Some people think that trapping is the solution for problems associated with beavers, such as flooding and damage caused to trees. However, trapping does not solve wildlife conflicts long term, and there are many more humane solutions.
It’s true that beaver dams can contribute to flooding after unusually heavy rain or snow in water with significant blockages, but dams also store water during periods of drought and slow down the movement of water from land to river systems. This means that more serious flooding and damage downstream is prevented by beavers.
Tree Guards: You can easily DIY tree guards around tree trunks. The guards should be about 3 feet high and made of galvanized welded wire (2×2 or 2×3 inch is recommended). You can find the materials in any hardware or home improvement store in the fencing section. Try not to use chicken wire, as it is generally not strong enough. Finer-mesh screening (like on windows) is more expensive, but can also be used. It is especially effective for small (2 – 6 inches in diameter) trees. Note that you may need to pin guards to the ground around larger trees and mulch within the guard to stop weeds from sprouting.
Paint: Instead of, or in addition to guarding, you may want to paint the base of the tree with a mixture of coarse mason’s sand (30 – 70 mil) and exterior latex paint. The ratio should be 20 oz of sand to 1 gal of paint. This may deter beavers, and you can use a color that will match the tree.
Fencing: Three to four foot high fencing can be a highly effective way to block beaver access to areas you do not want them in. An electrified wire strung about four inches off the ground also will help prevent access, and is especially effective in small gardens or crop plots.
You may require technical assistance from an experienced professional when installing a beaver deterrent. It’s also important to be aware of local, state, and federal regulations that may affect whether particular deterrents can legally be used.
If you decide to use a beaver deterrent to help prevent or control flooding caused by beaver dams, here are some recommended by the HSUS:
- The “Clemson Leveler” (used for more than thirty years).
- The Beaver Deceivers™, Round Fence™, and Castor Master™ (all developed by Skip Lisle—simple but rugged enough to withstand the force of ice).
- CulverClear™ technologies (developed by Mike Callahan).
Whether made out of wood or steel frames, the overall savings these devices represent compared to the cost of repeated beaver removal or dam destruction, make them highly cost effective as well as humane.
The rising beaver population, due to a decline in the fur industry, will provide many benefits to our wetlands. Beaver dams provide habitat for many plant and animal species, improve water quality, and control floods by slowing water movement.
Please allow beavers to live and build their habitat in peace.
Please note, Humane Action Pittsburgh (HAP) is not a wildlife rescue and is unable to address concerns or assist with wildlife emergencies. Please utilize the resources on our website to find the appropriate organization to contact. Submissions to HAP through our contact form or email will not be able to be addressed.