One of the most destructive critters we see in West Michigan lawns are Thirteen-lined ground squirrels. These squirrels can cause structural damage due to tunnels under patios, stairs, and foundations. However, their burrows are the most common type of lawn damage caused by Thirteen-lined ground squirrels. These burrows are unsightly and can cause injury if you happen to step into one. They also damage gardens and landscaped areas when they consume seeds, flower bulbs, and young plants.
Identifying Ground Squirrels
Although often referred to as chipmunks, these creatures are actually burrow-dwelling squirrels. They are small, weighing only a few ounces and measuring about six to twelve inches long. 13 lined ground squirrels get their name from their tell-tale thirteen alternating brown and whitish longitudinal lines and spots on its back and sides.
Ground Squirrel Activity
Ground squirrels are active during the daytime, especially in early morning and late afternoon. They prefer to burrow near covered areas, such as stumps, buildings, and brush piles. Their tunnels are usually about two inches in diameter and will not have any dirt mounds nearby, as they move dirt to minimize the risk of predators finding them. The main tunnels are typically 20 to 30 feet long and include a number of chambers and smaller, additional tunnels.
How to Control Damage
You can minimize the chance of damage from ground squirrels by making your property less desirable to them. First, make sure your home is properly caulked and sealed to minimizes areas where they could get in. In gardens, you may consider covering seeds and bulbs with hardware cloth. It is also a good idea to reduce the amount of ground cover (such as shrubs and wood piles) near the home and affected areas, as ground squirrels prefer those areas. If problems and damage persist, you may consider trapping or baiting as a method of elimination.
Are you unsure whether or not you have damage due to ground squirrels? Although AAA Lawn Care does not offer a service for this critter, we are happy to give you recommendations. Call us at (888) 374-7336 and we will be happy to have your lawn technician assess your lawn