The ‘mighty’ armadillo has become somewhat of a mascot for the Lone Star State, especially in Austin and the surrounding cities. Affection for this armored-platted critter has transcended into the form of bumper stickers, T-shirts, jewelry, studded animals, and beyond. Many local events and venues have even been named after this near-sighted creature of the night. All of this recognition and adoration sounds well deserved, until the little guys end up turning your well-manicured lawn into a grub buffet.
While hunting for food, an Armadillo can wreak havoc on a lawn, digging small to medium holes in numerous locations. Whether they are excavating your lawn for food or burrowing underground for shelter, armadillos are most destructive when they’re digging. Identifying areas of damage will help you determine the best control option. Common armadillo activities include:
- digging holes throughout lawn, about 3-5″ wide and about 1-3″ deep
- uprooting plants and seedlings
- burrowing next to or underneath structures, sidewalks, brush piles, low-lying shrubs, or other cover
- damaging underground pipes and/or wires
- creating cracks in sidewalks, driveways or building foundations as a result of burrowing
Here are some ways to keep this beloved local icon from becoming a pest.
FIRST THINGS FIRST
We recommend starting the “removal process” by reducing the probable attractants in your yard. This includes removing and reducing the amount of cover present in your yard. Armadillos like to burrow so the less brush, woodpiles and low-lying bushes and shrubs, the better! Also, clean up berries or fruit that may fall from producing trees and shrubs. Since most of the armadillo’s food is found underground, completely removing attractants is almost impossible, but by keeping a well-maintained lawn you can greatly reduce the reasons for armadillos to hang around.
START AT THE SOURCE…THE ‘DILLO’S DIET!
An armadillo’s diet consists mostly of grubs, earthworms, a multitude of other insects and invertebrates. The best way to get rid of this delectable ‘dillo food source is to apply pest control products designed to prevent these lawn insects/pests from making your lawn their home. We recommend using a granular or a liquid concentrate pest control product. You can find these products in most local home improvement stores. Just be aware that eliminating the food source of the Armadillo may take several rounds of applications, so be patient and persistent. If you feel you do not have the time to keep up with this new lawn care regiment, give us a call and we can set you up with an annual lawn care maintenance plan that includes pest prevention.
NON-LETHAL ARMADILLO REPELLANTS
We know – and respect – the need for Austin to stay green, but we also know how much Austinites love and care for their lawns. So, here are a few non-chemical and non-lethal alternatives for repelling an armadillo. You can use a caster oil-based repellant to drive armadillos out and to prevent them from digging for food on your property. This method works in two ways:
• It spoils the food sources underground, making them unpleasant to eat and,
• It creates an unpleasant odor inside burrows.
You can also use electronic repellants like a motion-activated sprinkler. Motion activated sprinklers use a combination of sound, water and motion to repel passing armadillos. They are a great addition to castor oil repellants.
FIGHT FIRE WITH FIRE – OR ‘DILLO WITH A WELL-BUILT FENCE!
Armadillos are known for their protective armor. Maybe it is time to make sure your lawn is armored as well! By building a well-constructed fence, you can completely exclude armadillos from your yard. Your fence should include the following features to effectively keep armadillos out:
• stand at least 24″ tall
• penetrate the ground at least 6-12″
Fencing may be intrusive to the aesthetic of your backyard, but it’s effective and one of the best ways to keep your yard clear of armadillo destruction.
LIVE ARMADILLO TRAP
Some homeowners prefer to use a live trap to manually remove armadillos living in burrows on their property. Trapping is simple with the proper trap placement. Armadillos rely on common pathways when foraging, which makes their behavior very predictable. Some placement tips to follow include:
• At night, place the trap directly in front of the burrow entrance.
• Place the trap along the wall or fence line closest to the damage.
• Create a “V” with wooden planks to funnel the armadillo towards the trap opening.
We strongly suggest avoiding this method unless you absolutely have to. If you feel the need to use this approach, learn the trapping and relocating laws in your area before attempting to trap an armadillo or any other wildlife.
Most of the time local animal control agencies can help assist you in the process of capturing these critters and safely releasing them back into their proper habitat.
An armadillo’s digging habits can be extremely destructive, which is why it’s important to take control at the first signs of damage. An integrated control plan is best, because layering different products takes care of the problem from all possible angles. To keep your lawn green and lush and prevent pesky pests from destroying your beautiful yard, give us a call at Emerald Lawns. We can be reached at 512-990-2199. We’re happy to help.