View Full Version : Huge pest problem

John Garrison
07-24-2012, 01:58 AM
I have been battling something in my garden that has a taste for just about everything except beans, tomatoes, and banana peppers. My garden is surrounded by a couple snow fences and a mess of barbed wire aound the top to keep the woodchucks, coons, and other small critters out. Ever since my broccoli, brussel sprouts, and onions were a couple inches tall, I have been dealing with something that comes in at night and eats all the leaves. I used pesticides on the leaves and sprinkled animal deterent granules around each plant and the entire garden. That helped for a while. About 2 weeks later when the spray and granules wore off I found 20 or so plants that had been eaten down to just the stalks and even a little of that was eaten. Two days ago I checked the garden in the morning to find that 4 HUGE zucchini plants had been eaten down to nothing but stubs. The leaves were bigger around than basketballs and 3 1/2 feet tall and in one night they were down to 10" stubs. No tracks in the garden and the leaves look like they were chewed on by insects. This morning I checked the garden and nothing else had been touched. A couple hours later when I checked it, EVERY last Brussel sprout and Broccoli plant had been eaten down to stems. In the middle of the day it was destroyed! My garden is 25 feet from my house and we were coming and going all day so I'm baffled with what could be doing this?
Any feedback would be appreciated.

07-24-2012, 12:48 PM
I know you say you have a fence, but groundhogs do burrow. I thought I was protected to, then I found a burrow under a thuja near the fence.

I don't know of any insect pest outside of a biblical locust swarm that would eat so much so quickly. It is definitely an animal or group of animals. Everything you mention a groundhog will eat.

It is also possible you have two problems, say slugs and a groundhog. Slugs wouldn't touch zucchini, but some of the smaller damage on the broccoli and sprouts would be explained by them, or cabbage loopers.

Try a live catch trap, or just sit on the porch with a shotgun and wait. I'm within the city limits here so that isn't an option for me. My groundhog though was stupid enough to climb into a 4x8 fenced raised bed (I had previously fenced the raised beds directly to deter them). Not easy to escape such a thing when a human approaches with a shovel.

John Garrison
07-24-2012, 08:57 PM
I'm very far outside city limits and I peg those little Whistle-Pig S.O.B.'s every chance I get. In fact, I kill so many that I have a designated pit for their pudgy, gross, little bodies. I've killed about 45 this year already but I can't keep up with their breeding. They have caused a portion of my barn foundation to crack and start to sag, their holes have caused injury to my animals, and I've twisted my ankle already this year as well. I haven't seen any burrows around my garden except for one but it was only big enough for a chipmunk or maybe a baby groundhog. You can tell the size of animal based on the hole and what I don't get is why it bothered to burrow when the gaps in the fence are as wide as the hole I found? I put more of that granule animal deterent stuff around the border and sprayed down the rest of the crops as well with insect pesticides. No more damage was found this morning but I'm not going to stop there. I've placed numerous rat traps and foot traps around the outside border as well as the inside. I just really hope I don't forget where I put them and kneel down on one!
If this drought would end I might be able to see tracks like I did from the Coons we had last year. Since we are having a drought I can always use that to my advantage and sprinkle baby powder to check for animal tracks. Does this still sound like groundhogs to you?

07-25-2012, 01:26 PM
I don't know if it is groundhogs or if it is another animal, but it is certainly an animal, and not an insect.

John Garrison
07-28-2012, 01:36 AM
The majority of the damage is definitely animal but slugs and other flying insects are eating my plants as well. I put the granules around like I said earlier and that helped for a couple days until it rained really heavy and reduced the scent. I have traps along the inside and outside border of the garden and two days ago, in the middle of the day, I heard scuffling outside so I went and checked. I found a hole that something started to dig at the bottom of the fence but it decided to stop digging and climb over the fence instead because the wooden snow fence has each piece of wood hammered down a good 5-6" in the ground. The hole was about 3-4" deep and 1 1/2ft. wide. The critter climbed over the fence and jumped right into a leg trap. The trap didn't catch a leg but instead must have just grabbed enough fur to hold onto it and piss it off so it thrashed around and knocked over two stalks of corn and then got loose. I've trapped hundreds of coons through the years and even though the fur was wet, it looked like coon to me. The fur had black, red, gray, and brown color to and even though it was just a tiny clump the size of a dime, it was coon fur. What I don't like is that this nocturnal animal has been coming out during the day and getting into a well-lit garden so boldly. Before I got in my truck yesterday to go to town I saw a woodchuck in my yard. I pulled out my side arm and blew the varmint away but didn't have time to dispose of it since I was in a hurry. I got home a couple hours later at around 3:00p.m. to find the thing had been torn apart and I mean torn apart. Most of the guts were eaten and fur was everywhere. This happened after a good rain and the dirt where the animal laid was covered with fresh coon tracks. This thing has no fear. I swear it waits in the bushes for me to leave and then it strikes. I don't like the idea of a coon that could be sick roaming around my property and getting into my garden which I plan to eat! I guess I'll have to sit and wait with my shotgun.