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Animal Garden Pests of Pumpkins

You like pumpkins. So does a wide variety of animal pests. Some of them gnaw away at the plant, while others like the fruit. More than a few pests like to make a snack of both plants and fruit! Some garden pests forage by day, while other will visit your pumpkin patch at night. Even before you see an animal in your garden, or find evidence of their presence, it's time to take action. Once they have found your pumpkin patch, they will return on a regular basis.

The four basic ways of controlling garden pests are: hunting, trapping, repellent sprays, and fencing or netting to block them from reaching your crop. In urban and suburban areas, hunting and trapping is not be an option.  Repellent sprays have a limited effectiveness, They need to be re-applied regularly, and after a rainfall. Miss just one application, and the pests return. Fencing and pest netting, carries an upfront cost, but keeps most animals out. Once you have bought it, it should last for years.

More on Pest Control

Here are the most common animal critters, that will enjoy munching on your pumpkin fruit, leaves, and/or vines:

Deer - These foragers like both the plant and the fruit. During the summer, they feed on the growing tips of the vines, and tender, newer leaves. Just as the plant is recovering, they return to feed again. In the Fall, they like the ripe fruit. They usually seek ripe pumpkins after  the first frost, when foliage becomes scarce.

They are controlled by hunting, trapping, repellents and fencing or pest netting.

More on Deer Control


You may find rabbits in your pumpkin patch by day, or at night. Rabbits like the tender leaves and growing tips, as well as new, small fruits. If you have lots of other tender greens, like lettuce and beans, they will visit them first.

They are controlled by hunting, trapping, repellents and fencing or pest netting.

More on Rabbit Control

Mice and Moles

These pests burrow under your garden, disturbing the roots. More importantly, they tunnel under a ripening fruit, and up into it from the bottom in search of seeds.

Mice and Moles can be controlled by traps and rat/mouse poisons. A field cat is an excellent way to keep the population under control. Note: We discourage the use of poisons in the garden, as it can get into the soil and ultimately the food you eat.

More on mice and mole control

Squirrels and Chipmunks

Squirrels and cute little Chipmunks love pumpkin seeds. Just as you are ready to harvest your fruit, you find they have gnawed through your pumpkin to extract the seeds.  They are notorious at attacking pumpkins left out on the front step.

Hot pepper sprays should keep them away from ripe fruit. Spray often, and after each rain.

Like their cousins(mice and moles), squirrels and chipmunks can be controlled by traps and poisons. A field cat will help keep chipmunks under control. They seldom go after squirrels, which are bigger. Note: We discourage the use of poisons in the garden, as it can get into the soil and ultimately the food you eat.

More on Squirrel Control


These nasty garden pests can be a real problem. There is little that will keep them away. They will climb over, or burrow under a fence. They will gnaw a hole in anything short of a metal wire. Their diet includes tasty, ripe (and almost ripe) fruit.

Hunting and trapping are your only effective methods of controlling woodchucks.

Important Notes: Make sure to learn and abide by your local hunting and trapping laws.

How to control Woodchucks


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