How to deal with a backyard skunk
I have nightly visits by a skunk who is having a great time digging up the yard. I have also had a large number of Northern Flickers pecking during the day which makes me think that there I have big grub problem. I live in the Baldwin area of Baltimore County. While I am glad the skunk is naturally getting rid of the grubs, I don't want him to stay. How do I treat the grubs this time of year so that the skunk will leave? What the best plan of action to get the yard back to normal when spring comes? Can you tell me what kind of skunk this is. It looks identical to a Hognose skunk, but I don't think they are local. Thanks for your help!
Baltimore County Maryland
We are not wildlife experts and cannot identify the skunk in your photo. The photo is out of focus.
Skunks may dig in the turf looking for soil insects including earthworms, grubs, and other larvae. The ground is soft and insects are beginning to come closer to the surface of the soil this time of year.
Skunks will feed on other soil insects like earthworms making grub control ineffective. In general, grubs are not a problem to your turfgrass in the spring and we do not recommend an insecticide to control them.
A grub control should only be applied if the grubs are feeding on your turfgrass roots. The turf can be rolled back like a carpet and this is usually in late summer to early fall not now. Here is our page on grubs http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/grubs-lawns
There are no easy answers when it comes to wildlife control. Be sure to eliminate all sources of outdoor food including cat and dog food, bird feeders, exposed garbage cans and compost piles. You may be able reposition chunks of turf and step on them to ensure root contact. Reseed heavily damaged areas. http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/skunks
You may want to take a look at some lawn alternatives to reduce the lawn area if possible. http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/lawn-alternatives
Here is a link on seeding http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/seedingsodding-lawns