This year, the populations of Richardson’s Ground Squirrels (RGS) could be high in many areas of the province. They had a good season last year, and the numbers are increasing. Although RGS can be cute, they are an important part in the ecosystem as a food source for predators, and a valuable rodent diversifying the landscape, they are a real concern for producers because of the damage they cause to crops and pastures.
For the best long-term reduction of RGS numbers, control needs to be implemented prior to the first of May when the young first appear. Since mortality is high on the juveniles, effective RGS control should be conducted before the young emerge and gain independence. Timing is the key to RGS control. Below is a chart of RGS activity and best control times. (Click to enlarge.)
From March 15 to April 30 is the best time for managing RGS (between the two yellow arrows). Adult RGS spend more than 200 days hibernating, so they are very active and consume high quantities of forage during the spring.