Many customers inquire about the use of poisons and chemical deterrents to solve their animal damage complaints. Some of this is due to their familiarity with Pest control companies who solve pest problems by spraying some poison. Other times customers read about substances whose odor is believed will stop animals from remaining in the area, such as moth balls or human hair.
Unfortunately, these methods generally dont apply to animal damage situations. First, it is a federal crime to use a poison inconsistent with its labeling. If the container doesnt list the critter as a target species, than you cannot legally apply the poison for that creature. It should be pointed out that the vast majority of animals that damage property have no poisons registered for them. Thus the only legal, lethal option is trapping. Shooting is a possibility. However, given that guns cannot be fired safely near buildings or roads, it isnt usually an option either. There is one more problem with poison, it is dangerous. Think about how lethal the poison would have to be to kill a 20 pound raccoon? What would happen if a child ate this poison? What would be the long term effects of such poisons on children, wells etc? Obviously, no one contracts cancer from trapping. Trapping is truly an environmentally friendly form of animal damage control.
As for repellents, they dont work very well. Generally speaking, these products only have applicability in farming situations. There farmers are looking to reduce the overall crop damage caused by deer, woodchucks etc. For them, reducing crop damage from 20% to 10 % is a major accomplishment. On the other hand, most urban and suburban animal damage control clients want 100% damage reduction. This cannot be accomplished with the present state of repellents. However, if you would be happy with less than 100% damage reduction, then consult with our resources. They will be able to advise you on the best techniques and products available.
Why dont repellents work very well? The answer is very simple, animals adapt. Think of how many products we are exposed to every day. If you had the choice of putting up with a bad smell versus not eating which do you think you would choose. Of course, you would hold your nose and eat. So it is with the animal kingdom. Even loud noises or scary objects soon lose their shock value. Visit my repellents page to learn even more about the weaknesses of repellents.
We hope that this article helped you better understand the role of trapping in controlling animal damage. While it is not the only method, it is certainly the most effective.
Disclaimer: WDC seeks to provide accurate, effective and responsible information on resolving human/wildlife conflicts. We welcome suggestions, criticisms to help us achieve this goal. The information provided is for informational purposes only and users of the information use it at their own risk. The reader must consult state/federal officials to determine the legality of any technique in the reader's locale. Some techniques are dangerous to the user and to others. WDC encourages readers to obtain appropriate training (see our informational literature at our Store ), and understand that proper animal damage control involves patience, understanding that not every technique/method works for every situation or even 100% of the time. Your use of this information is governed by this understanding. We welcome potential users of the information and photos to simply ask for permission via e-mail. Finally, WDC welcomes e-mail but understand that all e-mails become property of Wildlife Damage Control.