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Control Wildlife Damage Around Your Home With Common Sense Control Methods
Solving wildlife problems may seem out of your control, but most often you have more control over the problem than you think. It might not be easy, but if you think about the problem and put forth some effort, you can usually eliminate whats bothering you. Many different species of wildlife can become a nuisance and cause problems. Raccoons, skunks, moles, house mice, and tree squirrels can often cause problems. In addition, other problem wildlife can include starlings, pigeons, sparrows, or the nuisance woodpecker damaging the wood siding on your home, just to name a few.
Think Through the Problem
People experiencing a problem caused by critters usually want an easy, quick solution. It is never quite that easy. A successful wildlife damage program often makes use of a combination of control options and usually begins with an accurate assessment of the damage and identification of the desired outcome. If you have unwanted animals around your home, it is a sure bet that there is food, water and cover in the area. The solution is to remove at least one of these elements, and if you can remove two, it’s even better.
Living With Wildlife
Wild animals contribute to our enjoyment of nature and outdoor recreation, but they can also damage property, agriculture, and natural resources. Equipped with the right information and tools, most homeowners can solve their problems and learn to live with wildlife. For example, trimming trees and shrubbery are ways of changing a habitat to make it less attractive to unwanted flocks of birds. The following information may assist in keeping that curious raccoon out of the garbage can, or that persistent rabbit out of the garden. Take caution to avoid overly aggressive animals.
Squirrels and Other Rodents
To keep these animals from becoming a permanent part of your home and yard make to keep doors and windows in good repair; tighten eaves; replace rotten boards; cap the chimney; trim overhanging trees; remove bird feeders or use squirrel-proof feeders; and remove acorns and other nuts from the yard. Chipmunks can be deterred by removing denning habitat, which includes logs, rock walls, and stones.
Skunks become a problem to homeowners by raiding garbage cans and bird feeders; eating pet foods; and living under porches, low decks, open sheds, and any other areas that provide shelter. Skunks also dig holes in lawns, golf courses, and gardens. To keep skunks from denning under buildings, seal off all foundation openings with wire mesh, sheet metal, or concrete. Chicken coops can be protected by sealing all ground-level openings into the buildings and by closing the doors at night. Foraging in garbage cans may be eliminated by providing tight fitting lids and straps.
Rabbits can be kept out of the garden or away from ornamental plants and small trees by using products containing repellents such as Hinder or by placing a 2-foot poultry fence around the area. It is important to bury the fence at least 6 inches beneath the surface of the ground. For information about taste repellents, check your local garden or farm center.
Raccoons are attracted to easy food sources, like garden produce, garbage, and pet food. To help prevent scavenging, use metal trash cans that are fastened to a pole or to another solid object. A strap or latch that secures the lid of the garbage can is also helpful. Raccoons will also readily inhabit attics, chimneys, and sheds. Use metal flashing and 1-inch-mesh hardware cloth to block entrances.
These birds damage buildings by boring holes into wooden siding, eaves, or trim boards, especially those made of cedar or redwood. If the pecking creates a suitable cavity, the bird may use it for nesting. Effective methods of excluding woodpeckers include placing lightweight mesh nylon or plastic netting on the wooden siding beneath the eaves, covering pecked areas with metal sheathing, and using visual repellents like “eye-spot” balloons.
Coyotes and Foxes
These animals may carry rabies and sometimes prey on domestic pets, rabbits, ducks, geese, chickens, young pigs, and lambs. Coyotes also kill calves, goats, and deer. Net-wire and electric fencing will help exclude foxes and coyotes; however, because they are good climbers, a roof of net wire on livestock pens may also be necessary. Foxes and coyotes will often den close to farm buildings, under haystacks, or inside hog lots or small pastures used for lambing. Shed lambing and farrowing in protected enclosures can be useful in preventing predation on young livestock. Additionally, noise- and light-making devices, such as the Electronic Guard, may keep these predators away.
Remember, think through your problem before attempting to invest in a control program. What is the easiest, cheapest, most practical way to control the problem? What will be the least hazardous to pets, people, and non-target wildlife? Are you losing enough money to justify a control expense? Your goal should be to reduce damage to a level you can live with.