SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Ground squirrels may be small, but they can turn into a big problem in larger numbers.

W.H. Lyon Fairgrounds CEO and president Scott Wick says the small animals have been making themselves at home on the fairgrounds for years.

“Once spring rolls around and the ground temperature rises all of a sudden they’re out and about,” Wick said.

On top of damaging electrical equipment, the ground squirrels also dig burrows.

That could be a problem for people and livestock during fair time.

“Maybe there’s an attraction up here that doesn’t have a long line and so they’re running to get up here and they got their tickets and they’re running and they step it here and twist an ankle so we try to fill as many as we can, but you just can’t keep up,” Wick said.

“Wick says the most effective way they’ve found to deal with these ground squirrels so far is trapping.

“About three to four weeks before the fair starts, we have him come down and we just grid this out in separate quadrants and he puts his traps out and that’s been the most effective,” Wick said.

Patty Beckman is a Sioux Falls Animal Control supervisor.

She says ground squirrels can also be found outside of city limits and in parks.

“We advise people who reside in the city limits to contact a pest control company,” Beckman said.

For Wick, keeping the ground squirrels at bay is just part of the routine each year.

“It’s just an ongoing process and something we have to do every spring and heading into the fair,” Wick said.

Wick says between trapping costs and damage, ground squirrels have cost at least $30,000.

KELOLAND News also found ground squirrels in a grassy area a few miles north of the fairgrounds.