Beaver infestations in a garden can cause significant damage to plants, trees, and other landscaping features. These large, aquatic rodents are known for their ability to fell trees and construct dams, which can disrupt water flow and cause flooding. Beavers can also burrow into banks and create lodges, which can further erode the soil and damage vegetation.
Symptoms of beaver infestations in a garden can vary depending on the severity of the infestation and the specific actions of the beavers. Some common symptoms include:
- Chewed or gnawed bark on trees and shrubs: Beavers will often chew on the bark of trees and shrubs, particularly those that are located near water sources. This can girdle the tree or shrub, preventing it from transporting water and nutrients, and can ultimately kill the plant.
- Fallen or leaning trees, particularly near water sources: Beavers are known for their ability to fell trees, which they use for food and to construct dams and lodges. Trees that have fallen or are leaning, particularly near water sources, may be a sign of beaver activity.
- Flooding or standing water in areas that were previously dry: Beavers construct dams to create ponds and wetlands, which can cause flooding in areas that were previously dry. This can damage gardens and other landscaping features, and can also create breeding grounds for mosquitoes and other pests.
- Lodges or burrows in banks or other areas near water: Beavers construct lodges and burrows in banks and other areas near water. These structures can cause erosion and damage to vegetation.
- Damaged or destroyed landscaping features, such as flower beds or retaining walls: Beavers can damage or destroy flower beds, retaining walls and other landscaping features in their search for food or in the construction of their lodges or dams.
- gnawed or cut off tree branches or saplings near the water and signs of damming activity like mud, sticks or debris.
- Beavers also leave droppings that look like large, dark pellets and you may also notice tracks near the water or around the garden.
- The presence of beaver’s food storage in the form of sticks and branches cut off the trees and piled up near their lodges or burrows.
What is a Beaver
A beaver is a large, aquatic rodent that can be identified by the following characteristics:
- Brown fur: Beavers have thick, waterproof fur that is typically brown in color.
- Broad, flat tail: Beavers have a broad, flat tail that is used for balance and propulsion in the water.
- Webbed feet: Beavers have webbed feet that are adapted for swimming.
- Large, sharp incisors: Beavers have large, sharp incisors that they use to chew through wood and other materials.
- Adult beavers can weigh up to 60 pounds and can measure up to 4 feet in length.
- Beavers have small ears and small eyes, which are located high on the head, allowing them to see and hear well while swimming.
- Beavers have two layers of fur, an inner layer and an outer layer, which helps them stay warm in cold water
- Beavers have a unique broad and scaly tail, which is used to signal alarm, balance, and as a rudder while swimming.
- They have long and powerful front limbs equipped with sharp claws that help them to cut down trees and build dams and lodges.
- Beavers have the ability to close their ears and nose when submerged in water to prevent water from entering.
- Beavers are herbivores and eat mainly bark, leaves, twigs, and other plant materials.
Treating a Beaver Infestation
It may be necessary to use multiple methods to effectively treat a beaver infestation in a garden. For example, fencing may be used to prevent beavers from accessing the area, while repellents can be used to discourage them from entering. Trapping can be used to remove beavers that are already present, while habitat modification can be used to make the area less attractive to them in the future.
- Installing a fence around the garden or landscaping feature can prevent beavers from accessing the area.
- The fence should be at least 6 feet tall and made of sturdy materials, such as wire mesh or wood.
- Fencing can also be installed around individual trees or shrubs to protect them from beaver damage.
- It is important to bury the bottom of the fence at least 12 inches underground to prevent beavers from burrowing underneath.
- Electric fencing can be an effective option, as it delivers a mild shock to the beaver, discouraging them from crossing the fence.
- In areas where beavers are known to be active, it is recommended to install a double fence, with an outer fence made of wire mesh or wood and an inner fence made of electric fencing.
- Using repellents can discourage beavers from entering the area.
- Repellents can be in the form of sprays or granules and can be made from natural or chemical ingredients.
- Some examples of natural repellents include castor oil, peppermint oil, and garlic.
- Chemical repellents should be used with caution and only as directed on the label.
- Repellents should be applied to the bark of trees and shrubs, as well as the surrounding soil.
- Repellents should be reapplied after heavy rains or when the scent has dissipated.
- Trapping beavers is a method that can remove them from the area.
- Trapping should only be done by trained professionals, as beavers can be dangerous if handled improperly.
- Traps should be set in areas where beavers are active and checked regularly to ensure that they are not causing harm to non-target animals.
- Trapped beavers should be relocated to an appropriate area far from human activity.
- There are various types of traps available for beaver trapping, including live traps, foothold traps, and body-gripping traps.
- Body-gripping traps are more efficient and effective, but should be used by experienced trappers only and with proper safety measures.
- It is important to check local regulations and laws regarding trapping and relocating beavers before proceeding.
- Modifying the habitat around the garden can make the area less attractive to beavers.
- This can include removing or altering bodies of water, such as ponds or streams, that are near the garden.
- It can also include removing or modifying vegetation, such as trees or shrubs, that beavers use for food or shelter.
- Dredging or deepening a pond can discourage beaver activity by reducing the amount of shoreline habitat.
- Installing water level control devices, such as flow devices or culverts can help control the water level and prevent beavers from building dams.
- Installing beaver deceivers, which are underwater barriers that mimic the sound and feel of running water, can make the area less attractive to beavers by reducing the potential for dam building.
- It is also possible to install devices that emit high-frequency sounds or flashing lights, which can be effective in deterring beavers but should be used with caution as they can also disturb other wildlife.