Wildlife becomes a nuisance when they invade our own territory. We all like to live near and enjoy wildlife, yet this proximity to nature has its consequences. We prefer you try to live in harmony with wildlife if at all possible.
Animals usually cause problems when they are looking for food. Raccoons and opossums love to eat dog and cat food. Elk and deer will demolish a garden or yard. When it gets cold rodents and snakes may seek the warmth of a heated building. Unfortunately nature is very cruel when it comes to supply of winter food and the animal population. If you feed wildlife then they become accustomed to humans, more wildlife friends are attracted to the feeding area and thus the problems will increase. We do recommend helping nature out when there are severe storms, yet there must be a balance. We do not recommend feeding dogs and cats outside, or even having a trash can outside if you live in the country. There are some rodent and wildlife proof trash cans available, which should be placed far away from your house if possible. Our Unusual Notebook of small animal items has pictures of fence enclosed barricades, such as totally enclosed dog runs, for those who live in the mountains. To prevent bears from scavenging you also need to bring in the bird feeders in the summer and thoroughly clean the outdoor grill after each use. It is recommended that you do not have an outdoor grill, cooker or BBQ/smoker but instead have a portable unit where you can move it into the shed or garage after cleaning up. If you place a large V shape trough under a bird feeder, this will help keep the seed off the ground and away from some ground scavengers. Seed containing bird feeders and/or winter feeding areas should be placed far away form the house and/or not used if bears are in the area. Bears are also attracted to the vanilla and fruit scented strips people may place in their cars; do not leave peanuts or similar food products in your car. Citronella can attract bears, and the Grizzly bear may even be attracted by pepper spray type deterrents. The compost pile should be kept distant from the house, and fenced off similar to the trash cans; both can be in the same wire fence enclosure. If you have a dumpster one can place a chain and lock on it. First contact your trash removal person for approval and their lock, etc. In our area we have Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) of deer and elk. One of the ways this is transmitted is by salivation, and to reduce the spreading of CWD; we do not recommend you set out salt blocks and/or winter feeding in our area. CWD affects only cervids and does not affect people, pets or domestic livestock. We do have a handout on plants that deer and elk do not like (and those they do prefer). Also please ask for our specific species wildlife handout.
Small pets unfortunately can become food for the predators, such as coyotes and raptors. It is estimated that 90% of the small pets lost in our rural areas are due to predators. We strongly recommend feeding dogs, cats, poultry and other animals before dark and/or before you go to bed, to encourage these pets into forming a habit of coming indoors at night. If you have small livestock less than 500#, and there are coyotes, cougars or bears in the area, we recommend closing them up at night in a barn. If you find yourself with coyotes being a concern on your walk, a long distance pepper spray or even a wasp spray you should have with you. We do rent out paint guns for identifying domestic dogs causing problems, and these can be used also for coyotes if there are 2 people walking together.
To encourage the fox population to expand and help control a rodent population this may result in losses of chickens and other animals in the area. At night the owls only see small dogs and cats as food. An increase in deer population will result in an increase cougar or bear population. The possibilities are endless. To keep wildlife from bothering humans you must deter them by making it uncomfortable for them to be in the area. For barns the lights can be kept on overnight to help keep away the larger cats and other predators that may cause problems to livestock. Examine your facilities and see if a stronger gate latch is needed, a fence on top of the pen, a lock to prevent raccoons from entering the pen, placing the fence fabric much deeper in the ground (2 feet +) or just plugging up the openings. There are night guard flashing red light units that automatically have dusk-dawn sensors, and may keep the neighbors awake if utilized.
We have many deterrents available; motion sensing, inaudible noise producing units for birds, cats and squirrels. Motion sensing units with audible noises, similar to the travel alarms available at most drug and electronic stores. Deterrent sprays to make things taste bad for deer, birds and rodents. There are snake deterrents, ultrasonic rodent deterrents, flashing lights for birds and other items which may help. Birds do not have much of a sense of taste, which is why you can safely add dried cayenne pepper to birdseed to deter squirrels from eating bird food. There are a couple of sprays that can repel birds in the items they eat. We even have motion sensing units which are battery powered and will send a signal to the alarm 500′ away. These alarms can all be set off by you, your pets or birds. Your own animals may be affected by these ultrasonic devises. The old method of marking the area around your premises with urine to warn predators that “other predators live here” can even be tried with actual products we have available. There is not a prefect 100% safe and effective deterrent for all animals. Ginger plants and/or powder can be used to deter feral cats from visiting your garden or sand box area, but will not work very well against a hungry mountain lion. Ammonia may initially discourage some animals, or if used outside it may attract others thinking this is a urine marking location. Mothballs can also be used for some species such as skunks, yet if your own pet eats this product they can become poisoned. The ultrasonic and deterrent products usually are not very effective, unless the noise or smell also bothers you and you feel you need to try something. If the animal is climbing over the fence, a rolling bar (pipe) can be used on the top rail.
It should be noted that the information within this handout is for deterring animals away from your property. For deterring predators while taking a hike in the mountains it is best for everyone to carry a whistle, which comes in handy if they also become lost. There are also portable canisters of air horns also available. Pepper spray requires the animal to be very close, and this product also will attract some bears. Yell, scream and wave your arms is the best deterrent, unless you are in grizzly bear country (and then back off and/or lay down in a ball shape). It is almost a universal standard to have an insurance exclusion for damage from wildlife and rodents. Some species can cause a lot of damage and/or even create electrical fires.
If an animal is very hungry they will find a way to get around the deterrents and/or just ignore them. Humane traps are one of the methods you need to consider utilizing. We have these traps for rent, but first you must consider where are you going to release these animals? Will you be dumping your problem on someone else? Once an animal has learned how easy it is to live off of the human population, then usually they will return to these habits. When baiting a trap we recommend you start with peanut butter for raccoons, skunks and similar species. Peanut butter will not attract dogs and cats as much as cheese, fish or cat food can. Skunks are not allowed to be trapped and then released elsewhere in our state.
If the wildlife is a protected or hunted species you should first contact the state department of wildlife before harming or even humanely trapping the animal. It is illegal to hunt or trap many species of animals. If you are unsure of the type of animal involve, one can look at their prints; there are many good Internet sites with examples to “identify paw prints”.
The Staff at the Nelson Road Veterinary Clinic
Recommended Steps for Preventing Wildlife Problems
If the animal is found inside your dwelling or structure, the best method is to open an escape route and let them leave. Whether it be a bat, squirrel, skunk, raccoon or any other animal you should not try to kill it inside the dwelling. Poisons and smoke are not recommended at all, as the animal will die in a hard to reach spot and only cause more of a problem. If the mother leaves or is killed the babies may quietly hide and await her return—dying and leaving a smell for you to discover a few weeks later. For nocturnal animal, such as bats, you will have to wait till dark. If one finds a bat in their house that morning, after a night of rest, it is recommended anti-rabies vaccines to be performed and/or testing the bat by calling the health department (Do not catch the bat yourself). Placing rags soaked with ammonia helps the animal decide to leave, but don’t place these near their exit. Playing a radio loudly with human voices, such as a talk show, also will help deter some species. Most animals want to leave, you just need to let them leave and allow them to safely exit from this hiding place. Placing a light in their hiding area, such as for bats, may also help. Consider your safety and ensure the light is hung where it will not start a fire. We also have ultrasonic, inaudible deterrent devices for rent. Once the animal has left then you may close up the hole, unless it is breeding season and you feel there are babies inside. For animals which have fallen into pipes and other structures place a thick rope down the side for them to climb out and/or a 2″ x 4″ board with small stripes nailed to it similar to a ladder.
Each species is different in the methods to keep them away. Besides leaving the lights on at night, motion sensor lights, motion sensor spray devises and noise emitting devises there are other methods available. Ask for our listing of these products. A high voltage, low amperage electric fence can be used around poultry areas. There must be enough strands to where the animals, such as a raccoon, cannot go under the wire, jump over and/or climb around this security fence. In the city limits electric fences are illegal, for the protection of children. When placing galvanized welded or chicken type wire fences underground use a design where you have 2-3+‘ above ground, dig down 2 feet, out 2 feet, then back up 18″ with the wire fencing fabric; the resulting shape is similar to a U-design. If you want to keep out snakes you use a 1/4” mesh, and also go up 30+” above ground. Climbing poles can be greased with a petroleum jelly, trees can have a 24″ metal band placed around the middle girth, and some repellents may also help.
There are some commercially available repellents which help, and if used we recommend the ones such as Ropel for discouraging pets in your yard. Expect that the sprays will be needed to be repeated in 2-4 weeks, especially the homemade sprays and/or if it rains or snows. Of the many homemade formulas you can try:
- 2 tablespoons of Tabasco sauce mixed into a quart of water. To be used as a spray.
- Spreading ginger to deter feline type animals. Cayenne pepper can also be used. Each species is different (and for bears cayenne pepper will attract them!!! Use ammonia if you wish to keep bears away from an area, or better yet bear proof the containers and/or hang up food in a bear bag when camping)
- Chop up 1 large Spanish onion and 1 large jalapeno pepper. Add 1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper and boil in 2 quarts of water for 20 minutes. Let cool, strain in a cheese cloth and use as a spray. This mixture needs to be reapplied every 3-5 days.
- Mix 8 oz of a liquid dish soap and 8 oz of caster oil. Add this mixture to 1 gallon of water and use as a spray.
- For an egg based spray, mix up several eggs in a ratio of 1:4 into water. Strain the mixture in cheesecloth, a paint or coffee filter if you want to spray it. Squirrels and other animals do not like the putrid smell, which does not offend most humans. The spray needs to be periodically reapplied and/or after a rain.
- For ground snakes a continuous wall, at least 24” high, around the perimeter of the property will help. The wall should be 18” or more in depth below the ground, and preferably there not being any rodent burrows where the snakes can utilize. The entrance for cars can still allow an area for entry, and all gates need to be 1/4″ or less in available openings; a 12″+ or so solid curb above the ground and below a gate helps to keep out many snakes. The mass of the wall may also attract snakes to the outside during cold weather days; non-poisonous snakes should be left alone. For a metal, wire fabric snake fence it needs to be 1/4” mesh, and also buried 6” or more below ground and backwards. A design of 3’ above ground, 2’ below ground, 2’ back and 18” back up will be a fence to keep out snakes and also digging predators such as raccoons.
First look at your premises and ask yourself why are you having problems? Are you feeding one species and the leftover food is attracting others? Are the species you are feeding attracting predators? If you are having a mouse/rodent problem in your barn please ask for our specific species wildlife deterrent handout.
The Staff at the Nelson Road Veterinary Clinic
Wildlife Suggestions for Deterring a Species
All – ammonia fumes do a good job repelling most all animals, insects and
humans. Remember to try to place ammonia in the back of where they
are at, such as the far end of the attic, barn or basement if at all
possible so that the animal will go out and not farther into your
Antelope – see deer.
Aquatic birds – One can take alligator dummies and place them in the
water, even for deterring geese and ducks up north. Also see Geese
and the Water garden areas below.
Bats – If hanging under the eaves of your roof or in a barn, first try a
dog or cat repellent spray after they have left during the day. One
can also use the motion sensor light indoors and/or the NRVC squirt
gun outside (for birds) is recommended. As with some animals inside
houses one can play a radio tuned into a talk radio show, to help get
the animals to leave. (Animals do not like people talking). Hire a
professional who will close up the holes after the bats have left at
night. This professional also will inspect inside for any bats and
newborns inside. Up to 3% of the bats in our area can carry rabies.
In the fall they do migrate south, and you can wait until November to
plug up the holes yourself. If using expanding foam you need to
paint over the foam, or it will quickly degrade.
Bears – See preventative handout, Deterring Wildlife. When camping out
hang food, toiletries and equipment hang > 10’ above ground and
4’ out from tree trunk. Do not use shampoos and products with herbal
and fruit fragrances when going into the forest, as these smells will
attract bears to “food”. Citronella also attracts bears. Fencing
and locking outdoor gardens, compost and trash bins are needed. In
some areas an electric fence, if legal, may be needed around a smokehouse, etc. These livestock electric fences need to be well
identified and they also a liability if you have neighbor children,
pets, etc. When using electric fences one can bait the fence with a
50/50 peanut butter/oil to alert the bear this is an electric fence;
(the use of capsaicin and eggs, or predator urine, can also be tried
for repelling other animals). If you have lever type doorknobs on
the outside of your house or outbuildings, these should be removed;
bears have trouble opening the round doorknobs. If you have fruit
trees there are some plant hormonal sprays which will drop the fruit
(i.e. gibberellic acid/Ga3, naphthalene acetic acid/NAA). In a small
enclosed area ammonia also helps to keep bears out. Compost piles,
bird feeders and outdoor pet feeding will attract bears. We have a
list of local and other resources for bear-proof trash cans.
Bighorn Sheep – Will need to fence out.
Birds – Prevent them from nesting by covering up all the areas. Also see
individual species. If birds are flying into your windows you will
need to mark the windows with a large “X” of white tape, hang strips
of tape down from the window top, or install blinds outside the
window. For striping/taping windows the best method is to have 1/4″
wide strips vertically 4″ apart, or 1/8″ strips horizontally
1″ apart. Raptor silhouettes and human dummies may help reduce
problems in the garden and poultry pen; best to fence out. For
gardens and trees use fabric nets. Use commercially available
chimney adaptors to screen over chimneys, vents and other openings.
For birds that are eating on edible fruits and vegetables methyl
anthranilate is suggested. Anthraquinone is another product
available for turf (goose repellent) and non-edible human items. See
pigeons below, if they are birds perching on man-made structures.
Also see the aquatic area above and the flicker, geese, herons,
pigeon, raptor and woodpecker areas below.
Bobcats – Leave on lights and see preventative handout.
Cats – outdoors, domestic type; Electronic Yard and Garden Protector by
Cougars – Leave on lights and see preventative handout.
Coyotes – Use coyote urine, also see preventative. Cats and dogs can
become part of the coyote’s food chain if left outside in the problem
areas, even if a fenced yard. (Cougars and bobcats also are part of
the cause of lost pets in rural areas estimated to be as high as
90%.) To remove the use of a trap is recommended. To fence out
coyotes and other predators you need at least a 5-6′ high wire fabric
fence that is embedded into the ground per our preventing wildlife
problems handout. See our handout on wildlife deterring if you are
walking your pets and encounter coyotes. If are trying to shoot an
animal on your property, and it escapes onto the neighbor property
then shooting across the fence line can be a criminal activity.
Deer – Use high fences, 96”’+, with the top curving back (outwards) and do
not plant species of plants they prefer to eat. Also deer do not
like to jump high solid fences, if they cannot see the other side.
See our list of these plants and the non-desirable plants in our
Plant Deterring Handout. Wildlife Deterring Handout has many kinds of
products and formulas to spray onto your current shrubs and trees. Deterrent sprays may not work as well as a straight pepper spray
(non-diluted, homemade formula). One can try planting lavender or
thyme as a perimeter barrier.
Elk – See deer area above.
Flickers – As a type of woodpecker these are a protected species. Place a
nesting box out in the trees, away from your house. Nail 2 boards at
one end (only) and hang on a tree away from the house. Drumming on a
board or tree is a way flickers communicate. If hanging netting
ensure it is 3” or more away from the tree or wood surface of the
house. If they are drumming on metal or wood, try placing carpet
over this area during the spring and summer. Hanging plastic strips,
raptor dummies or silhouettes, flashing lights or mirrors can also be
tried. We also have a source of bird repellents and caulks that may
help. If the woodpeckers are making holes in the house, they may be
looking for insects underneath (especially if on the warm side of the
building in the spring and fall). To kill the insects spray all of
the area and especially the cracks with a shooting wasp spray. The
petroleum distillates in these sprays may also help deter the
woodpecker. It best to also spray all of the similar eaves and
cracks around the house. In the winter, you can try to redirect the
birds from your buildings by offering suet-seed feeders; this can
also keep them around and not encourage them to migrate. Attaching
convex mirrors to the areas where they are pecking on the building
may help, as the “flashes of light” may scare them away; usually this
is the SE corner of the house in our area. Using Mylar type hanging
strips may also help; look in the party stores for metallic fringe,
or the internet has such sources. Flickers also prefer to make holes
in buildings to nest; these holes are usually on the warm side of a
building (SE or maybe the west side). If the birds are still
destroying your house contact the U.S. Fish and Game.
Foxes – see coyotes. A fox can jump a 48″ high fence.
Geese – Automatic water sprinklers may help somewhat, and may also attract
them if in a water shortage area, as the lawn is now greener. Plant
a border of shrubs around the yard and/or fence it. If you have a
dog the underground type fences help keep the dog in your yard. The
coyote models/mannequins do help to keep geese from landing in some
lawns, yet after awhile the geese may get used to these plastic
coyote decoys/models. If the problem is severe contact the Division
of Wildlife. Also see aquatic birds above.
Gophers – To fence out see directions below. The sonic/ultrasound devices
do not work. The vibrating units only repel for 3′ or so. Traps are
available commercially, which work the best. Castor oil can work for
up to 30 days on the eastern mole (not the star-nosed moles which
burrow deeper). There are rods available to place bait up to 3’
underground, which can be safer than gas. Some states outlaw smoke
cartridges. If you are considering the rodent baits for placing in
their holes, please ask for our rat poisoning handout first, plus our
vole trap directions. If a cat eats the affected rodent the cat may
die; some rodenticides sold are have no antidote. If the rodent is
then eaten by a non-targeted species (i.e. a hawk or an eagle) then
there is a federal fine for this ($25K in 2000). Placing the poison
down the hole, and then placing a large paper cup inside the hole and
covering with shredded newspaper and then dirt may help prevent the
non-targeted species problem if you do this before a major storm or
snowstorm. Daily check the area for one week; remove any dead
rodents who may have surfaced. When the first snowfall starts to
occur, take some baited pellets, cubes, etc and place these down into
the holes of gophers, voles, mice and other rodents; and then place
some newspaper into the hole and cover up with dirt. After the snow
melts look for new holes and pathways indicating activity.
Herons – Herons, cranes and storks like to eat fish. A net over your
fishpond is the most practical method. A frame is recommended to
keep the net above water, and also so a protected species (eagle)
does not get entangled in a clear net. Audible and inaudible noise
producing units, with motion sensors, can also be tried.
Lynx – A protected species, contact the Division of Wildlife
Mice – Remove their source of food. For traps see our Mice and Rat
Poisoning Handout, as some commercially sold baits have no poison
antidote for your pet. All baits are toxic to your pet. The humane
and/or repeating traps are the safest if you have children or pets.
The “Better Built Mouse Trap” by Little Giant (2002) is one of the
most efficient. You can hide traps and baits inside sturdy metal
containers in the garage or barn for the safety of your children and
pets. For smart mice that are hard to catch, try using slice cheese
under the tongue latch of the trap. An adult mouse can squeeze
through a 1/4” wide crack. Some feel that the fabric softening
sheets will help repel mice and insects (The overall odors may be
masked yet the fact that they do work we question this recommendation
since no study has shown their effectiveness). For mice and similar
rodent holes that you see in the floor of the barn and hay storage
area, the best time to treat this problem is right before each major
snow or winter rain. Take some of the rodenticide cubes and use a
stick to push them 6-12″ down into the burrow, then place some
newspaper in the hole and then fill with 2-3″ of dirt; do this to all
of the holes at one time. Keep pets out of the area for 5-7 days;
the intent is also to ensure that any treated rodents do not get out
of the burrow and are caught by raptors, etc. Ask for our rat
poisoning handout for the safer rodenticides to use. Many of the
cube baits come with a child/pet proof plastic container; we
recommend these stations over the loose pellets. For your barn also
see the Snake area below.
Mole – see gopher above.
Moose – Best is to fence out and not plant willows and other forages they
prefer. Moose can be very aggressive.
Mountain Goats – will need to fence out.
Opossums – Remove food available. Automatic light sensor for those trying
to nest in your garage, etc (or the NRVC water gun if an outside
area). See squirrels if they are climbing.
Pigeons – many sticky strips and strips of nail products available. The
best method is to screen out the birds, using wire screen even if you
need to screen a large area such as underneath the rafter, etc. If
you do not like the strips of nails then one can also try the battery
powered vibrating units for moles. These vibrate only a few seconds
out of every 3-10 minutes, and there can be related problems of the
vibration affecting humans. One can attach vibrating probes to the
rafters where birds perch. The batteries last about 2 weeks;
especially set out these deterrents before the nesting season. There
are also low voltage units for perching birds available from NRVC.
The most practical approach is to purchase the strips with metal
spikes/nails; the plastic spikes do not work as well.
Porcupines – see opossums and skunks
Prairie Dogs – See our Raptor Pole Handout. Supposedly a solid fence
(i.e. fabric) will keep the prairie dogs from digging past this
point, but in our experience this does not help in the long term.
We have double opening traps for wildlife to rent out, if need be.
Trapping is best done in the fall/winter when they will go after the
hay placed inside. The mole units do help somewhat, and are
discussed in our Prairie Dog Handout. In Colorado is it now legal
to use a propane blast, and for the gas cartridges you must have a
pesticide registration; there are also rodenticide baits which are
legal; i.e. see the mice area.
Predators – in general are scarred of movement and loud noises if your
tracks meet in the wild. Grizzly bears are threatened by humans in
an upright position.
Rabbits – Best to screen out, at least a 24″ high fence which curves back
(outwards). If burrowing the vibrating units help a little.
Deterrents for spraying plants are also available and these do help a
little, if sprayed monthly.
Raccoons – Remove food available and screen out. If climbing place an
18-24” piece of smooth metal around the tree, at least 36” off the
ground. See squirrels if they are climbing. For a perimeter fencing
can use 48”+ high and curved back (outwards), besides having a buried
fence; raccoons can climb straight up and down a fence. Also see
digging prevention, and the motion sensors for light and water
deterrent sprays in the skunk area below. It is possible to also use
predator urine (such as fox).
Raptors are not usually a species one does not want to deter; we have a
handout for a raptor pole to attack such birds of prey if you want
and/or owl nesting box designs for abandoned silos. If you have
nesting owls in a tree you can obtain a 4x D size battery powered Mole Repeller and tape this to the tree to repel the owls.
Rats – See mice above
Rodents in an area where hawks and eagles may ingest them (a secondary
loss) – the cholecalciferol baits (D3) are safer than the warfarin
type baits for the other animals who may ingest the dead rodent. If
a pet ingests the warfarin bait, the early treatment for warfarin
type baits is more successful than the vitamin D3 bait overdose. To
attract raptors to a pasture see our raptor pole set up directions
below. The electronic deterrents do not work very well for mice,
Skunks – Remove food available. Mothballs and ammonia can be used.
Consider an automatic light sensor for those trying to nest in areas
and/or the NRVC water gun if an outside area. See our handout if your
trap a skunk (MISCRENTal area); it is illegal to rehabilitate and/or
trap and release the stripped skunk in our state. The spotted skunk
is a protected species in our state. Our Wildlife Deterring Handout
discusses the underground fence pattern (down, back and up) if they
Snakes – As with most wildlife they show up where there is food; also see
our Snake Trap Handout. Mice, grasshoppers, fish and other animals are all food. For the early spring and especially the fall or cool
weather we have a handout and a NRVC Snake trap. Snakes are
attracted to warm walls and large rock, so store items such as wood
in snake tight areas outdoors (less than 1/4” cracks for adult
snakes) and/or definitely elevated off the ground. A perimeter snake
fence and/or homemade traps are described in our snake catching
direction handout. For snakes in the pond eating your fish and frogs
NRVC also has a water snake trap. Nonpoisonous snakes are protected
in our state. If you have a friend with mice in their barn consider
moving and placing garter size snake into the burrow/hole of the
mice; bull snakes will get too large if they have small poultry
Spiders – Remove the insects they are in search of. Using a flea fogger
is helpful, yet you may be removing the “good spiders” and black
widow spiders may then come into the area. Moth balls do help, yet
these products can be toxic to pets. If you remove one type of
spider, then another more toxic type spider may fill the void.
Squirrels – Remove food available and screen out. There are commercially
available bird feeders to help prevent squirrel access. By placing a
smooth metal band 18-24” around a tree, 36” or more above the ground
helps prevent them from climbing up (yet the band 3x+ their body
length will not prevent them from jumping down from a power line or
other trees). One can also obtain a circular solid ring of material
(plastic) and make a 24-36” Elizabethan collar around a horizontal or
vertical pole or wire they are climbing. Place the collar so it
looks like a bell, with the opening downwards. Then take another
similar collar and place it in a V shape above, to catch the bird
Voles – There are traps available at most stores for voles and moles; see
gopher above. Also see the mouse area if they are in the barn and/or
if you can find their burrows.
Water Gardens – Hagen has a Laguna Deer Scarer. Also see the Aquatic
birds and Heron above.
Woodchucks – use a 48”+ fence which curves back (outwards) and bury as per
perimeter fencing discussed below.
Woodpeckers – See NRVC’s remote motion sensor and water spraying gun.
Also see flicker and the bird areas above.
Wolves – Are a protected species, contact the Division of Wildlife
When using wire fencing to keep out wildlife, such as rabbits to foxes, we recommend the 21 gauge or heavier fencing (<20 gauge is heavier). The plastic and lighter fencing do not last. The standard fence for burrowing animals is 2’ down, 2’ back and 18” up, besides the fence above ground. The overall fence can appear U-shape before burying. For a snake fence and/or gophers use a 1/4” wire mesh above and the vertical height below ground. For other burrowing species you can use wire cage connectors to splice the 1/4” wire with chicken wire below ground.
One can set up a raptor pole by contacting the utility company; they may be able to remove an old wooden pole in your area and place it in your pasture (or know of a contractor who can); a 16′ post from the lumber yard usually is not tall enough. The pole should be 50-250′ from the road if possible, as this is about the maximum swoop distance from a pole. Before angering a hole you need to call for a utility locator to mark the area. A small 12-24″ flat platform with some 24-36″ long attached cross perching poles is recommended.
Electric wire fences are usually illegal in most areas, as this is a liability for the homeowner and a safety concern for children. Hot wires 3”, 10”, 18” high will deter most raccoons, while another strand 3-4’ higher will help deter deer. If you use such an item ensure it is legal and you post notices.
It should be noted that to feed wildlife is illegal in our state. To harm protected wildlife can be a felony. To harm wildlife that has a hunting season, such as deer and geese, is also illegal. If you trap wildlife, then consider the consequences of releasing them onto someone else’s property and/or creating problems for people nearby. Trapping some wildlife may be illegal, even if they are a nuisance. Contact the Division of Wildlife if in doubt. If you find wildlife indoors, open the door and leave yourself. If the wildlife has fallen into a hole, then a wooden plank with optional strips of wood steps across can be lowered into the hole. If up on a pole less than 20’ ensure there are no power lines nearby if using the extension ladder with plank method. Orphan wildlife are rare, and usually the mother is around. Leave these small birds and wildlife babies where you found them. For more information and ideas one can go to the Internet Center for Wildlife Management at http://icwen.org/ as there are many things to try.
The Staff at the Nelson Road Veterinary Clinic
Control of Insects and Similar Problems
Ants – Remove any food source. Boric acid does not work as well as the
commercial insecticides. We prefer the avermectin baits for safety
to your pet. For red ants in a pasture there are baits of corn
grits, soybean oil and a pesticide where worker ants take this food
back to the colony. Animals should not be allowed access to these
baits. As a second step one can treat the individual mounds with
sprays, dusts or granules. We prefer the sprays for animal safety.
We also have an avermectin syrup available in the clinic to treat for
ants and wasps. If you find ants coming into your house, look
outside under rocks and similar surfaces for their ant colony. If
fire ants are in your area, keep sick animals inside. If they appear
on your pet remove the pet from the area, do not wash down (they will
sting more), then apply an insect spray or powder labeled for topical
use on animals. Frontline kills rabbits, permectins labeled for dogs
may kill cats, etc;read the label. There are elevated platforms with
a soapy water barrier below, if you are having ant and insect
problems only near the pet food bowls; Antser is such a product.
Aphids – Aphids, white flies, thrips and similar insects are attracted to
a specific wavelength of light, near the yellow spectrum. Yellow
sticky traps may help.
Bees – These are beneficial and it is recommended to call a commercial bee
removal service (or a local honey producer). If one cannot be found
we can help with a sugar/ivermectin formula, which needs to be
screened in to protect your pets, hummingbirds and other beneficial
animals. This 2nd method takes weeks to work; the capturing of the
hive is the quickest solution. NRVC has a source of removing bees in
the ground, and also a screened feeder for the above ivermectin. If
you are highly allergic to bees, it is recommend to spray each spring
your flowering trees, bushes and plants with a fruit retardant spray.
Unfortunately any flowers will attract bees. There are some special
male vines that do not have flowers that attract as many bees.
Beetles – Japanese beetles can be attracted to a pheromone + sweet
smelling trap (only 50% effective). Beetles prefer white and yellow
flowers over darker shades.
Crickets – They come into the house where there are open cracks and poor
door seals; although they come out in the night a light left on
inside will also attract them into the house. There are some sticky
traps that work somewhat, and a line of boric acid powder around the
perimeter helps a little; the spray insecticides are the best
product. Spray the crevices and cracks all around the house. If you
fog for mosquitoes the fogging of these cracks can help if you start
early in the year before they become adults.
Earthworms – these are beneficial and needed for a healthy soil. To bring
them up to the surface one can water the soil and place a whirligig
in place (a propeller on a stick which will produce vibrations; found
in bait stores or NRVC. NRVC also has similar vibrating devices
which are battery or solar powered.
Earwigs – are beneficial in that they eat mites and aphids. To make a
trap take a plastic container, use a paper punch to make multiple
holes in the lid. Place 1/3” of soy sauce, an attractant, and a
similar amount of vegetable oil in the container. Partially bury
this container in the soil for a week or so. Insecticidal sprays are
the most effective sprays. Soaps only work by contact, and do not
work well on earwigs who hide in tight, dark places.
Flies – See our Fly Control Handout, as each species of flies is
controlled differently. For the average
household fly we recommend the flytraps sold commercially in hardware
stores. The large jars with a rotting smell work very well. Fruit
flies are attracted by a sweet smell; remove the rotting fruit. To
get rid of the remaining flies use half a cup of cider vinegar and
add a few drops of liquid dishwashing soap.
Grasshoppers – One can plant hedges to attract them at the perimeter of
your property and periodically use a spray near dusk when the bees
are in their hives; try a BT spray first. If you use a systemic
insecticide spray try to ensure bees are not feeding on the flowers,
if present. Your local garden center will know the best hedges for
your area. As a natural approach a couple of hens/chickens work very
well, and if you have a few acres one can also bring in turkeys and
guinea hens; chickens are recommended if in doubt.
Hornets – See wasp area below.
Insects – are all treated differently, per each species. Soil insects can
be controlled by planting marigolds, as a chemical in the root
inhibits the root-knot nematodes yet does not affect the beneficial
Miller Moths – these are migrating to the mountains, and are attracted by
light. A yellow light bulb does not
attract them as much. Night lights and soapy water makes the best
trap. Rescue (www.rescue.com) makes a small night light trap with a
photo sensor for garden use.
Millipedes – feed on plants and fruit near the soil. Use the newspaper
trap, as described in the roly-poly section below.
Mosquitoes – During the day they conjugate in heavy plant and flowerbeds.
As you walk around look at bushes which mosquitoes like to rest in
during the day (i.e. euonymus, evergreens). Fog these areas by using
an insect fogger a few hours before dusk for those bushes which do
not attract bees, 2-3x a week to help keep the population down.
Flowering bushes with a large amount of mosquitoes and for flies we
recommend that you wait until dusk when the bees are gone. (We do
recommend the propane foggers found at Ace Hardware, Budget, etc). To
help eliminate breeding areas use BT. The propane powered “mosquito
magnets” do help somewhat with mosquitoes and gnats. The electronic
repellers do not work. Some feel that the fabric softener sheets may
help with repelling insects and mice (yet they work or less than 20
minutes); with the odors eliminated/human lung concerns and the fact
that these do not work very well we question their use).
Rolypolys and sows bugs – rolypolys do not curl up in a ball. Both are
beneficial in that they eat decaying matter. To catch you can roll
up a page of newspaper and spray it down with water at night. In the
morning pick up the paper and place it in the compost pile.
Silverfish – Moisture is needed to attack these insects; they are usually
Are an indoor problem. First you need to remove the water
leak/source, ventilate the area, etc. Outside long acting pyrethrins
(cypermethrin, lamdbacyhalothrin, etc) sprays can be used; powders
last longer if you have a small area. (If a product is used indoors
ensure it is labeled for such a use).
Slugs and Snails – Baits work well, except they are toxic to other
animals. Pans of beer as a trap help some,
as they like yeast. To prevent foliage damage use strips of copper
around the tree base (cut 1/3 of the 1-2” width so there are flaps to
turn out below). Copper on the ground is not as effective, unless
you make a small fence/lawn edging with the copper on top.
Wasps – Prevent their access to make a nest. There are traps and
attractants available commercially in most hardware stores. Expect
these traps to work best in the late summer and early fall. If
purchasing a spray for their mud nests, ensure it will spray at least
20’ and make a foam (where the wasps cannot fly). Spray at night.
If the wasps have a nest in the ground and you prefer to use a
natural method, you can use 95%+ ethyl alcohol (EverClear) and pour
this into the hole at night, then cover up. The Western Yellow
Jacket has a yellow and black abdomen, and yellow encircling the
eyes. The Western variety (Vespula pensylvanica) prefers to nest in
the ground. The German Yellow Jacket has mostly a yellow abdomen
(less black), and some of the black is not in bands but instead in
dots. The German variety (Vespula germanica) prefers to nest in
structures. To remove the German, Yellow and/or European wasps, also
spray at night. If the wasps seen to be attracted to your flashlight
you can place some red cellophane over the lens (they will sometimes
follow white light. Overall it is better to see well than to worry
about the wasps coming after you at night; use the foaming products).
After you have sprayed them and removed the nest the next day it is
best to obtain some metal electrical or plumbing “push-ins” to seal
the holes in the pipe; measure the ID of your pipe first as
electrical and water pipes are different sizes. In some areas the
expanding insulative foam can be used to plug up their hole; the foam
is not very attractive. To be successful you need to start early in
the spring by removing wasp nests and the queen(s). In the early
summer they prefer protein type diets, and in the fall carbohydrates.
Commercial products with heptylbutrate work very well in the very
early spring and the late fall. The best location for these hanging
wasp traps is usually under a tree. Yellow jackets can be attracted
by sugar water, a Dr. Pepper soft drink, fruit preserves, or even
part of a watermelon. In the fall they are especially attracted to
flowers, “sweet fruit-like traps”. Sometimes these yellow jackets
become carnivorous and even bite. If stung, their stingers leave a
chemical attractant for other wasps within 30’to follow, even if you
are moving. It is the Western Yellow Jacket which is the most
aggressive wasp. The German variety will carnivorize other insects,
such as the tomato hornworm. Mud wasps are not as aggressive, yet
they can be a nuisance when you eat outside. Paper wasps are
carnivorous and are attracted to meat, such as a whole fish tied a
little above a bucket of soapy water. If the wasps are collecting
water and mud, you can make a muddy paste and ivermectin in a cup and
then place this within a chicken wire cage (to keep out other
animals). On the average, in the spring and summer wasps are
attracted to hamburger/protein as a bait, and in the fall they prefer
the sweet items. The best commercial bait sold for the Western
Yellow Jacket contains heptyl Butyrate; yet the German Yellow Jacket
prefers a different bait. Once you find the source of food they
prefer, you can add Sevin or another similar insecticide to the
water. Sevin breaks down quickly in the sunlight within a day; yet
for safety reasons with pets we prefer dispensing an avermectin
product to be mixed into the food or water for your homemade wasp
trap, mud traps, etc. Only 5-10x drops of the liquid avermectin is
needed in a pound of product; we have this product at the clinic.
When some plants flower and/or produce small berries wasps will swarm
and feed on this plant. If you have euonymus in your yard watch in
early August feeding frenzy in our area when this shrub plant blooms;
you can use a long acting systemic plant spray such as acephate
(Orthene); this shrub also attracts grasshoppers and mosquitoes. We
do not recommend systemic sprays if bees are feeding upon the flowers
of a plant. You can carefully spray a quick acting insecticide
during the day when you will notice the plants the wasps are feeding
upon (and not bees). When wasps feed on apple trees, raspberries,
grapes and other plants the withdrawal time for carbaryl (Sevin) is
from 11 days down to 2 days and probably not indicated to use for
wasps control alone. If you have a continual wasp problem consider
planting euonymus bushes as a magnet type trap. We do not recommend
nicotinic type insecticidal sprays if you have bees.
Worms periodically appear in the stock water tank. The small red worms
are the larvae of midges. There are also found in water some very
large (3″+) cream to blackish “horsehair worms”, and these are the
larvae of a insect/crustacean parasite called Nematomorpha gordiacea;
grasshoppers, crickets and other insects are intermediate hosts of
this Gordian worm. If in a dirty water the worms on the bottom of
the water tank and are black these are tubflex worms. All of these
above worms in the stock tank are not a problem to animals. (The
redworms in vermicomposting are a different worm, Eisenia foetida.
For earthworms see above).
The Staff at the Nelson Road Veterinary Clinic
Treating Flies, Mites and Other Insects
Naturally with Non-chemical Products
Using natural products to treat insects does have its advantages. It is well known that the pyrethrin insecticide compounds come from the Chrysanthemum plant. Many topical oils smother insects, because insects breath through pores/breathing tubes in their skin and do not have lungs like mammals, etc. For organic animals there are no insecticides including pyrethrins that are able to be used for fly control. Using diatomaceous earth can help, but realistically the insect has to rub against this grain and rub off their skin; it works best in a vacuum cleaner. Diatomaceous earth is an oversold product that is not effective for lice, flies, intestinal parasites and other uses.
Bacillus thuringiensis is a well known bacterium that destroys the water larvae of many insects. Some of the parasitic wasps work for some species of flies, but not every wasp will not lay their eggs on every fly larvae species; there is a difference between the house fly and the stable fly, horn fly, etc. The parasitic wasps for flies are approximately 35% effective on average. Some parasitic mites do not work at room temperature; Hypoaspis mite does not work above 28 degrees C (F); if used this mite needs a substrate bedding and humidity to reproduce and thus newspaper should not be used as a bedding. The Cheyletus mite is sold to treat a lot of species of reptile and poultry mites; unfortunately many products can be sold and they have very little efficacy. For supplements the www.consumerlab.com is a great site, but there is no such site for other alternative treatments at this time.
Unfortunately to control many insects the best products are the insecticides and Bacillus thuringiensis. Sometimes when we are overwhelmed with insects and we have no other choice; we have a separate handout on each species of insect and a recommendation for natural or other control methods. As FYI biopesticides, which include BT, are regulated by the EPA similar to other insecticide products; in summary if it works usually the EPA regulates it (similar to food or drugs there is an agency to ensure there is safety and effectiveness). The nicotinic insecticides possibly affect the bees more than pyrethrins and other natural insecticides. If you are concerned, at this time we do not recommend using these nicotinic product sprays containing acetamiprid, clothianidin, cycloxaprid, imidacloprid, nitenpyram, nithiazine, thiacloprid or thiamethoxam.
Targeted Species Parasitic species to consider
House flies (Musca domestica) Muscidifurax zaraptor fly wasp
Mosquitoes Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis
Poultry mites Cheyletus eruditus
Reptile mite (Ophionyssus natricis)Nypoaspis mite
””””’ Cheyletus eruditus mite
Stable Flies Spalangia nicroaenea fly wasp
In summary for fly control for organic animals there are no insecticides or insect growth regulators (IGR’s) that are allowed to be utilized. The natural methods above and daily cleaning are the methods for natural and organic animal husbandry.
The Staff at the Nelson Road Veterinary Clinic
For a fence to discourage digging predators, place galvanized welded or chicken wire above and underground by using a design where you have 2-3+‘ above ground, dig down 2 feet, out 2 feet, then back up 18″ with the wire fencing fabric; the resulting shape is similar to a U-design. For fencing to keep out rabbits or foxes, we recommend the 21 gauge or heavier fencing (<20 gauge is heavier). The plastic and lighter fencing do not last.
To keep out deer you will need a high fence, 96”’+, with the top curving back (outwards). Deer also do not like to jump high solid fences, if they cannot see the other side, and a lower solid fence can be used in a small garden area. We recommend you do not plant the species of plants they prefer to eat. See our list of the plants they like and the non-desirable plants if you have a yard which attracts deer or elk. Our plant deterring (and attracting) handouts are available, and also they are displayed in our wildlife Book in the reception area. There are also many kinds of products and formulas to spray onto your current shrubs and trees, as discussed in our handouts and wildlife notebook. If you are building a new, large enclosure which is fenced in, call and check in with your county or city building code office; a building permit may be required.
A permanent fence to keep goats from eating trees is a reverse pyramid type shape, where the bottom is small and the top is angled out to prevent goats from easily climbing up the fence; the frame is made out of 2×4″ to 3×3″+ size wood and its 2×2’+ base is anchored into the ground. It will not keep a large bear out of an apple tree, and deer can almost stand on their back legs to obtain an apple.
For a snake fence and/or gophers use a 1/4” wire mesh above and below the ground. If using a metal, wire fence it needs to be buried 6” or more down and backward (out from the yard). For ground snakes a continuous wall, at least 24” high, around the perimeter of the property will help. The wall should be 18” or more in depth below the ground, and preferably there not being any rodent burrows where the snakes can utilize. The entrance for cars can still allow an area for entry, and all gates need to be 1/4″ or less in available openings. The mass of the wall may also attract snakes to the outside during cold weather days. If rattlesnakes are a problem we do have humane snake traps which may help.
For a combination small wildlife fence to keep out burying predators and snakes one needs to go down 24”, come back (outside) 24” and then up 18”. The wildlife fences have a U-shape type design. In addition the fence needs to be 30” or more above ground for snakes, resulting in a total width of 8’+ for a dual-purpose fence! It may be indicated to special order in a roll of 8-10’ 1/4” mesh fencing. In small areas this can be practical, yet around the perimeter of a large yard one may want to consider the 36” of 1/4” mesh as the top half and a 60” of chicken wire as the below ground fence. The two fences can be joined with clips made for such a purpose. These clips are usually sold to make up poultry cages. A fox fence should be at least 4’ high, a coyote fence should be up to 5’ high, and a large dog can jump a fence 6’ above ground.
Climbing poles can be greased with a petroleum jelly, trees can have a 24″ metal band placed around the middle girth, and some repellents may also help deter wildlife. We have a special handout for wildlife deterring. It may be tempting to place electric hot-wires 3”, 10” & 18” above ground to deter most raccoons, or another strand 3-4’ higher to help deter deer. If you use such items ensure it is legal and you post notices. For species that will climb a fence (raccoons) it is best to have a fence that angles outward at the top and/or have a complete enclosure if raptors are also a problem.
The Staff at the Nelson Road Veterinary Clinic