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“We’re at war with the beavers,” said Phil Nahser, pointing to trunks of trees in his neighbor’s backyard that have been gnawed down to nubs.
Nahser and his neighbors live along Forestdale Drive with Gum Creek flowing at the bottoms of their backyards, and have recently discovered the presence of new neighbors of the rodent variety.
“The neighborhood here is being inundated by beavers,” said Nahser. His backyard has been flooding, thanks to the latest dam the local beavers erected in Gum Creek behind his home. “I’ve got a little lake started back there,” Nahser said, explaining that the flooding began a few weeks ago on the portion of the creek near Meadowood Drive, and he counted four dams in the area, including the one in his backyard. Nahser said he tried calling animal control, the state, and the police and couldn’t find anyone to help him get rid of his beaver problem, until his neighbor called the city of Burlington.
Normally, the city’s policy regarding beaver dams is that if it occurs on private property, it’s the property owner’s responsibility. However, Michael Layne, stormwater coordinator for the city of Burlington, said that whenever someone complains about flooding caused by beaver dams, the city assesses the situation to see if there is a potential for the flooding to causes infrastructure damage, or to back up into the sewer. In the case of these dams, it might.
“It looks like flooding could get into the sewer line, so because of that we’re taking action,” said Layne. The city has already contracted out a trapper, who began the process of removing the beavers in Nahser’s area last week. “The best way to capture them is to leave the dams alone,” said Layne, explaining that the dams can then be destroyed once the beavers have been removed.
Local pest-removal specialists agree that trapping beavers is the only effective way to remove them from an area. Tony Mangum, owner of Mangum’s Nuisance Wildlife Control in Snow Camp, said that homeowners frequently begin calling for beaver removal in the early fall and early spring, because that’s when they begin to notice the animals’ presence. Mangum explained that people don’t usually realize they have beavers in the summer but when they “start hitting the trees pretty hard in the winter time,” they make their presence known.
Mangum said that this is partially due to the beavers’ “spring dispersal” around February, which is when the adult beavers force the 2-year-old beavers out of the nest, making room for yearlings. Mangum said that he’s already had about eight to ten calls for beaver removal since October, and expects to receive them until April.
According to the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission web site, beaver trapping season in North Carolina begins on November 1 and lasts until March 31. Tim Penhollow, operator of Critter Control in Greensboro, explained that the traps are set “in their main runs underwater, almost always under the lodges.” He said that there’s no real preventative measure to keep them from building dams in flowing water near homes when it starts getting colder. “It’s just their time of year,” he said. “It’s just an instinctive type [of] thing they’re doing.”
Credits: By Molly McGowan - TheTimes-News.com