If you try some of these suggestions and still have trouble with yard animals, give us a call (314-567-2060).
We will gladly help evaluate the situation and offer our services.
If you are striving for the perfectly manicured lawn, Missouri's climate and wild inhabitants may be driving you nuts. An alternative way to think about your lawn and garden is practicality. Rather than spending valuable time and resources constantly mowing and watering, for example, set the mower blade a notch higher and don't mow as often. This will actually be better for your grass. It will retain moisure longer and prevent scorching. If you do water your lawn regularly, this moisture may attract more insects and/ or draw them closer to the surface of the soil, where they are food for all types of wildlife and their activity.
Likewise, where critters in the yard are concerned, think twice before eradicating every one you think you have. All creatures care about food, water, shelter, and sex. The last one they will manage! The rest you can pay attention to in order to limit unwanted guests.
(Some of these suggestions do not have proven studies to back them and are not guaranteed.
However, we have used these suggestions and have demonstrated success repelling wildlife.)
(one example of this is: a steel 'trash can' with a sturdy lid secured to the can, with holes drilled into the bottom and sides large enough for a worm to move in and out freely, then placed and secured in a hole dug into the ground to fit the bottom of the can, aroung ten inches to two feet deep. Fill with soil and lightly scatter organic matter regularly. Adding a compost enhancer or even using about 1/5 previous compost- to- 3/5 (or more) fresh soil- to- 1/5 (or less)compostable matter. This compost bin lets the hungry worms in to make amazing soil, and keeps the curious wildlife out! This is one of MANY good examples!)
As a general rule;
noises, offensive smells, and predators make for poor living environments and may cause your visitor to move on.
Caution- the use of capsaicin oils and products can potentially harm wildlife. It also may stain whatever it touches,
and may burn your skin, eyes, nose and more on contact!
(Caution needs to be applied when using this treatment! It is pepper spray!)
Keep in mind these are temporary solutions that need to be reapplied regularly to remain effective.
The best solution is prevention!
The following are a few critters you may find in the yard and how to deal (humanely) with them.
For a comprehensive listing, visit the Wild Neighbors problem-solving page.
Armadillos: New to our region, these creatures are following the food and opportunity now available to them. They are insectivores, and prefer habitat which does not freeze for long periods of time. Our ecosystem is beginning to provide great resources for them. These creatures are often lured to our homes and yards by our behaviors. Often, a well-watered and manicured lawn is not just appealing to us, but also the creatures that live with us. If you water your lawn- reduce the frequency and amount. If you have landscaping and mulched areas- consider substituting rock or pebbles instead. Mulch attracts insects and the creatures whom eat them. Using repellants may be effective when used in conjunction with habitat and behavior modification. Additional ideas and prevention tips can be provided for successful prevention if you Contact Us.
Moles: The much-maligned mole is actually a beneficial animal, eating mostly earthworms and aerating the soil. They almost never do the horrendous damage they are blamed for. Find out more about this complex creature and what to do to live with it.
Rabbits: Yes, they do eat flowers and vegetables. However, they also eat things like clover, dandelions, apples, seeds, and nuts. In fact, they prefer these foods. Bribe them with cut up apple or small handfuls of bird seed. Put it out early in the morning or early in the evening when they are most active. Rabbits love clover and dandelions, but if you rid your yard of these wild plants - especially with toxic chemicals - they and other animals will look elsewhere for food. This could very well turn out to be your flower beds, gardens, and the bark of young trees and bushes. Let clover and dandelions grow as deterrents to your other desired vegetation! The above mentioned solutions may also help detour rabbits, especially predator smells.
Voles: Much like rabbits, these little rodents enjoy alternatives to garden plants. Try cut up apple and seeds to entice them away from your valued plants. Castor oils and other oils, dog and cat hair, cayene pepper and other solutions can also be applied as a deterrent but will need to be applied regularly. When planting bulbs and plants, add "hardware cloth" ( 1/4"x1/4" or at least 1/2"x1/2" metel mesh, small square "chicken wire") to the bottom and sides of the hole, then add the plant and soil. The hardware cloth will inhibit the voles (and others) from devastating the plants in the future.
To repel garden insects, give castor or neem oil a try.
Castor oil is available as a liquid or granular treatment at most lawn and garden stores. This oil makes the food taste strange to wildlife and the area smell funny (to wildlife). This can disrupt normal feeding behaviors and discourage wildlife from feeding there. It is safe for most people and pets.
True neem oil can be purchased at many garden shops, "natural" stores selling essential oils, and online. (For repelling indoor bugs, see our Dealing with Bugs page.)
In a spray bottle shake together:
1 quart warm water
1 tsp. neem oil
1/3 tsp. liquid soap or dish detergent
Spray the tops and undersides of leaves once a week if insects are present, every two weeks to prevent re-infestation. Shake the mixture frequently during use. The only downside to homemade neem spray is its short shelf life. The mixture should be used within 8 hours of making.
For a stronger concentration (for resistent bugs) combine:
1 quart warm water
2 tsp. neem oil
1 tsp. liquid soap or dish detergent
Pease contact us for more suggestions or advice in the application of these treatments.