Squirrel Traps, Rat Trap, Skunk Traps, Opossum Trap, Marten Traps, Mink Trap, & Other Small Pest Traps - Kania Industries Inc.

 

Grey Squirrels and Nut Farming

by Barbara Brennan

We started from scratch some 22 years ago with a hoe in one hand and a book in the other. Since then, Bailiwick Farm, our little farm, has been known for raspberries, kiwifruit and blackberries, not to mention several years of chickens and geese and a couple of years with some delightfully playful Nubian goats.

Located on the beautiful Saanich Peninsula in southern Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada, the skies above us are the playgrounds of bald eagles, red-tailed hawks and other birds of prey, none of which have given us any serious competition for our farm produce.

But. . .when we told our neighbors a handful of years ago that we were about to plant 180 Carpathian walnut seedlings, they were in awe. English walnut trees are not very common in our neck-of-the-woods. And when we advised them that we would subsequently add 80 pinenut and 40 hazelnut trees, they stared at us and chorused, “Are you crazy? What about the grey squirrels?”

As recently as ten years ago, such a comment wouldn’t have been made because at that time, none of us had seen a grey squirrel within 20 miles of the Saanich Peninsula.

We had heard they were occasionally spotted in Victoria’s famous Beacon Hill Park on the southern edge of Vancouver Island. Alas, only a couple of years later, we learned that these rodents were gradually migrating north and west and had appeared in the northern boundaries of Victoria and out west in Sooke and that they were having the time of their lives, preying on their smaller cousins, the black squirrel population. Beacon Hill Park in the south of the city of Victoria was set aside in 1861 by the founders of the city as a 100 acre property to be enjoyed by the citizens for ever. Perhaps some of those citizens actually brought the little black squirrel from Eastern Canada. Be that as it may, the black squirrels are now few and far between.

It’s taken only five years for the grey squirrels to move the 15 miles north to the lush Saanich Peninsula, an area which contains not only some of British Columbia’s finest agricultural land, but which is also famous for all kinds of berries, grapes and, apples. We ourselves have grown raspberries, blackberries and kiwifruit for sale at the farm gate for twenty years, taking advantage of our Zone 8 climate, unique to this part of Canada.

With berry crops and kiwifruit, the grey squirrel did not present much of a problem. In fact, each Fall we’ve been treated to breakfast entertainment as we watched a handsome grey squirrel travel back and forth across a telephone wire along the 80’ between its nest in a stand of fir trees by the roadside to our neighbour’s handsome hazelnut tree. Its antics amused us until the following spring, when we discovered dozens of small hazelnut seedlings sprouting in our perennial beds, between the roses, in the iris plantings, and even in the middle of our lawns! Even so, we adopted a live and let live attitude until we decided that walnuts, hazelnuts and pinenuts could be a desirable crop for us to husband.

Although we laughed at our neighbours’ comments, secretly we began to have concerns that the grey squirrel would decimate our nut trees and that our neighbours would also be displeased at the influx of squirrels that our plantation would attract. They would be spreading the word that we were the REAL nuts at Bailiwick Farm.

Additionally, we were beginning to find kiwifruit still hanging on the vine with teeth marks and even bites taken out of them. Hmmmm!

Husband Pat searched all his farming books for possible solutions. Nothing appeared useful. Then he had a brilliant idea. In Haro Straits, on the south-eastern side of southern Vancouver Island is D’Arcy island, an islet really, uninhabited except by crows. If he could trap the grey squirrels using a have-a-heart trap, keep them caged somehow until Saturday of each week, perhaps he could persuade a boating friend to take them offshore and release them on D’Arcy Island. This way, the squirrels could live off crows’ eggs and thus free us from the crows which also love hazelnuts, and, at the same time, reduce the breeding population of squirrels all around us. Well, I thought it was brilliant anyway!

It might even have worked. ..but no doubt it would have been a lot of work for a number of people! And who would be willing to boat over to D’Arcy Island in no matter what weather?

Then it was my turn to have a brilliant idea. It came to me in the middle of the night: GOOGLE for “grey squirrels and ridding of same”! I didn’t waste time, but stumbled out of bed, and headed downstairs to my trusty computer. GOOGLE has never failed me as a search engine, and it didn’t this time. By breakfast-time, I was able to put a small sheaf of possible remedies for Pat to enjoy with his porridge. Only one promised a “full cure”.

And that’s how we discovered the Kania Trap. If you’re going to have a viable harvest from your nut trees, there is only one thing to do with squirrels and that is to get them before they get to your nuts. Only the Kania Trap promised humane and immediate dispatch of these rodents. So I followed the links on line and ordered a trap. It was obvious that we weren’t the first to be thinking about such a trap because the inventor had run out of stock and was waiting for the factory to fill his order. So, we thought. . .it must work well!

In due time the mailman delivered our parcel. Compact in size, it intrigued Pat immediately and he took it away to his workshop to study and consider. I heard nothing further for several weeks until one afternoon, I headed out to his workshop and noticed a paper pinned up beside his dartboard.

The information on this paper had three columns: dates on the left, then a figure indicating lbs. and ozs., and the third column with inches. Mystified, I asked for a translation. It was simple. The dates were when the Kania Trap was set, the weight was the dead rodent and the inches were its length over all.

Within a matter of weeks, some eight squirrels were trapped and dispatched and he was no longer seeing them running along our fencelines. Evidently, we’d either got all that were in the neighbourhood or the word was out in squirrel-land that it wasn’t wise to go near Bailiwick Farm if you wanted to stay alive.

No more bite marks on the kiwifruit either!

I asked Pat why he kept this record. “I need to know what we’re up against,” he explained. He went on to say that he had not seen any squirrels in over two weeks. Wow! It works. Previously, while working in our kiwifruit orchard or in the walnut planting, or in our domestic blackberry field, squirrels were daily visitors.

And now, there were none!

I should add that Pat, who doesn’t even like killing chickens and once had an owl for a pet, gave decent burials to the “victim vermin” .

Pat has plans to build an owl nestbox on the roof of our barn to attract these natural enemies of the grey squirrel. We are both in strong agreement, however, that the Kania Trap really does its job well and we have recommended it to other local farmers and growers. If you have a squirrel problem, we recommend these traps to you too!

BARBARA BRENNAN
1765 McTavish Road,
SIDNEY, BC V8L 5T9, Canada
Tel. (250) 656-7808
E-mail: barbrennan@shaw.ca

   

The Kania 2000 Trap is suitable for trapping:
Squirrel (Black Squirrel, Grey Squirrel),
Marten, Mink, Opossum, Rat, Skunk, & Other Small Pests

   

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