Most conflicts between humans and beavers occur due to flooding caused by their dams or by damage caused by felled trees. Beavers gnaw down trees and use them to build dams (also called dens and lodges). Beavers are plentiful throughout North America and are particularly common in the southeast. Their activities increase as the cold weather approaches so they can prepare for the cooler winter.
Beavers are the largest rodent in North America and are mostly aquatic, meaning they live in or near water. Their coloring ranges from brown to gray and they have thick, dense undercoats to protect them underwater. They are easy to recognize by their flat large tails. Beavers are generally not considered pests unless their activities interfere with crops, septic tanks, flooding roadways or damaging structures or power lines with downed trees. Their legal status varies from state to state. In South Carolina, the beaver is considered a furbearer animal and trapping is allowed from December 1 through March 1. The rest of the year, the beaver is protected unless they are building a den or dam within 100 feet of a residence or they are causing other damage like that mentioned above. If there is a problem with a nuisance beaver or colony of them, a permit can be issued any time of year to trap or kill them.
There are no known repellents that work against beavers. The best way to combat beaver activities is to wrap vulnerable trees with wire mesh or hardware cloth to prevent beavers from preying on them. Some people install concrete spillways and/or barrier fences to keep beavers a certain distance from structures such as homes or buildings.
Beavers are very territorial and can act aggressively toward humans. They often live in colonies of 4 to 8 related individuals and are aggressive toward non-related individuals they encounter. Beavers rarely carry rabies but they do often carry a number of parasites, including nematodes, trematodes and coccidia. Of most concern is that beavers carry Giardia, an intestinal parasite that can cause serious illness in humans. Giardia is released into the water around their dens or lodges through their feces. Trappers should avoid water around beaver sites and wear gloves and waders to protect themselves from the Giardia parasite (Giardia lamblia). Even better, if you have a beaver problem on your property, leave the trapping and handling to the professionals.
Beavers can cause serious problems with flooding and damage to structures by felling trees that can fall onto buildings or power lines. If you have a problem with an individual beaver or a colony, your best solution to avoid contracting serious illness from exposure to beaver feces and contaminated water is to have the professionals take care of the problem for you. Pee Dee Wildlife Control can trap and relocate beavers safely and remove their dams to restore waterflow to blocked waterways.