How to keep raccoons away from your home
If you know what kind of damage raccoons can cause, it’s no surprise you don’t want them hanging around. It’s not limited to a tipped over trash can from time to time. Female raccoons in search of a nesting site may rip off shingles, fascia boards or rooftop ventilators to get into your attic. Once they are inside, they will tear up insulation, go to the bathroom and bring with them a host of parasites. Then again, they might avoid the attic all together and make themselves at home in your chimney, crawl space or under your deck or porch. And of course, they’ll want a snack which is easy to access from a nearby garden, decorative fish pond, pet food bowl or trash can.
How to determine the size of your problem
Raccoons are nocturnal, so they can be hard to detect. It’s especially important to pay attention to the clues they leave behind and to the frequency and amount in which they are left behind. Here are some things to look for:
- Evidence of feeding — tipped over trash cans, damage to your garden or fish pond, a spilled or emptied pet food bowl, knocked over bird feeders, a disturbed compost pile.
In addition to the evidence they leave behind, you may also able to hear them visiting before you ever see them. No matter what alerts you, once you’re aware you have raccoons hanging around your house, it’s best to try to get rid of them as soon as possible.
UTILIZE REPELLENTS TO GET RID OF RACCOONS
Homemade Raccoon Repellents
Using homemade recipes is a natural but not-inexpensive method to get rid of raccoons. There are two categories of repellents you can make or use: taste repellents, and odor repellents. Taste repellents use strong and offensive flavors, such as cayenne pepper, to deter a raccoon’s interest. Odor repellents use strong and offensive smells, such as ammonia.
One homemade “taste” raccoon repellent recipe uses 1 bottle hot pepper sauce or 1 bottle cayenne pepper powder and mixes it with a gallon of water and a teaspoon of dishwashing liquid. The soap helps the liquid to adhere to what you’re spraying, and should be sprayed on the entire area that you would like to protect. The cost to gather the ingredients for this and other homemade recipes can range from $9 to $20 for a single application.
Homemade recipes can seem like a cost-effective way to get rid of raccoons at first, however because they are easily washed away with rainfall (Central PA gets an average of 130 days of rainfall each year), you need to apply the product fairly often, which leads to greater expense and effort to get rid of raccoons in the long run. Also, hot peppers and soap are nose, mouth and eye irritants in animals, children, and adults, should they come into contact with the sprayed area. Cost of Application: With 100+ reapplications per year the cost for a single year can be greater than $300.
Effectiveness for Getting Rid of Raccoons: Fair
A raccoon is very sensitive to smell so it’s natural to try using strong odors as a way to keep them out of gardens and under patios. Household products can be used as a repellent such as, ammonia and mothballs, however these products need to constantly be replaced, are harmful when they come into contact with mucus membranes, and mothballs are purported to be toxic. Professional trappers report that intelligent raccoons are more likely to remove an offending odor, or cover it up than to vacate the premises. Cost of Application: Continuous ($150/year or more)
Effectiveness for Getting Rid of Raccoons: Negligible
Sprinklers are another method to deter raccoons because they really dislike being around water. Running your sprinklers at different times during the day to get rid of raccoons will work, but since we’re living in a time where water is becoming more precious every day, this solution can be wasteful and expensive. Many parts of the United States will no longer allow sprinklers to be run every day so taking this route is not environmentally friendly or cost effective. There are products on the market specifically designed to conserve water while providing effective deterrents for raccoons.
Motion Activated Sprinklers can be purchased for $50 to $180 depending on the product. These sprinklers are only activated when they sense something approaching. The device then emits a mist of water and a noise to accompany the water and effectively frightens the raccoon away from your yard. Cost of Units: $50-$90 PER UNIT Cost of Units: $50-$90 PER UNIT
Cost of water additional Cost of batteries additional; some units are solar powered, which is more cost effective. Effectiveness for Getting Rid of Raccoons: Good (depending on brand)
Cayenne Pepper Spray to Protect Your Garden
Raccoons are chicken predators and they wreak havoc in vegetable gardens. Dealing with a raccoon infestation can be a very frustrating situation!
Cayenne pepper is one of the natural raccoon deterrents and a great way to repel critters and pests. These pesky rodents hate the smell of this homemade raccoon repellent.
It makes it an effective ingredient then, in homemade animal repellent sprays.
What you’ll need:
- A small canister of cayenne pepper
- 1 bottle of hot sauce
- 1 gallon of water
- Add 1 small canister of cayenne pepper and 1 bottle of hot sauce to 1 gallon of water
- Spray the solution all over your garden plants, bushes, and shrubs
- Reapply after rainfall.
How do you make sure that raccoons get out and actually stay out?
You must determine the animals’ entry point. Typically, raccoons get in through the eaves of the roof or in openings at the foundation level. Once you’ve located the access point, the next step is to make your home inhospitable. Raccoons enjoy the dark, so a strategically placed flashlight can be a deterrent.
Because they’re also put off by strange noises, playing a small radio may help keep them at bay. Finally, raccoons hate the smell of ammonia, so leave a saucer full of the stuff (or an ammonia-dipped rag) near the creatures’ entry point. Within 48 hours, thanks to one or all of the above tricks, the raccoons are likely to vacate the premises.
Once you’re certain your visitors have left the building, the final step is to seal up the access points so as to prevent return. In future weeks and months, periodically walk your home’s perimeter to check for signs of a pest presence. Likewise, remain vigilant about securing trash bags and cleaning up after outdoor meals.
Signs Of Raccoons Living On Your Property
These are some of the common signs of raccoons either living somewhere on your property or making a habit of scavenging around your property for food:
- Trash from garbage bins strewn around your driveway or yard.
- Garbage or recycling bins with bite or scratch marks around the lids.
- Garden beds with homegrown fruits and vegetables that are damaged and eaten shortly before harvest.
- Raccoon tracks around your yard or other areas of your property. The shape of their prints is similar to that of a small human hand, just two to three inches long, with sharp, pointed claws at the tips of each finger.
- Holes in your lawn or portions of grass that have been torn or dug up (although this could be evidence of skunks or some other type of nuisance animal).
- Scratching or bumping sounds coming from inside the walls, ceiling or some other area of your home, attic or garage; this could indicate the presence of raccoons or some other rodent or wild animal that has built a den.