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Muskrats, raccoons and other pests. . .oh my!

Muskrats, raccoons and other pests. . .oh my!

     The results of animal pests can be quick and extremely damaging.  Animals are one of the most destructive things that can happen to a water garden.  Muskrats, deer, crayfish and birds are among the pests that do the most damage, although domestic pets (cats and dogs can do damage as well).   


Muskrats and crayfish usually chew the plants beyond repair.  (It is highly unlikely to see either unless you live within feet of a creek or lake) Deer nibble and eat some plants as if they have been invited to a buffet.  Dogs are usually more playful and view the pond or water garden as sport, while cats tend to climb onto pots or pond liners, either knocking over pots and damaging pond liners with their claws, trying to get a better view of the fish (lunch)!  Birds, as in ducks, geese or herons can wipe out your plants or fish.  Ducks can fly into your pond, uproot your potted plants and eat everything in their path.   Ducks and geese can reach your submerged plants as well and they enjoy vallisneria as if it were a treat intended for them.   Koi can be great and never touch  your plants and all of a sudden,  koi can be destructive as well–after all they are plant eaters and we put our plants in harms way when we add them to the pond!  The only way to protect you plants is to put the submerged plants in small cages or add lava rocks to the tops of your container plants as koi don’t like the feeling of the lava rocks in their mouths.

     Mice and voles are usually not destructive until the winter months when they tend to chew the liner or nest in plant material.  The best advice here is to clean your ponds and the area around it then set out live traps.  Then relocate or destroy them. 

     Raccoons are usually after your frogs and fish but can wreak havoc with your pond plants while trying to get to them.  A motion activated sprinkler may work for you in this case.

Scarecrow Product / spooks any animal without harm
Scarecrow Product / spooks any animal without harm

   Snails are sold to eat algae in the pond but  believe it or not, there are certain snails (aquarium tropical snails and others) that can be voracious eaters  regarding your pond plants.  Apple snails and Columbian ram’s horn snails are voracious eaters and can destroy your plants.   Hand picking seems to be the only cure and caffeine does kill them.   Be very careful and only release  JAPANESE TRAPDOOR or GOLDEN MYSTERY  snails in your pond. 

aphids on lilypads
aphids on lilypads

Other pests are aphids, caddysfly larvae, china mark moth, cucumber beetles, spider mites, Japanese beetles mealybugs and weevils.  Make sure you follow the directions carefully on any pesticide that you choose.  Always be careful around your fish and plants and make sure the pesticides won’t harm more than they help.  There is an herbal aphid spray that wont harm anything. I have used sevin dust in the past with no harm to fish. I used just a hint on all affected leaves.

     Most of you won’t experience any of the pests mentioned in this blog, but at least you know what to look for and perhaps can prevent these pests before any damage is done.

Duck in a water garden
Duck in a water garden
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  1. We have 2 ducks that come to our backyard pond every year for about 2 weeks.
    They never nest or lay eggs the eventually just go away. We must be a stop on their journey each year.

  2. Betty says:

    Great idea on the motion activated sprinkler to keep the animals away from your garden or in my case garden pond. We’ve replaced the fish several times over the year as they keep disappearing.

  3. Susan says:

    We had the scarecrow last year setup for a heron. He has not been around for some time but if I ever see him again it will play fair with my scarecrow.

  4. Toni says:

    This is an excellent product for ducks and herons. So is our black lab!

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