Armadillos are nocturnal animals that are known for digging in order to make dens and to find food. This is why, when reaching a yard or garden, they can create a lot of damage. Although their main food source are worms and grubs, they will also eat your vegetables and destroy your garden. They are very persistent diggers, undermining concrete foundations, water and sewer lines, and even telephone lines. Should they build a burrow underneath a house, it is possible that this will cause cracks in the walls and foundation. It is imperative to try and avoid creating an attractive and open environment that will give access to armadillos in your yard or garden. Prevention is the key when it comes to these pests.
Preventive measures against armadillos
You can use several preventive methods in order to deter armadillos from your property or to prevent them from even entering it.
The first step, as with many other pests, is to reduce attractants around your yard and garden. Because armadillos are in search of food and shelter, you can clean up any fallen berries or fruit, which may attract armadillos, and also remove places where they can take cover, such as brush, woodpiles, low-lying bushes and shrubs, as they prefer to dig their burrows in places with ample cover. By opening up your yard, you will make it less attractive as a shelter space. Should they manage to enter your yard, armadillos will ravage it by digging for food constantly. Common destructive armadillo activities include:
- digging holes throughout lawn, about 3-5″ wide and about 1-3″ deep
- uprooting plants and seedlings
- burrowing next to or underneath structures, sidewalks, brush piles, low-lying shrubs, or other covers
- damaging underground pipes and/or wires
- creating cracks in sidewalks, driveways or building foundations as a result of burrowing
By following the below steps, you will be able to prevent these pests from becoming a nuisance and destroying your yard and garden:
Check around your property and figure out their point of access;
- Close any burrows found in your yard with dirt and even place rocks over the previous entry;
- Installing a fence in order to prevent them from entering your house or backyard;
- Remove brush and other potential landscaping details that can offer them shelter;
- Make your yard smell unpleasant by using castor oil, mothballs, cayenne pepper, or vinegar and ammonia;
- Purchase parasitic worms that will themselves feed on the insects the armadillos are looking for;
- Install electronic repellents, such as motion activated sprinklers.
As you can see above, there are mainly four methods of keeping armadillos away: by spoiling their underground food sources, by creating an unpleasant scent in their burrows, by frightening them with scare tactics or by fencing them outside. Because different armadillos may react differently to various techniques, it’s important to employ multiple preventive and control methods.
In order to spoil their food or create an unpleasing smell in their burrows, use castor oil as a repellant. This is a deterrent designed to penetrate the ground, reaching the worms, grubs and insects for which armadillos excavate your lawn, and making them taste bad. You can either use a liquid solution mixed with water, or spread granules around your yard. Biodegradable repellent granules spread across the affected ground and are activated by water from a hose, sending the repellent deep into the ground.
When choosing to install electronic repellents, keep in mind the fact that you might need to use more than one. The motion-activated sprinklers are designed to detect any animal activity and release a sudden spray of water towards the direction where the movement has been perceived. This will scare the intruders and keep them away from your yard, however, more sprinklers are needed in order to cover a larger area. Effective places to position a motion-activated repellent include:
- each entry point of your property to prevent wandering armadillos from entering in the first place;
- in front of a burrow entrance to discourage the inhabitant from returning;
- around the perimeter of your house or other structure to keep armadillos from digging underneath the foundation.
Fencing can also be a used in order to keep armadillos away. By using a properly constructed fence, you can completely exclude armadillos from your yard and garden. To make sure your fence is going to keep up these pasts, you need to make sure it follows the below instructions:
- stand at least 24″ tall;
- penetrate the ground at least 6-12″;
- angle outwards at the top, about 40°.
Fencing may be intrusive to the aesthetic of your backyard, but it’s effective and one of the best ways to keep your yard clear of armadillo destruction. Keep in mind that armadillos are wanderers and as certain ones leave your property, others may enter in search for food or shelter. It’s important to maintain an armadillo control plan after you have gotten rid of them, especially in areas with high armadillo density.
Keep in mind that it takes patience and persistence to be able to repel these creatures, as it takes time for them to associate the effects of any repellents with the area you want to protect. Even with fencing, the armadillo can decide just to dig a little deeper, and it might be able to pass through. So do not lose your hope if just one of the methods applied is not working, but push through the problem and apply other preventive methods at the same time. As they have a very sensitive sense of smell, try taking advantage of this when trying to prevent them by spoiling their food source and potential locations for burrows. If neither of these preventive methods have worked, and you do have an armadillo intruder in your yard, try applying the methods relating to “How to get rid of armadillos” from our article on this subject.