The larvae of scarab beetles, known as white grubs, are one of the armadillo’s favorite foods.  Armadillos will dig up a lawn searching for grubs in the fall and spring when grubs are near the surface. The Extension office receives many calls this time of year from frustrated homeowners that have their lawns plowed by armadillos searching for food. 

As beetle grubs move deeper into the soil profile to overwinter, and with the onset of colder weather, armadillos may become less active.  Armadillos do not tolerate cold temperatures below 36F degrees.  During the winter months armadillos often are active during the warmer parts of the day.  While they can remain in their burrows for several days, they do not store food or accumulate large stores of body fat to hibernate, so they must eventually emerge to forage. Note that female armadillos produce a litter of identical quadruplets each year.  Which means you could have several more armadillos to deal with next spring if you don’t take actions now. 

The armadillo’s diet consists mainly of invertebrates including insects (beetles, wasps, moth larvae) and also ants, millipedes, centipedes, snails, leeches, and earthworms. The exact composition varies by season, availability and geographic location. Studies show they also consume fruit, seeds and other vegetable matter. They have been reported to consume newborn rabbits and at least one robin. It is unknown if they merely found these animals dead or not. Other items known to be consumed by armadillos include salamanders, toads, frogs, lizards, skinks, and small snakes. Using remote cameras to study nest predation, several studies have shown that armadillos also consume quail eggs and likely target other ground nesting birds.

Therefore, removing only one part of the armadillo’s diet with a lawn insecticide is not likely to discourage their foraging behavior.  In fact, it may cause them to dig and cause more damage trying to find alternative food sources.  Also, they may end up causing more environmental harm by feeding on native species that are endangered or threatened.  For example, armadillos have even been found to consume sea turtle eggs.  This is the larger problem with invasive species such as armadillos that are not native to North America.  Invasive species are the second greatest threat to worldwide species extinction – second only to habitat destruction.  We do not advocate the indiscriminate use of insecticides in this situation, as these products may end up killing beneficial insects as well. 

Trapping and euthanasia is by far the most effective strategy for dealing with invasive animals such as armadillos.  Trapping allows you to selectively remove armadillos without impacting other wildlife, beneficial insects, etc.  The most economical option is to purchase a live cage trap measuring at least 10” x 12” x 32”.  Use of wings, constructed of 1” x 6” inch lumber in various lengths and placed in a V-arrangement in front of the trap can help to “funnel” the armadillo into the trap. Setting traps near foraging activity along natural barriers like logs or the side of a building increases capture success. No bait or lure has been shown to be effective in increasing capture success.  Setting your own traps is going to be more economical than hiring a wildlife trapper. 

Since this is a non-native animal species, we don’t want to relocate an invasive species and create more problems elsewhere.  Also, it is illegal to release animals onto someone else’s property.  If you are unable to euthanize the animal, then you should consider hiring a professional wildlife removal service.  The Georgia Department of Natural Resources maintains a list of Nuisance Wildlife Trappers online ( that are permitted in the state.  This list of Nuisance Wildlife Control Operators (NWCO) is provided as a service to the public and is updated periodically. The individuals and companies on this list are in the business of wildlife control and most do charge a fee for their services. This fee for service is negotiable between the customer and the service provider and in no way is influenced by Georgia DNR. Georgia DNR does not endorse nor guarantee the services provided by any NWCO on this list. The decision to hire or enter into a contract with an individual trapper is solely that of the customer. It is recommended that you as the land owner or home owner seeking help with a nuisance wildlife problem ask for references, have the NWCO explain in detail exactly what services they will provide and what fee is expected before agreeing to or signing any contract for services.

Paul Pugliese is the Extension Coordinator and Agricultural & Natural Resources Agent for Bartow County Cooperative Extension, a partnership of The University of Georgia, The U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Bartow County.  For more information and free farm, lawn, or garden publications, call (770) 387-5142 or visit our local website at