Repellents for Nuisance Wildlife

Definition of Repellents for Wildlife Control

Repellents are chemicals designed to discourage an animal from eating a particular food or residing in a given area while not permanently harming the animal.

The purpose is to make the animal uncomfortable so that the animal decides to move on.

Repellents are distinguished from frightening devices by being chemicals.

Types of Repellents Classified by Mode of Action

Pain Repellents

Pain repellents are among the simplest to understand as they cause the animal physical discomfort. The repellent normally is eaten (as in capsaicin) or inhaled (as in methyl anthranilate). Repellents must be reapplied frequently to plant surfaces or rebroadcast in the air for continued success. These types of products can actually be quite effective in protecting plants or items that you have no intention to eat. Products of this type include Deer Away and Ropel, to name a few. Just don’t forget that these products will need to be reapplied after rainfall, to new plant growth, etc.

Fear Repellents

These are the holy grail of repellents and, like the holy grail, just as elusive. You may have heard of using fox or coyote urine to drive away woodchucks. While it can work, generally, the woodchuck will adapt, especially if there aren’t any predators around. You also have to consider the threat that animal urine or smells may be to your nose or health. Remember, urine is urine.

Mothballs are a common repellent. Yes, they are avoided by animals, but rarely will they repel an animal – including snakes. All an animal has to do is travel on by. Also, mothballs placed at den entrances just have to be pushed out of the way. Save your money. Raccoon repellent can work for female raccoons who have young, but again it isn’t 100% effective.

Tactile Repellents

These are products that harass an animal’s through the sense of touch. Sticky products are used to repel pigeons. They don’t like to get their feet gooey any more than we do. While they work, the downside is that what can stick to feet also can stick to dust or soil particles that may be in the air. So after a while, sticky traps can collect dirt and look like dirty smears on your building. They also run the risk of holding smaller birds that land on them, which can result in some cruelty. This is especially true if you don’t know how to apply the glue or use the trap properly. Put the sticky product on a board or substance that can be tacked to the surface you are trying to protect. When the animals leave the area, you can remove the substance and you won’t have damaged the building you were attempting to protect.

Aversive Conditioning Repellents

If you have ever avoided a food after becoming sick, then you have experienced the power of aversive conditioning. Aversive conditioning repellents require the animal to eat the product and then experience nausea or another type of illness so that the animal connects the action with the following discomfort. The downside of aversive conditioning is that the animal must eat something (cause damage) before it stops. Anthraquinone is one active ingredient that has proved effective in repelling Canada geese.

These tips may save property owners money and sanity as they deal with too much nature on their property.

Mothballs – not recommended even if allowed by pesticide label due to questionable efficacy and human health risk.

Ultrasound – effectiveness is questionable.