Armadillos belong to the same family of mammals as the sloth and anteaters. Their body is made of a leathery material generally referred to as "armor". The species most present in North America is the Nine-banded armadillo and can be found throughout the entire southwest and southeast. In fact, this species of armadillo is migrating ever further from Texas - the original state it was first found. In some states, they have established themselves after being released intentionally.
Armadillos love to nest in rock piles, around trees or shrubs and under slabs. Their burrows are usually 15 to 25 feet long and cause extreme damage to tree roots. In many cases, this damage leads to the tree dying. These same burrows can lead to flooding when dug around crawl spaces and can undermine patio slabs or walk ways. This weakening ultimately leads to the concrete falling apart and breaking. Armadillos are strong diggers and rely on this strength for food and shelter.
Armadillos are attracted to tasty fruit which may be found in a garden or compost pile. Once they start coming around, expect them to return every night as they are mostly nocturnal. They like to establish "runs" where they will travel every night expecting to find food. These same "runs" can be used against them and will be discussed later in the article.
Armadillos also love turf worms and grubs. Lawns which are left untended will often develop beetle grub populations which will certainly attract armadillos from far and wide. Earthworms are another food source they like and either grubs or worms can be found by digging up sod, raking away leaves, moving carefully laid wood chips or bark, or simply digging frantically until such food is found. Either way, the mess they leave is aggravating, damaging and never ending once it begins.
Armadillos mate in the fall and have their young around February or March. Almost every litter will have identical quadruplets. These miniature adults are ready to walk, swim and behave much like their parents. By the end of the summer, they too will be wreaking havoc in the neighborhood!
Armadillo control can be accomplished by either a passive or aggressive method. Using both tactics will ultimately provide the best results. Passive techniques use repellents and sprays to deal with the armadillos vast food sources. This approach will provide results, but only over time. Aggressive techniques involve trapping and provide instant control. However, if some of the passive techniques are not employed, other armadillos will move into the vacant territory once the current armadillo is removed. In most cases, both passive and aggressive armadillo control will yield the best results.
There are three type of repellent treatments for armadillos. The first one is designed for specific plants. Although armadillos are not vegetarian by nature, they will eat entire plants or flower beds if given the chance. ROPEL LIQUID can be sprayed on any plant or flower and armadillos will immediately leave it alone. Ropel tastes terrible. It will last on treated plants for up to a month - even after rain. Use this treatment if the armadillo is attacking a very specific plant in a flower bed or garden.
If the armadillos are digging randomly in your yard, you should treat with WHOLE CONTROL. This liquid will penetrate the soil about 2-4 inches. As the animal digs, small amounts will get on it's paws. Since it doesn't taste good, they will avoid areas where it has been applied. This will get them to move away from your yard in search of lawns and wooded areas without such a taste. Whole Control treatments will last around one to three months and will not hurt the turf or ground water. And to get the very best results, apply both the Armadillo Granules and the Whole Control. Simply spread the Granules out over the turf you want to protect and then water them in with the Whole Control. This 1-2 punch is very effective when you have nuisance animals digging and destroying your yard.
You should also consider the use of ULTRA SOUND REPELLERS. These devices send out sound which is distressing to a variety of animals depending on the setting. Once tuned into Armadillos, you can set them out to help keep unwanted foraging animals away. Ultra Sound works by both scaring armadillos and making them uncomfortable with surrounding areas. Our experience is that they will help some of the time with animals which have found good food supplies in any given area but that they will work great at keeping new animals out of the yard altogether. If you want to try a combination of Ropel, Whole Control and Ultra Sound you will probably be able to keep foraging Armadillos at bay. If you follow the aggressive control measures detailed below and then install Ultra Sound afterwards, you won't have recurring activity at all.
ARMADILLO CONTROL BY DOING INSECT CONTROL
The second passive approach to armadillo control involves taking away their food supply. Although armadillos will readily feed on plants, they prefer grubs and other insects. Treat these insects in your yard and you will force the armadillos to find food elsewhere - or starve.
Start by applying some BIFEN GRANULES to the turf. Most insects have acquired immunity to these weak formulations. These slow release granules will enter the turf over time and provide continuous control of grubs long after liquid treatments are gone. Use a regular granule spreader or one of our hand held like the GRANULE APPLICATORS to apply the Bifen. Next, spray some BIFEN IT over the top. When combined with liquid treatments, you will be attacking the armadillos food supply immediately and into the future. This will cause local armadillos to find food elsewhere or risk starvation. Although repellents and treatment of turf are passive approaches to controlling armadillos, they will work. In most cases they will force the animal to find another food supply and to leave your yard alone. However, every now and then you will encounter an Armadillo which is simply too stubborn and will force you into using extreme measures in order to reclaim your turf.
ARMADILLO CONTROL WITH LIVE TRAPS
If the armadillos are simply too much and you cannot wait for passive control measures to take effect, the use of a live trap will provide quick control. Simply place the trap where the animal is digging. Bait it with apples, bananas or other over ripe fruit. Our LOGANBERRY LURE is a blend of many fruits which armadillos cannot resist and will surely lure them into any trap. This paste is easy to apply and releases a strong aroma armadillos are sure to find. Of course, if the target animals have been digging in the yard and turf, use our GRUB BAIT. Since this lure smells like grubs, nuisance armadillo will find it fast.
There are several traps which will work for armadillo control. The simplest is the LT111230. This trap will work well for opossum, cats and armadillo. It will work for small raccoon as well. This trap features a great trip mechanism which will assuredly keep anything caught and it has a rear release door which allows for quick releases. If you think you will be using the trap for other animals as well which might be larger, consider the LT111236. This trap is slightly longer but also features a rear release door which is very convenient for releasing trapped animals. Both traps feature strong wire construction with a sturdy frame, locking door and excellent trip mechanism. The set can be adjusted on either trap to work for both light or heavy animals.
If you have a den or hole through which armadillo are traveling, the LT111236BD may be the best trap for you. It's easy to set, doesn't need bait to work and works great for any ground nesting animal like armadillo, woodchucks, prairie dogs, etc.
Trap placement needs to be where the animal is active. This is usually in the yard where they are digging or around a den you know is active. Armadillo don't see well and require fence lines, structures and pathways for most of their travel. These pathways can allow for the easiest way to trap these animals. Simply place your trap along the pathway and most armadillo will walk right inside the trap! Many armadillo have been caught by setting a trap along their path and then placing 2x6's on their side in front of the trap extending away from the traps entrance. This "funnel" will channel the armadillo into the trap and will allow you to catch the animal without using bait! It is not because armadillos are dumb as much as it is they can't see well. This lack of vision requires them to forage based on set patterns and learned routes. This weakness and pattern of behavior can also be used to set some kill traps. Using the funneling set, a kill trap will provide a quick kill over and over again. When you have a specific pattern they are following along a fence line or through a fence or other hole, consider some BODYGRIP TRAPS. These are readily used by professional trappers and basically work by crushing the target animal instantly. Death is quick and rarely do they miss. Since armadillo will be traveling on the ground, use BODYGRIP TRAP STANDS to get the trap right where it needs to be. These will keep the trap steady and secure. The 220 is usually all that is needed for armadillo but if you have some large ones, get the 330. Also, the springs on these traps are hard to compress with common household tools so a BODYGRIP TRAP SETTER is strongly recommended. Use some of the Loganberry or Grub Bait on either side of the set and make sets in early evening. These will clearly pose a hazard to non-target animals like dogs and cats so be sure and keep any pets away when trapping.
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