Drought forcing wildlife into backyards

The dry Midwest summer isn’t just causing problems for plants, it’s forcing some animals to fight for their lives, too.

Drought conditions across Michiana have wiped out much of the wildlife population’s natural food supplies.

“The natural berries, the nuts, the creeks have dried up,” said Nuisance Animal Controller Don Gee. “There's no crayfish there's, no minnows. They've all moved.”

That means animals like raccoons or moles have to find their food sources elsewhere and, in many cases, they’re heading straight for people’s backyards.

“Moles, their main diet is an earthworm,” said Brian Hominiuk, vice president of Foegley Landscape, Inc. “And if you have irrigation, that's where the earthworms are in the moist soil. And, therefore, the moles are just coming out of the woodworks. They're really making a mess of people's lawns this year.”

Skunks and raccoons have been especially problematic this summer because they aren’t picky about what they eat.

“It’s easy for them to come up to the house and not work hard,” Gee said. “They're both lazy, so they're looking for the easiest out.”

All of the scavenging is causing problems for homeowners who are already struggling to keep their yards in decent shape.

Luckily, there are a couple ways residents can deter the pests from coming onto their property for food.

“If you have a rodent that's eating away at flowers, I'd look at some different sprays,” Hominiuk said. “They have one now called Deer Off. It's a mix of cayenne pepper and egg shells. But the cayenne pepper kind of gives it a kick when they eat it.”

Residents should also double bag their trash to keep the smell from drawing raccoons.

But if problems persist, it’s best to leave the job to the professionals. Nuisance wildlife controllers specialize in dealing with issues many homeowners are experiencing this summer.

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