At Easter time people buy those cute little bunnies in the pet stores for the kids but as they grow they find out it’s too much to keep up with them. They then take the full grow rabbits and release them in park like settings. That’s what happened at Cal State Long Beach and various parks and Home Owners Associations throughout Orange County. This has caused a huge increase in rabbit problem but other issues are also responsible for the explosion of rabbits in Orange County.
As we build homes and parks, pipe in water and landscape we create an environment that is inviting to rabbits. So we have ourselves to blame for not only rabbit overpopulation but other rodent control problems, like rats, in our yards and parks. Because we have created artificial environments for them we are now suffering the consequences of our actions.
At first the rabbits in The Laguna Woods, Seal Beach, Mission Viejo and Lake Forest communities were described as cute little critters that brought happiness and solace to some residence. Some people even moved into those neighborhoods because of the rabbits. But as time went on, and the rabbit population exploded, those cute little critters turned into a major, costly nuisance. The Laguna Woods, Seal Beach and Mission Viejo communities each spent over $50,000 a year to replace landscaping those cute little critters destroyed. All of those communities spend about the same replacing landscaping those critters but they also spend large amounts of money trying to reduce their ever growing populations. In one community they spent $16,500 in 2014 to trap Rabbits and remove them from their property. They spend $131 for each rabbit trapped.
Other communities have resorted to hiring a professional trapper to come on their property and shoot those cute little critters with pellet guns. In 2014 over 1300 rabbits were shot for Casta Del Sol. Other communities have similar agreements but local city laws had to be changed to get this done. You see most cities do not allow shooting with a powered projectile within their boundaries. The local City Councils have had to approve special variances to those communities to allow shooting the rabbits with pellet guns. In Seal Beach the local Police Chief declined to allow shooting with pellet guns because he felt it was a safety issue.
The ways to deal with a rabbit control problems may include the following but not all of these are recommended by Wheeler’s Pest Control:
Exclusion- Fencing has the most long term effect of keeping rabbits off the property. There are various types of fencing that can be used but these elements must be part of putting up the fence. One is the fence should be at least 48” tall, with the bottom 6 to 10 inches buried in the ground. The fencing should a mesh size on not more than 1”.
Trapping-Once the exclusion work is done trapping the rabbits inside the fenced area can eliminate the population. When live trapping and because these critters can carry certain diseases and are considered an agriculture pest, the California Fish and Game code requires that they be dispatched on the property they have been trapped on. There are other types of traps that can be used. One of those is a Conibear trap which kills the animal outright.
Repellents-The usefulness of repellents is limited. Repellents use on ornamentals creates an unpleasant order or taste. Problem with this type of technique is it has to be reapplied frequently, especially after rain, sprinklers irrigation use, after a heavy evening of dew or when new growth appears.
Habitat Management-To discourage rabbits in suburban habitats can be made, but changing them is limited. Removing brush piles and other debris limits hiding places they may use. Outbuildings or other storage units should be on raised platforms or a mesh fencing barrier should be placed around the bottom of the unit to exclude the rabbits from hiding underneath.
Shooting- Shooting them can be an effective method. Most cities have ordinances on discharging any firearms within the city limits. Special variances have to be acquired by going to the police and/or city council though.
Frightening devices-This method has proven to be ineffective. Whether it’s noise-makers, flashing lights or ultrasonic units. They are a waste of your time and money.
Toxic Baits- In an urban area and suburban setting toxic baits aren’t practical. In order to comply with the labels for those products, it’s required to recover all rabbits that died after eating the bait. Because rabbits serve as a food for a number of predators, rabbits that have died must be found and removed to prevent secondary poisonings. They chances of finding all the rabbits are near impossible.
For a rabbit control problem Wheeler’s Pest Control Service recommends exclusion first then trapping and/or shooting those rabbits that are within the exclusion area. If you have a rabbit control problem call us.