Non-Chemical Pest Management Method
by Thomas Craughwell
There are many reasons you might choose non-chemical methods to keep pests away from your house and garden; perhaps you are concerned about contaminating the soil and water with chemicals, or perhaps you are worried that chemicals or traps might harm the children, pets and beneficial animals and insects in your yard. Whatever your reasons, there are safe, effective methods to keep pests at bay.
Deer are creatures of habit that like to forage time and again in a place that has become familiar to them. If that place is your yard, you must take steps to make the deer's visit unpleasant. In a net bag, hang bars of strong-smelling bath soap, or an ounce of human hair, around your garden. Alternatively, mix 1 cup of milk, 2 gallons of water, 2 eggs, 2 tablespoons of cooking oil and 2 tablespoons of liquid detergent. Pour into spray bottle and apply to all your garden plants. As the milk and eggs go bad, the smell, like the smell of soap or human hair, will repel deer.
Mice, rats and rabbits will all be attracted to your compost pile; the decaying vegetable matter that will enrich your garden soil is a free meal to them. To drive off the rodents, soak rags in oil of peppermint and hang them from a string around the compost. The smell of the peppermint will drive off rodents. Remember to replace the old rags with fresh ones after each rainfall.
Although moles do not eat vegetation, their tunneling can destroy the root systems of your garden plants. Plant daffodils and marigolds around the edge of your garden; the odor of these plants will keep the moles away. Castor beans and mole plants are also effective, but they are poisonous, so avoid them if children and pets play in your yard.
Opossums and Raccoons
Opossums and raccoons are drawn to garbage cans. If you know where an opossum has made its den, spread ammonia and mothballs around the mouth of the den, but keep in mind that there is a good chance the opossum will just set up housekeeping elsewhere on your property. The most effective way to get rid of an opossum is to set a live trap and transport and release the animal in the woods many miles away. The same is true of raccoons. Nothing repels them, so your only option is to trap and relocate a raccoon.
If a skunk has moved onto your property or burrowed under your porch, scatter the peels of oranges, lemons and limes near the mouth of the burrow and all around your house and yard. Skunks hate the smell of citrus fruit and will stay away.