years. This year I have been determined to get rid or it. I dug trenches around the foundation of the shed and installed hardware cloth ! I left the groundhog entrance open to try and determine if he is still under the shed . I placed dirt on the hole and the next morning the dirt was open. I think he had left to feed. I then placed several heavy bricks to block the hole. I have not seen any signs of the thing for 3 days. How would I tell if he is still under the shed before I seal the opening with the wire? Many Thanks !!