Crayfish can be part of a tasty feast, but they can also become quite the pest along the waterways where they live. Their burrows will slow down water flow along the banks, and when they multiple too quickly, they can cause damage to a body of water. They can even find their way into lawns with a shallow water table and garden ponds. Fortunately, there are ways to get rid of them.
Crayfish are fresh water crustaceans, related to lobsters, except smaller. Before you do anything, you need to consult your local Fish and Wildlife Agency as there may be laws governing the killing of wildlife, and you don’t want to end up with a fine or major ecological damage. Try to get a good estimate regarding the number of crayfish in your infestation to give to the wildlife officials. You can even try and take one of the crayfish to the agency’s office, so they can figure out the best course of action.
There are chemical crayfish repellents, but you cannot sell, eat, or give away the crayfish if you use insecticides, and they can be damaging to the environment.
Traps are an alternative to chemical treatments. Crayfish traps are rust-proof steel or high-strength plastic cylinders with a one-way door to allow crayfish to enter but not leave. You have to bait them with chum, or fish carcasses. They can hold fifteen to twenty pounds of crayfish. Some professional level traps can hold up to forty pounds. The traps are more humane than chemicals and leave the crayfish safe to eat.
You should keep the following in mind to successfully use crayfish traps. The trap should have a heavy or weighted iron bar at the bottom to keep the trap in place, partially submerged underwater. Use decent chum made of whole, old fish and not bones or remains of fillets. The size of the trap will depend on where you are using the trap. Small ones are perfectly fine for lawns, garden ponds, or rock gardens. If the infestation is in a stream with lots of crayfish, you may want to invest in the larger trap.
Once you have trapped the crayfish there are several things you can do with them. However, do not release them into the wild. This can cause problems in a balanced ecosystem. What you can do it sell them or eat them, as long as the authorities have cleared them for human consumption. To cook the crayfish, boil them in a big pot with corn and potatoes and season everything with any combination of salt, black peppercorns, garlic, onions, lemon, Cajun seasoning, cayenne pepper, coriander seed, and crab/shrimp seasoning.
Finally, invite a big group of friends and family and enjoy the party.