The word armadillo comes from the Spanish meaning, “armored one”. They are placental mammals and have a leathery armor like shell. There are about 20 different species of armadillos and vary in size including giant armadillos which can weigh as much as one hundred thirty pounds and grow up to five feet in length.
The United States of America has but one known species of armadillo present, found mostly in Texas, but can be seen in other south central states ranging from as far east as Florida and far north as Nebraska.
Armadillos are diggers. They have large sharp claws which allow them to dig for a food source such as grubs, which brings us to why you may have a problem with armadillos in the first place. If you see an armadillo in your home vegetable garden, chances are you have another issue beneath the soil that brought them there in the first place, and that is grubs.
Grubs in your underlying soil are usually the result of beetle larvae and if left not taken care of, forget about the armadillos, the beetles themselves, when the larvae mature, will wreak more havoc on the home vegetable garden.
The first instinct might be to leave the armadillo alone since they are eating the more destructive problem. The only issue with this is armadillos dig and do not care that they rip your plants out of the ground. So the first step is to get rid of the grubs which will also get rid of the armadillo.
You could use a chemical based grub remover but if you are trying to maintain an organic garden, this may not be the way to go. Start with adding beneficial nematodes to your home vegetable garden. They feed on the grubs for food. Nematodes can be found in your local garden center or online.
If nematodes are not available in your area or too costly to ship to you, look towards using milky spores. Milky spores are bacteria that infect the grubs with a paralyzing disease. When the grub dies and breaks down, it releases the milky spores to move and infect more grubs. This process continues until the grubs are gone. Milky spores occur naturally, so they are safe for your garden and the environment.
Once you have removed the grubs, then use some ground vibration techniques that we talked about in a previous article on controlling moles and the armadillos will move on. Probably to your neighbor’s house, but that will be his problem.
Give these a try to remove the armadillo problem you have in your home vegetable garden. You can could be both grub and armadillo free in no time.
About the Author
Mike is the author of the book ”Vegetable Gardening for the Average Person” and the administrator for the largest vegetable gardening group on Facebook. Mike can be reached via his website AveragePersonGardening.com.