Oops! The title of this blog may have been a bit misleading.
We won’t be helping you with your judgy in-laws who are staying with you for weeks or your nosy neighbors who pop over to gossip when they see you enjoying your newly-crafted custom deck from your friendly Colorado residential deck company, SRI. Maybe we’ll cover that topic one day. (Did somebody say custom pergolas?)
No, we won’t be focusing on those houseguests today. But what we will focus on is recognizing and ridding your yard of burrowing critters.
Better yet, if you are still in the planning phase for your custom deck, you can use this blog as a guide to avoid having these nasty (but, admittedly, sometimes cute) little critters from setting up house with you after your deck installation is complete.
Who, What, and Where?
The more information you have on these little underground weasels (actual weasels and figurative ones!), the better prepared you, and any professional you hire to help you, can be at catching, exterminating, and preventing their infestation.
In Colorado, you’re likely to experience animals like voles, moles, pocket gophers, prairie dogs, and ground squirrels burrowing below the surface of your yard.
Sound like super cute animals you’d like to share your space with? Think again. Their instinctual need to dig and chew can spell disaster for your home or deck. Not only is it unsightly, but it becomes structurally unsafe when these little vermin start disrupting the stability of the earth with their tunnels or making a meal off of your wood or brick.
These sneaky snakes (another culprit!) can bring with them diseases, fleas, ticks, and predators looking to get fat off of these pests that are getting fat off of your house. Their excrement can contaminate the air, soil, and water around you as well as damage architecture. Don’t entertain the thought of letting them stay.
Look around the foundation of your home and deck, out in your yard, and around plants. If you notice holes, that’s a sign that something has taken up residence just below the surface.
Holes, mounds, and “runways” (longer tracks of disturbed dirt) are all visual clues that you have an unwanted squatter.
You can also listen for clues like peeps, squeaks, gnawing, scratching, or the sound of the offspring of any of these animals (Fun Fact: Racoons have very vocal babies).
Seek Professional Help
From those judgy in-laws to pesky rodents and bugs, it’s always best to seek help from a professional who knows what they are doing and has the proper training to help you with your situation.
You can set out bait and humane traps yourself for those rascally rabbits (more culprits!), but what will you do once you catch something? Will you be able to take it a mile or more from your house and set it free? Will you be able to prevent your pets or children from getting into whatever you set out to affect the little buggers?
A professional pest control company will have the experience and equipment necessary to get the job done effectively and safely. You can request to have pests humanely relocated, and some companies even offer a satisfaction guarantee.
In addition, having your house and property serviced routinely by a pest control company can prevent tiny wood-loving bugs from wreaking havoc on your foundation, home, or deck.
What You Can Do
First and foremost, do not feed the animals. Avoid accidentally attracting pests with food by quickly and thoroughly cleaning up after grilling, eating, or feeding your animals outside. Do not leave food, crumbs, or trash out for long, especially not overnight.
Bird feeders can also attract more than the intended feathered friend. Keep bird feeders at a distance from your house and deck. Frequently clean up spilled seeds and consider a feeder with a tray to catch loose food.
Use outdoor garbage bins with tightly closed lids to prevent your trash from becoming another animal’s treasure. Heavy objects like bricks or stones placed on a trashcan lid can also deter pests from raiding your refuse.
Water sources, too, draw wild animals searching for a refreshing drink. Try to keep your property as dry as possible. Fill in holes in your yard where rainwater collects; towel dry patio furniture.
Deter critters from making the opening underneath your deck their home by putting chicken wire around its base. A trellis or strategically placed plants can conceal chicken wire for a more aesthetically pleasing look. While installing and burying chicken wire is easiest during your deck’s installation, it’s still possible afterward.
Keep plants and shrubbery pruned to prevent wild animals and bugs from taking up shelter.
Also, fencing around your property can prevent unwelcome burrowers. Just be sure to bury fencing or chicken wire at least a foot underground; most burrowing critters don’t dig deeper than that. Whether installing a fence or chicken wire, “call before you dig” or call a professional to install for you.
Last but not least, consider upgrading your timber deck to composite decking, which, among other beneficial traits, isn’t a tasty snack or chew toy for animals or bugs. Your trusted professional deck contractor can help you consider your options.