Armadillos can be very destructive to lawns, flower beds, gardens, and other cultivated areas. This is because the armadillo's preferred foods are the insects, grubs and other small invertebrates (like fleas and spiders) that live underground. Major devastation can occur as the armadillo seeks food by digging numerous small holes and by burrowing in trenches (up to 25 feet long!). This is not what a person wants after spending countless hours caring for their lawn and garden!
These tank-like pests can also harm ornamental and fruit trees, especially when their hopeful foraging causes permanent damage to root systems. If they burrow under sidewalks or slab foundations they can even upend a shed or severely damage your walkways!
The first line of defense is to eliminate the armadillo's food source: Grubs and other insects living underground. Armadillo problems are often coincident with mole cricket infestations in lawn and other turf areas. Treat your mole cricket infestations with an application of beneficial nematodes. Heterorhabditis spp. are the variety of insect-killing nematode which is best suited to undisturbed and/or higher clay content soils, like lawns and around buildings. Steinernema spp. are better suited to controlling infestations in more cultivated and/or sandy soils. Grubs (generally the larvae of June bugs or Japanese beetles) can also be controlled with beneficial nematodes. If your problem is in fact Japanese beetles, a longer term solution would be an application of Milky Spore, a bacterial disease which only effects the larval or "grub" stage of these pests. If your infestation is truly severe, and you are not sure what the problem is, the broad acting, but natural pesticide Pyganic is available in a convenient spray form, but is toxic to beneficial insects and fish so should not be used near waterways. Chinch bugs, ants, and many other pests can also be a food source for armadillos, but try to control for mole crickets and grubs first because they are usually the most tempting food source.
Eliminating the food source of the armadillo may take several applications, so be patient and persistent. After the food supply has been disrupted, the armadillo might actually burrow MORE for a short while until it realizes the food source is gone and it must move on. Be patient and remember move on it will!!
The best way to keep armadillos away after you have eliminated their food supply is to use a good repellent.
Armadillos can be very stubborn creatures!! Our best recommendation would be at least two applications (10 days apart) of an appropriate natural pesticide to eliminate the food supply.
For control products and more information please see our Critter Control page.