Crayfish Control

Too many crayfish? Crayfish control can help the banks of your pond, and it can be nonpolluting.

| January/February 1984

I have a farm pond plagued with crawdads that undermine the banks, causing them to collapse. The resulting shallow water warms up enough to permit algae to grow and allow cattails to take over. 

The county conservation people advised me to pour a mixture of fuel oil and mothballs down the crawdad holes, but I felt that action would contaminate the pond (besides, there are hundreds of holes!). 

Can you suggest a nonpolluting way to eradicate the creatures? 

Do you really want to eradicate the crayfish (or crawdads), or do you just want to control them? It sounds to me as though your problem isn't crayfish, but rather too many crayfish.

To improve the situation, you'll first need to see whether your water level is stable. Crayfish reproduction is favored by a fluctuating water level (which in itself can undermine pond banks). If there are measures you can take to stabilize the water level, do so. This won't eradicate the crustaceans, but it will reduce the population.

Crayfish, in moderation, are actually an asset to a pond. They help control weeds and are an important fish food. Bass, in particular, are fond of the critters. You haven't mentioned what your pond is stocked with, but if it's like most farm ponds, it's probably overstocked with bluegills and understocked with bass. An effort to build up the bass population might help control the crayfish.

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