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  • Bug or bird eating my figs!? SoCal

    Just in the past week and in particular the last few days, something has been really going to town on my figs, eating mostly the smaller/younger figs, but also a few top buds. I am growing on a rooftop so pretty exposed, but never had a issue in the past. Any ideas? I have never seen any bird pay any attention to my trees before.

    Wondering if its worth the bother to get a bird net to just drape over the trees, or if that won't be effective and need to erect a structure over them. Or spray with something?

    Any ideas are appreciated.

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    Los Angeles (Zone 10b) / WL - Bordissot Negra Rimada, Cavaliere, Col De Dame Mutante, Cosme Manyo, Dels Ermitans, Tia Penya, a real yard with space to grow.

  • #2
    Try a rat! Birds peck and leave holes in fruit and most always leave remnants. Rats and the other rodent, the squirrel, steal them and bring them back to their den.

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    • Mangoman
      Mangoman commented
      Editing a comment
      Squirrels and rats can get on top of roofs easily up there, you will be surprised. I do pest control and rodent exclusion so deal with this stuff always. Then again, two legged thieves are another problem! lol

    • bkkchris
      bkkchris commented
      Editing a comment
      Haha yeah. I have a roof cam that captures my figs and have yet to capture/see anything. Its def not human, if thats what you mean! I have seen a few possum around, but down on the ground floor and they are big enough to trip my motion sensor/video as they do on my ground level camera. I am in a tall narrow condo like home, so there isn't any logical way for something to climb up the straight walls all the way to the rooftop deck... maybe... but that I would like to see in action!

    • Mangoman
      Mangoman commented
      Editing a comment
      It is very interesting to see what a rodent like a squirrel can climb. They can go up endlessly on stucco or screening for instance, and I mean straight up!

  • #3
    Not a bird nor insect as they would leave something behind. I think something with hands took your fruits.
    Warner Robins/Perry GA Wishlist: Black Socorro,LSU Red,Ponte Tresa,Red Lebanese,White Adriatic #1, Strawberry, Cavaliere, Colonel Littman's Black Cross, Raspberry Latte, of course, anything you would like to share

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    • #4
      I've seen a rat scale a 2 story stucco wall. Thankfully not my house! The way it is snapped off like that, it is most likely something 4 legged.
      Jason. San Diego, CA - Zone 10A

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      • #5
        I would 2nd rats/squirrels. I bought a bag of dubble bubble gums and toss them around the plants. Don’t skim just toss them. Rats eat them and die due to their inability to disgust the gum
        David
        Los Angeles CA zone 10B
        Want list: campaniere Azores Dark

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        • 599gh888
          599gh888 commented
          Editing a comment
          emik, they don't die where they ate the gum. I would assumed that they will probably die a few days in their den. On occasion, I see one or two but not many. I usually start putting the bubble gums out during early spring. I lived at the foothills and we have a lot of wildlife in our yard. I cant get rid of them 100% but anything to help my fruit trees and have the fruits for my family at the end of the season is worth it for me.

        • fig girl
          fig girl commented
          Editing a comment
          that is an awesome idea, I have such a rat and ground squirrel problem. I have been getting my rats, slowly, under control; but the squirrels are another story. Does the gum work for the squirrels?

        • 599gh888
          599gh888 commented
          Editing a comment
          fig girl, i am not sure about squirrel. I don't know if their digestive tract can or can't handle the gum. But my rats problem is getting better. I set traps and left bubble gums around and it is still there. I'll probably need to set it up again next month just to keep it under control.

      • #6
        Im gonna see if I can rig up a camera and see if I can catch the little buggers in the act... Just seems weird that it would be a rat or squirrel and mostly on the top most fruit on the trees. My trees are not so big/thick that they would be able to climb up them without a lot of leaves breaking. I was thinking bats at first, but I have never seen bats in my area.
        Los Angeles (Zone 10b) / WL - Bordissot Negra Rimada, Cavaliere, Col De Dame Mutante, Cosme Manyo, Dels Ermitans, Tia Penya, a real yard with space to grow.

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        • key88sf
          key88sf commented
          Editing a comment
          Post the video if you do catch them! EDIT: Looks like you already did.

        • emik
          emik commented
          Editing a comment
          You may appreciate this video about pest control (likely not your problem). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFZFjoX2cGg I have a newfound respect for squirrels and have somewhat given up trying to get them stay away from my plants!

      • #7
        A game camera will rule out 2 legged critters.

        What is the nearest access or structure? Adjacent trees, downspouts, stucco, etc.

        Now that it has a memory for food the challenge begins.

        Johnson1
        Zone 9b
        S of Tampa Bay, FL

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        • #8
          Caught in the act!! Sure looks like a rat. Cruising around in my blueberry bushes just next to my figs... now to figure out how to get rid of the little pest!

          https://www.dropbox.com/s/ow8hthgs18...53020.mov?dl=0

          Los Angeles (Zone 10b) / WL - Bordissot Negra Rimada, Cavaliere, Col De Dame Mutante, Cosme Manyo, Dels Ermitans, Tia Penya, a real yard with space to grow.

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          • DrDraconian
            DrDraconian commented
            Editing a comment
            Rats. The bane of my existence in trying to grow figs. You had better believe where there is one there are more. No matter how many you kill, if you live in a typical SoCal neighborhood, more will always find their way in to replace those you take out, especially if you are growing a variety of different fruits. Other areas with more native trees have a similar problem with squirrels. Here, in relative close proximity to wild canyon areas, the rats are a permanent fixture.

        • #9
          Yes, I had the same problem. Rats seem to enjoy the growing tips and undeveloped fruit on figs. The thing that fixed the problem was moving the potted plants away from the rat highway in the backyard.
          Mark -- living in the CA banana belt, growing bananas, figs, and most any fruit I can fit in my small, crowded yard.
          Wish List: De La Senyora (Sineuera), Tia Penya, Cosme Manyo, Dels Ermitans, Roeding #3

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          • #10
            I bought a ton of rat traps and will start killing them off soon to get population down before fig time. Last year they even ate all my tomatoes
            Actively seeking any and all varieties
            #Sharing is caring
            Courtenay, BC 🇨🇦 zone 8a

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            • #11
              Rat traps bought and will probably try the bubble gum as well. In the meantime its painful watching them eat all my young fruit, many of which are fruiting for me for the first time! I have about 15 trees currently and they can really eat through a lot of fruit fast!!!
              Los Angeles (Zone 10b) / WL - Bordissot Negra Rimada, Cavaliere, Col De Dame Mutante, Cosme Manyo, Dels Ermitans, Tia Penya, a real yard with space to grow.

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              • venturabananas
                venturabananas commented
                Editing a comment
                It looked like you have at least some of your fig plants up against a wall. If you can move them even a couple of feet off the wall, that might help. Supposedly rats don't like to feel exposed, out in the open.

              • DrDraconian
                DrDraconian commented
                Editing a comment
                I have a small multi-variety apple tree in my yard. A couple of years ago it had about 40 apples on it, that were almost ripe. In just 2 nights a family of rats cleared off every single one of them. I went on a rampage after that, and caught 7 rats in 6 days with snap traps.

                That helped for about a month, until new rats moved into the territory.

            • #12
              I acquired a Ratinator with sunflower seeds as bait. For six in the last seven days.
              You may only view thumbnails in this gallery. This gallery has 2 photos.
              Peter - San Diego 10a. Santa Rosa 9b, 10b
              WL: Any great tasting and prolific fig tree
              Better to give than to receive

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              • #13
                It has a one way door. The rats don’t even know they are caught because they keep eating every seed they can while inside. Much easier than the spring loaded traps that kills them. Don’t have to deal with all of the ants crawling over the carcass. It comes with a plastic container slightly larger than the trap that one fills with water. The trap is metal and waterproof.
                Peter - San Diego 10a. Santa Rosa 9b, 10b
                WL: Any great tasting and prolific fig tree
                Better to give than to receive

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              • #14
                So far they have just eaten all the bait off any traps I have put down without getting caught. Might have to resort to a Ratinator as well if I don't have any luck in the next few days!
                Los Angeles (Zone 10b) / WL - Bordissot Negra Rimada, Cavaliere, Col De Dame Mutante, Cosme Manyo, Dels Ermitans, Tia Penya, a real yard with space to grow.

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                • Oolie
                  Oolie commented
                  Editing a comment
                  They get smart very quickly. The best bet is to have something that can catch a bunch all at once, then switch strategies.

                • BC BYRON
                  BC BYRON commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Use peanut butter and smear into bottom side of trigger and if they still clean it off its mice so try mouse traps same way

              • #15
                There is a YouTube channel specialized in this, I will try to find it.
                The Ultimate Fig Database by Rigo

                Zone 10a

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                • #16
                  The Ratinator can catch many at once. The first time I used it, I caught a squirrel and two rats at the same time. The squirrel killed both rats. The person who introduced it to me has caught up to six rats at once. We both use sunflower seeds as bait.
                  Peter - San Diego 10a. Santa Rosa 9b, 10b
                  WL: Any great tasting and prolific fig tree
                  Better to give than to receive

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                  • #17
                    I googled the ratinator after seeing this post and the first hit I got was a video of it failing. The rats very quickly learned how to open the teeter-totter door and release themselves...

                    My biggest issue is chipmunks. They are really bad this year.
                    “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
                    – Chinese Proverb
                    MA 5b/6a

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                    • #18
                      Ratinator seems to be the same design as the squirrelinator except 10" shorter on one side. If the Ratinator is big enough to catch the squirrels, that can save some space.

                      I am trying the sunflower seeds bucket but they were too chicken to take up the challenge and continued to dig up my sweet potatoes for nothing. (They didn't even chew on it but did try the strawberries)

                      I caught the squirrels one at a time last year using live trap and ripe cantaloupe as bait. It was woodchucks' favorites.
                      Moved from SoCal 10b to N. NJ 7a

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                      • #19
                        This is the channel:

                        https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYb...1xjes4FVn61JUQ

                        wealth of info on how to get rid of rats. They test every rat trap there is
                        The Ultimate Fig Database by Rigo

                        Zone 10a

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                        • #20
                          Make this a simple task and easy task. If a killing trap, it should not be outside for danger of hurting something other then rodents. If you know they are rats, get the protected boxes where you put killing bait in and you set the box on the roof where no other animal can get at the bait. The rat goes in and eats bait and leaves to die off somewhere. These are safe for anywhere outside and I use them around houses for which there intent is.. If nobody can enter the roof, then you can use a rat trap that is spring loaded with bait. The best and most effective bait that I use in pest control is the famous slim Jims you can buy at seven eleven, they never fail. Get original flavor! A small piece and I mean small at 1/2 inch max is all you need. You have about $5 invested in killing off your problem.

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                          • DrDraconian
                            DrDraconian commented
                            Editing a comment
                            Are you saying that the Slim Jims by themselves kill the rats, or just that you use them as attractive baits for snap traps? I've heard of the bubble gum as a killing bait, but haven't yet tried it

                            Because I have a pet dog, I find I can't have any type of poison bait. It doesn't matter how well I 'protect' it, the rats will carry it away from the original location / box, whatever, and I have found the poison blocks at various places in the yard, far away from where they were originally placed.

                            It's also hard to keep other animals out even when you try to do so. I built wooden box tunnels 1 1/2 ft long , about 6" square, and place the snap traps in the center, with the boxes located on the ground along the edge of my fence. I have still ended up catching birds, lizards, even a small rabbit once.

                          • bkkchris
                            bkkchris commented
                            Editing a comment
                            Nice tip about the slim jim. I have no other animals to worry about on my roof, so have been trying the spring loaded heavy duty traps but with peanut butter. The first night they just ate off the peanut butter but didn't spring any traps. I also put out a bunch of glue traps. Today I moved them around a bit and will see if any luck.

                            Of course they seem to go only for my more expensive trees! Good taste those rats have!

                          • Mangoman
                            Mangoman commented
                            Editing a comment
                            Slide the Slim Jim in the little serrated part so it is attached nicely. There is no better way to kill a rat then this. This is what us professionals use and is well known in our industry!

                        • #21
                          When I used the heavy duty spring traps, I would tightly secure a whole almond with peanut butter on it. The second they bite the almond, they are a goner! I would also tie the trap to a bush just in case the rats didn't die and wanted to run away with the trap.
                          Peter - San Diego 10a. Santa Rosa 9b, 10b
                          WL: Any great tasting and prolific fig tree
                          Better to give than to receive

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                          • #22
                            I tried the bubble gum balls before, all different flavors, 2 different brands. I counted them before putting them out. No taker after months. These were SoCal rats. They like peanuts and real peanut butter. I gave them cheap peanut butter before, again, no taker.

                            For spring traps, I like the Tomcat snap traps. They are close midway so their snap action is much quicker and is pretty safe and easy to set. There is no taking the trap away anymore.

                            I used glue traps before. It is inhumane and the big ones got free with some hair loss. The old fashion victor trap design works for mice but not for the nimbler and bigger rats.

                            If you have pets in the yard, you can't use those snap traps unless you have a pretty tight enclosure so the pets can't reach.

                            I like the quicksand bucket trap. It is easiest to set up and clean and you can get multiple ones with each bucket. I am trying it on squirrels. They either don't like the sunflower seeds bait or they are too cautious.
                            Moved from SoCal 10b to N. NJ 7a

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                            • #23
                              grasshopper I just watched the YouTube video for the quicksand bucket trap. Best idea yet! I used the bucket trap without the perlite and it worked for a while. Then, they got smart. The perlite trick is brilliant. I am trying it tonight. It may turn out to be the best trick I learned in this forum yet! Ha ha.
                              Peter - San Diego 10a. Santa Rosa 9b, 10b
                              WL: Any great tasting and prolific fig tree
                              Better to give than to receive

                              Comment


                              • #24
                                DrDraconian I do not know what kind of rat station you are referring to but it must not be what I am talking about. A rodent box should be made with little metal posts that are inserted inside. You slip the bait over the metal post and it is secure and cannot be brought out of the box. All bait has a hole that goes thru the length of the bait so it is locked in. I have never seen a bait get outside a bait station!

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                                • #25
                                  We’ve had good success with the shocking, electric trap that we got from Home Depot. Just empty out the dead rat and reuse. It is a little pricey though. Our success with snap traps varies it seems. Rats are frustratingly smart. A multi tier assault maybe what’s needed if the rat problem is bad enough.

                                  We we made the mistake of putting out rat poison once. A dead rat ended up inside the wall of my daughter’s room. There may have actually been a whole family of dead rats in there though because the smell was so bad she literally couldn’t use it for a whole month.

                                  Good idea about the SlimJim, Mangoman. I can always use more tools in my arsenal!
                                  Deep in the heart of Texas
                                  zone 8b

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                                  • DrDraconian
                                    DrDraconian commented
                                    Editing a comment
                                    This is my other concern about poison, besides the worry about pets. The rats have chewed out holes along the water pipes leading to and from from water heater (in a closet outside). They are attracted to the hot water heater during the winter because of the warmth it provides. Whenever I have placed poison bait in the hot water heater closet to get rid of them, they end up dying in the attic crawl space, or maybe even inside a wall, and the the house stinks for 2 weeks. Has happened multiple times. My wife blames me.
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