This seems the perfect time of year to present some quick tips and tricks to repel the most common unwanted fall visitors. (This list will not include the in-laws).
When the north wind begins to blow, it chills more bones than our own. The days become shorter and the nights a bit brisker, many critters begin to search for a warm winter home. Your nice cozy foundation, barn, tool shed or other lovely wind proof structure would suit the bill marvelously. You may not feel so cozy about this situation.
I imagine you have heard of the F.B.I. MOST WANTED list? Here you will find the critter version of the MOST UNWANTED list.
Lovely pepe le pew and his clan top the list of the MOST UNWANTED, as they always leave something, pew, to remind you. These are some smelly critters when they feel provoked. I am sure many of you have had your day (or evening) ambushed by a pet vs skunk situation, causing you to dive knee deep in tomato juice and lemon baths, leaving a tomato encrusted pet to flake away in your home for days. Just when you think the coast is clear, it happens again! Try these simple tricks to keep pepe out of your boudoir.
- TIP #1 Ammonia is the least attractive smell to a skunk, kindred to a skunk actually understanding how repulsive their smell is. Simply pour some ammonia over cotton balls, an old rag, old shirt or whatever similar material you have handy and place it in the area the skunk seems to be loitering. Odds are they will not return. (DO NOT use ammonia around horses as their lungs are highly sensitive to the smallest amounts).
- TIP #2 Orange, Lemon and Lime peels are also a good deterrent as skunks are not fond of citrus.
- TIP #3 Cayenne Pepper or Garlic powder are great repellents as skunk have very sensitive noses. You can use this in powder form to pour into the space the skunk is frequenting or create a slurry if a liquid form is better for your purpose.
- TIP #4 Coyote urine as well as fox and dog urine are also great repellents as these are the skunk’s natural predators. You can place this in small containers or bottles and hang them from shrubs or pour onto the base of trees and other structures. (Be advised, if you live in a coyote populated area, using coyote urine may in fact attract competing or territorial coyotes to your property).
The second perpetrator to make our MOST UNWANTED list is the groundhog / woodchuck. Many have seen how much damage a small creature such as this can reign down on a property, worse yet, a farm. Many of the tricks above may work, excluding trick 2 which may make your groundhog feel more at home.
You could also try one of these:
- TIP #5 Talcum powder or Bloodmeal sprinkled around the area in question usually gets a groundhog moving fast and not returning.
- TIP #6 Allium – garlic, onions just about everything in this family will repel a groundhog. You can plant garlic in borders (perennial allium will achieve the same effect) or use onion sets. Consider it creative repelling gardening. The bonus? Pollinators will love it!
- TIP #7 Reflections created by any reflective surface is said to scare them off as well.
The third and last villain of our MOST UNWANTED list is the field mouse (not related to Mickey). These little creatures eat big, multiply fast and leave behind a litany of nastiness. If you are fed up and want an alternative to the infamous mouse trap, some of these tricks may help.
- TIP #8 Mint repels a lot of rodents. You can plant mint or use mint essential oil on a cotton ball and place in the areas of concern. Then kick back and enjoy the fruits of your labor with a mimosa!
- TIP #9 Ajuga is a groundcover that also repels rodents. If that was not good enough, it is also a great spring / early summer pollinator plant and every part of it is edible. Did I mention it is gorgeous in bloom?
- TIP # 10 Ultrasonic sound is another great remedy if you have an enclosed area you would like to keep rodents out of. These do work as I have personally tried one.
Did you know ants will not cross loose chalk? The old wives tale stated that ants would not cross a chalk line. This is somewhat true as a chalk line may disrupt the scent trail and confuse an ant for a moment, although it will not repel it. Crushed chalk which is poured in a small ant size pile / line will repel the ant as the ant will not cross this line for fear the chalky substance will hinder the special sticky pads at their feet, leaving them defenseless.