When I saw a news release from K-State last week about how to set up an electric fence to keep raccoons out of sweet corn, I couldn't make myself read it all.
I'm sure that if you grow sweet corn and have a raccoon problem it's worth the trouble, but I can't go there.
After I wrote about the rascally raccoons and squirrels recently, though, I got some other stories and an anti-squirrel tip to share:
We have lots of raccoons — probably have trapped close to a dozen over the last few years — and as you know they are wonderfully smart and persistent, as well as a pain.
I have a cylinder peanut feeder on an overhang over a patio. It was hanging on an S hook with a squirrel guard on top. Last year, a couple of raccoons learned to get on the roof, reach over the overhang and bat the device around until it fell. A very noisy nighttime exercise.
I went out one morning and the feeder was gone. Looked all over the yard and did not find it, so bought another one. Two days later, that one was gone — again, no sign of it. So I bought another one, but wised up enough to use a closed clip to hold it on.
The next morning, I went out and there, directly under the still-hanging new feeder, was one of the missing ones! They brought it back, apparently for a refill. I put it inside the house.
Meanwhile I had called a professional trapper.
During the night, I heard a trap spring and went out and there was the OTHER missing feeder, right under the newest feeder, and, of course, a raccoon in the trap. Apparently he or she had brought the second feeder back from somewhere for a refill.
So now I had three peanut feeders and a raccoon. I left the returned feeder where it was so the trapper could see it. He was amazed, but not that surprised, having dealt with raccoons for a long time. —Buzz Merritt
I have a 50-foot walnut tree in my yard that is full of squirrels. I also have 20-plus flower pots and a 3-foot-wide raised flower bed going around the front porch.
During the winter and spring the squirrels dig like there's buried treasure. Which there is thanks to the walnut tree.
When my flowers start coming up, or right after planting new ones, I mulch everything down with cocoa bean shells. They avoid my flowers like the plague after that. They dislike it so much that they go around to the side of the house and use the stairs to get to the bucket of walnuts I keep on the porch.
The smell from the cocoa shells is pretty strong for about a week or so, but goes away. My wife loves the smell, me not so much. I guess it's a matter of taste.
Been doing this for years, and once I get it mulched they have NEVER come close to the flower bed. We buy it at Johnson's Garden Center. —Gary Jerby
A note on cocoa mulch: It can be harmful to dogs and other pets if they ingest it. Maybe the squirrels know this. A report on snopes.com says that while the mulch poses a danger, only one dog death has been attributed to it, and, according to Hershey's, 98 percent of dogs won't eat it.