Mothballs as a Wildlife Repellent
When searching for ways to control wildlife damage, one can be overwhelmed by the available options. This portion of the site is dedicated to helping you sort through the options to find the best solution for your particular situation. Please understand that we will have to speak in general terms as the applicability of any of these options depends on setting, local laws and regulations, as well as personal preferences. We hope, however, that you will find this information helpful in making more informed and responsible wildlife damage management decisions.
Mothballs are pesticides.
Pesticides are broadly defined in FIFRA Section 2(u) as chemicals and other products used to kill, repel, or control pests. A pesticide MUST be used according to label directions, and only on the sites listed on the label. We do not recommend using moth balls to repel or control nuisance wildlife for legal and safety reasons.
Which mothball formulation?
Mothballs can have one of two different chemical formulations: 1,4-dichlorobenzene and naphthalene. Neither chemical is what we could call biologically friendly.
Are mothballs effective?
Mothballs do annoy mammals. However, you have to have high concentrations of the odor in order to achieve the desired effect. The problem is that in many situations, to achieve those odor levels you will be driving yourself and your family out of the house, too. It is extremely common for professional animal damage controllers to be hired to control an animal after the owner discovered that mothballs had NO effect in driving away the problem animal.
There are questions concerning the long-term health effects of mothballs, particularly the benzene formulation. For significant details about the hazards of mothballs, visit The National Pesticide Information Center. Other safety concerns? Mothballs are flammable.