Birds love blueberries and will eat an entire crop if you don’t take measures against them. Netting is the most common way to protect your blueberry bushes from birds. A light frame is set up over the tops of the bushes and the netting is draped over the frame and down to the ground, protecting the entire bush from birds trying to get into or under the netting. The netting is only removed when it is time to harvest the berries.
While rabbits will occasionally eat the blueberry fruit, they cause most damage to the bushes young branches. During the winter months, rabbits will eat low growing blueberry branches when other food is hard to find. To prevent rabbits from eating your blueberry bushes, surround the bushes with fine chicken wire fence. Keep the fencing clear of snow to prevent rabbit from getting over the fencing when the snow gets high.
Skunks are nocturnal animals that eat many types of food, including berries. Skunks cannot climb fences, so putting up a chicken wire fence around your blueberry bushes will prevent them from getting to the ripe berries. Skunks can burrow, so bury a portion of the fence underground to prevent them from digging under the fence. Killing a healthy skunk is not recommended because skunks are known for eating other pests, such as wasps and bees, grasshoppers, potato bugs, and even snakes.
Chipmunks will gladly steal some blueberries from your bushes, if you let them. While electric fencing may help keep these small rodents away from your berry bushes, a simpler route is to put up a hardware cloth fence. The hardware cloth fence should be one foot above the ground with one foot buried below the ground to prevent chipmunks from burrowing under it. Repellant sprays are not safe for human consumption and should not be used on the blueberry bushes.
Bears will eat blueberries and many other kinds of berries while they are in season. As an important source of food, black bears can eat up to 30,000 berries in a single day. To keep bears away from your blueberry bushes, install an electrical fence around around your orchard and gardening area. Picking the blueberries as soon as they are ripe will also help keep away bears looking to eat ripe fruit.