Pest Away Tips

5 Ways to Keep Burrowing Pests from Damaging Your Concrete

Burrowing pests can be a real headache for homeowners and property managers. Not only do they cause damage to concrete structures, but they can also pose a threat to the health and safety of those living or working on the premises.

Animals are known to burrow under concrete for a variety of reasons, including seeking shelter, safety, food, and nesting sites. However, these actions can lead to the collapse, sinking, cracking, erosion, and gnawing of concrete surfaces.

In this article, we’ll explore the types of animals that burrow under concrete, signs of burrowing, and prevention and control methods for dealing with these pests.

Reasons for Burrowing

Animals dig underground burrows for different reasons, depending on their species and environmental needs. Ground squirrels, for instance, burrow under concrete to create dens that provide shelter from predators, extreme weather conditions, or territorial disputes with other squirrels.

Moles and voles dig tunnels under lawns and gardens to look for food, such as earthworms, grubs, and roots.

Gophers burrow under concrete to establish tunnels that connect their burrows to feeding grounds.

Skunks, on the other hand, dig dens under concrete structures as a place to give birth and raise their young. Understanding the reasons for burrowing helps in determining the most appropriate control strategy to get rid of pests.

Damage to Concrete

Burrowing pests can cause various forms of damage to concrete structures, depending on their activity level and the severity of their infestation. Concrete structures may start experiencing cracks, sinking, and erosion when rodents excavate soil or sand beneath them, causing the foundation to weaken.

As rodents continue to burrow, the damage can worsen, leading to structural collapse or foundation damage. Additionally, the gnawing of concrete structures, especially by rodents and skunks, can lead to the disintegration of the concrete, making it easier for pests to burrow through.

Signs of Burrowing

It’s crucial to be on the lookout for signs of burrowing around your property. One sign of burrowing is the presence of mounds or dirt piles where rodents and other burrowing animals have pushed out excess soil and rocks from their tunnels.

Other indications might include cracks on concrete surfaces, such as sidewalks and driveways, that widen over time. Moreover, water runoff, especially during heavy rains, can be an indication of burrowing activities around the property.

Finally, sightings of rodents or other burrowing animals around the property could indicate an infestation.

Types of Animals that Burrow Under Concrete

Several species of animals are notorious for burrowing under concrete structures. Ground squirrels, for example, are common in residential areas and are known to burrow under concrete structures such as patios, walkways, and garage slabs.

Moles are also common in the suburbs and city outskirts, where they burrow under lawns and landscaped areas.

Voles are another common burrowing pest in grassy areas and gardens, where they create shallow surface runways that damage turfgrass and plants.

Gophers, on the other hand, are found in rural and semi-rural areas and are known to burrow under concrete agricultural structures.

Skunks, while less common, are notorious for digging dens under houses, decks, and porches.

Prevention and Control Methods for Burrowing Pests

Exterminating burrowing pests from underneath concrete structures can be a real challenge, but there are ways to prevent them from entering in the first place. Prevention strategies include habitat modification to remove or reduce the factors that attract burrowing pests to the property.

For instance, if the property has an abundance of food, such as fruits, vegetables, or bird feeders, it can attract burrowing animals such as squirrels, voles, and skunks. Similarly, if the property has an abundance of overgrown vegetation, it can be an attractant for rodents and skunks looking for shelter.

Ground Squirrels

Ground squirrels are known to be stubborn pests, but they can be controlled using a combination of approaches. Fumigants, for instance, are effective in controlling ground squirrels when applied to their burrows.

Baiting with rodenticides, such as strychnine, is also a viable option, but requires extreme caution to avoid secondary poisoning of non-target species. Trapping with live traps is a humane solution for controlling the population of ground squirrels on the property.

Finally, habitat modification, such as removing food and water sources or blocking access to the area can help to control ground squirrels.

Moles

Moles are notorious for burrowing under lawns and gardens, but there are several ways to control them. One of the effective methods is to treat grub infestations which are the primary source of food for moles.

Repellents, such as castor oil, are also effective in keeping moles away from the property. Exclusion, which involves installing barriers, such as hardware cloth or underground fencing, can prevent moles from burrowing under concrete surfaces.

Finally, trapping with mole-specific traps can help control the population of moles within the property.

Voles

Voles can be controlled by changing the habitat. Habitat modification involves removing cover plants and areas of debris around the property.

Trapping voles with snap traps is also effective, but requires extensive knowledge of the animal’s behavior to be successful. Repellents like mole repellent sprays can be used on voles to keep them from making new burrows or foraging for food.

Gophers

Gophers can be controlled using a variety of methods. Repellents like infrared sensors, flame pellets, and cow poop can be an effective deterrent for gophers.

Habitat modification, which involves removing plants that are relative to their diet and covering it with gravel or decorative rock can disrupt their burrows. Trapping, especially with gopher-specific snap traps, can be effective in controlling their population.

Finally, baits, which are poisonous to gophers, can also be an effective measure.

Skunks

Skunks can be controlled by trapping, exclusion, and habitat modification. Trapping skunks requires a well-placed and covered trap to prevent the skunk from releasing its offensive spray.

Exclusion involves blocking off access to the area where skunks are burrowing by using barriers like underground fences or hardware cloth. Finally, habitat modification involves removing shelter points and food around the property to discourage skunks from making dens under concrete structures.

Conclusion

Burrowing pests can cause significant damage to your concrete structures, but controlling them can be a real challenge. Understanding the reasons for burrowing, signs of burrowing, and types of animals that burrow under concrete can help in determining the most appropriate control strategy.

Prevention practices like habitat modification, exclusion, and repellents can also help to keep burrowing pests at bay. Finally, it’s important to seek professional help where necessary to ensure effective elimination of burrowing pests and to restore safe conditions around your property.

Overall, burrowing pests can pose a serious threat to concrete structures and the safety of those living or working on the premises. Understanding the reasons for burrowing, identifying signs of infestation, and employing appropriate prevention and control methods can help to minimize the risk of damage and maintain a healthy and safe environment.

While there are various methods for controlling burrowing pests, it’s essential to seek professional help where necessary to ensure effective elimination and restoration of the property’s integrity. By taking proactive measures and staying vigilant, property owners and managers can prevent and control burrowing pests and maintain a safe and structurally sound property.

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