Critter Control Q&A

Q: Birds keep going after my garden. Is there anything I can do to keep them away?

A: Sure! Slit an old tennis ball and force it over the end of a 6-7 ft. piece of old garden hose. Draw two eyes and a mouth on the ball, and place yellow strips of tape like Xs down the hose to resemble a snake. Set this fake snake in the garden, and the birds’ll be too spooked to stop in for a snack.

Q: How can I stop the neighborhood cats from using my flower garden as a litter box?

A: Try mixing coffee grounds, cayenne pepper, and/or orange peels into the top layer of soil, or try one of repellents I have in my book, Backyard Problem Solver. You can also stuff dried rue leaves, mothballs, or dry Borax® soap placed in the toe of old nylon stockings, and hang them in various areas of your garden.

Q: Apparently, it's slim pickings in the woods, because deer keep nibbling on my plants! How can I keep them away from my yard?

A: There are many different solutions, although a good, tall fence is probably the best (and most expensive) one. For less money, try blood meal, thorny bushes, or my special Deer Buster Egg Tonic: 2 eggs, 2 cloves of garlic, 2 tbsp. of cayenne pepper and 2 tbsp. of hot sauce in 2 cups of water. Let set for 2 days, then spray your plants to the point of run-off.

Q: How do I get those darned chipmunks to stay away from my garden?

A: Try sprinkling bloodmeal around the garden, or scatter dog or cat hair around the area. That should stop ‘em in their tracks. You might also want try my All-Purpose Pest Prevention Potion:1 cup of ammonia, ½ cup of dishwashing liquid, 1/2 cup of human urine, and 1/4 cup of castor oil in your 20 gallon hose-end sprayer. Then fill up the balance of the sprayer jar with water, and you’re ready to go. Overspray any areas that need to be protected, so long as you steer clear of food crops. To protect your edibles, you’ll have to spray around the perimeter of your garden.

Q: The neighborhood dogs are constantly digging up my flower beds. Is there anything I can use to prevent this that won't harm our pet?

A: Sprinkle cayenne pepper over and around the beds, and throw in a few orange peels thrown in for good measure. Other repellents include tobacco dust, dried blood, and oil of mustard. For trash can thugs, spray your garbage cans with a pine scented detergent and ammonia mixed with an equal amount of water.

Q: Moles and gophers have turned my lawn into their own personal condominium complex. What can I do to make them go away?

A: First and foremost, you need to eliminate their major food source – grubs - from your lawn. The best way to do this is to apply Milky Spore Powder at the recommended rate. In addition, you can:

  • Plant daffodils, spurge, and castor bean plants, which moles absolutely hate, in your garden.
  • Place used kitty litter in their runs, which tells them that deadly predators are lurking in the area. Do not use this in vegetable gardens or where any edibles are grown.
  • Apply one of my homemade mole or gopher repellents. These are all included in myBackyard Problem Solver book.
  • Insert unwrapped sticks of Juicy Fruit gum, slit lengthwise, in their runs.

Q: Skunks are digging up my yard, and pawing through my flowers. What can I do to get rid of them?

A: The controls for skunks are similar to those used for moles - if you eliminate their food source - grubs, they'll move on. If you can find their resting area, then you can use ammonia and/or strong light to drive them away.

Q: I have squirrels all over. How do I keep them out of my yard?

A: Keeping them out of an entire yard is nearly impossible. But there are things you can do to keep them from causing damage in specific areas. Try sprinkling dried blood meal as a border around the planting area you want to protect. Or douse your plants with my Hot Bite Spray: 3 tbsp. of cayenne pepper, 2 cups of hot water, 1 tbsp. of hot sauce, 1 tbsp. of ammonia, and 1 tbsp. of baby shampoo. Mix the cayenne pepper with the hot water in a bottle, and shake well. Let the mixture sit overnight, the pour off the liquid without disturbing the sediment at the bottom. Mix the liquid with the other ingredients in a handheld sprayer bottle, and spritz on your flower buds and stems as often as you can to keep them hot, hot, hot!

For more great squirrel-repelling strategies, check out my Backyard Problem Solver book. It includes the recipe for my Squirrel Beater Tonic, as well as instructions for spicing up (and squirrel-proofing) birdseed, making your own squirrel baffle, and much more.

Q: Voles have invaded my lawn, and are causing quite a mess with their runways. How do I stop them?

A: There are a few different things you can do. First, you may want to try trapping these critters. Use regular mousetraps baited with cookies, apples, corn or any other small grain, or a mixture of rolled oats and peanut butter. Set the trap in an old milk carton or coffee can to protect children and pets from harm. Because voles are most active in early morning and early evening, set traps by mid-afternoon. Check them the following morning, and if you have caught one, reset the trap in the same location. Continue this until no more voles are caught. Then relocate the traps 10 to 15 feet away in another surface runway. Continue this practice until you have covered the entire vole habitat. After they're eliminated, clean up any hiding/nesting areas up so they won't come back.

For More Articles, Click On: Archived Articles