Wild Pig (Feral hogs) Damage in Citrus Groves
Wild pigs are not native to North America. The reason why we call them “feral hogs” is that they first were domesticated but for some reasons they were released and were not harvested or recaptured, so they lost their domestic nature and became wild.
Wild pigs are very smart and able to adapt and respond to an array of environmental conditions in order to sustain their population. Known for their voracious appetite, wild pigs have a wide and varied diet made up of plant and animal matter. Wild pigs root through the soil to find roots, bulbs, and grubs, and show a strong preference for hard mast crops (e.g., acorns).
In citrus groves, wild pigs use their snouts to root up the ground in search of food, including plant roots, fungus, and other items. They are also known to eat fruit of the lower branch scaffolds. Their rooting behavior overturns and tills the soil, uprooting plants, exposing bare soil, and creating opportunities for weeds to invade.
The grower should monitor the grove and adjacent land for evidence of animal activity and the potential for contamination of fruit or equipment.
Wild pigs can be managed through small-scale exclusion, trapping, and/or shooting.
Excluding includes fencing which is an effective option, although it can be expensive in large scale. In small scale it can be practical. However, wild pigs are strong enough to upturn the fences and reach to the roots. If the fencing method is used, grove owner should always monitor closely to watch for signs that the perimeter is breached.
Trapping is another effective method of controlling wild pigs. Trap types include box traps and corral traps. Box traps are usually relatively small, about 4’ x 4’ x 8’, and constructed using heavy duty welded framing as well as wire paneling. Corral traps are generally larger than box traps and designed to capture larger numbers of wild pigs.
Shooting or dog hunting
Shooting and dog hunting are two additional methods if trapping did not work.
There are no toxicants currently registered for use on wild pigs in the United States and there are no known effective repellents. Further, there are no oral contraceptives approved for use with wild pigs.
For more information read this article.