Spread throughout America, raccoons are some of the most bothersome pests. They can be found dwelling in suburban areas, near country homes and even in the city. They are capable of raiding through gardens and destroying your vegetables, or they can just cause a lot of mess by going through your trashcans. As they have a lot of agility and persistence, the destruction they can cause is quite severe, so methods of repelling them from your property are the ones that need to be applied. Due to the fact that they are highly adaptable creatures, when dealing with these critters, you will need to use a complex array or deterring methods, to make sure you cover all the instances that would normally allow them to roam free on your property. They are agile climbers, which easily gets them into your attic, they can chew on electric wires, they can open bottles, jars and doors and they are highly intelligent creatures that cannot be easily fooled.
When it comes to getting rid of a single raccoon, or even a raccoon infestation, there are several ways in which you can approach this issue. Whether it is by using homemade repellants, electronic ones, methods of exclusion, or organic ad chemical deterring products, you will find below details regarding every method that can be applied. Keep in mind that using a combination of these methods, and by implementing preventive measures as well, you will have a higher rate of success in your battle against the raccoons.
The first step in dealing with any infestation is inspection. This is necessary as it will help you determine what actions are required and will give you evidence of clear raccoon activity on your property. If they are indeed roaming through your yard, you will be able to see damage, fecal droppings, their tracks in the dirt, garbage cans overturned as they were searching for food. You can also catch them red-handed while entering or exiting their nesting sites, or you can hear the noises they make, especially at night. All these details will help you determine the number of critters you are dealing with, and also the best place where to start applying your control methods.
Methods of repelling raccoons from your property
The most important step you need to take when trying to get rid of any type of pest is to remove any food and shelter source they might have. This will make your property inhospitable, and with a little luck, they will relocate themselves, without you trying to worry about any other repelling methods.
- Keep trash cans clean and pick up any debris from your yard;
- Keep full containers inside the garage, and set out for pickup in the morning rather than the night;
- Apply tight fitting lids on your garbage containers. If raccoons are removing lids to get into the can, you can use a heavy duty bungee cord over the top of the can;
- Avoid leaving leftover pet foods outside;
- If you have fruit trees, remove any fruit on the ground;
- Cover compost piles to prevent raccoons from feeding on food scraps;
- Eliminate any sources of open water from your yard;
- Make sure that any picnic tables and chairs (or anything else outside) do not have crumbs on them when you retire for the night;
- Store the trash cans indoors or in the garage if you are gone for a long;
- If you have meat or very tempting food in the trash, always double plastic bag it before throwing it away in the cans. You can also add a little bleach or strong cleanser on the bag outside before depositing it in the can.
- If you locate raccoon nests, you can place bright lights or ammonia scented rags near them, as this will drive them away;
- Make sure that downspouts direct water away from the house and other areas of the property so water doesn’t collect;
- If you have a fish pond, you can cover it with wire mesh;
- If your bird feeders attract raccoons, stop using them.
Organic repellents against raccoons
As raccoons do not like the smell of ammonia or moth balls, you can use these two in order to protect your yard and home. By placing rags soaked in ammonia or moth balls, either in their dens or at the den entry, you will be able to fool the raccoons that their nest is soiled and they will have to relocate. As they are usually clean creatures, that do not use their dens as bathrooms, the smell of ammonia which resembles that of urine, will bother them, and they will no longer use that den.
On the same principle, you can use predator urine, such as that of fox or coyote. This raccoon deterrent is sold at most sporting good stores or online retailers. It will help trick the critters that predators are nearby, thus scaring them off. You can also use wolves, bobcats, or mountain lion urine and spray it around the areas where you have seen raccoons dwelling.
Mothballs can also be placed in attics or other crawlspaces where you have seem raccoons appear, however, you need to be careful as they can also affect your pets or small children, so be careful when using them.
You can also use cayenne pepper, as it will irritate the raccoons, as they are sensitive to strong smells. You can use it in the form of a spray, by mixing it with water, and spraying it on your garden plants, bushes and shrubs. Keep in mind to reapply it, especially after a rainfall, as it will be easily washed away.
Other types of raccoon repellents
Beside the natural ways in which you can deter these critters, you can also use store bought repellents in granular or liquid form. By placing them around particular areas in your yard, and forming barriers, or onto trashcans and bird feeders for targeted protection, you will be able to deter raccoons, as they will avoid these foul smelling and tasting areas. The liquid spray repellents can be mostly used on garbage cans, trash bags, roofing and gutters, hard surfaces like the porch, on plants and flowers and also trees. The granular ones can be applied in gardens, flowerbeds, in sheds, barns, attics and crawlspaces, or even inside raccoon den or on pathways. These work better on flat surfaces and are effective in every climate, while the liquid ones are effective when sprayed in temperatures of over 40° F (4°C). Granular repellents last longer than the liquid ones, although they both need reapplying, especially after a heavy rainfall.
You can also use electronic repellents, such as water sprinklers, to keep raccoons away. By frightening them with bursts of water, you will be able to keep your property free of these critters. Electronic repellents can be placed anywhere on your property, from vegetable gardens, between plants, on mulch beds, pathways, flowerbeds, pool areas, yards/lawns, near structures, koi ponds, property entryways, near garbage cans, or trees. They normally require little maintenance, are eco-friendly and have a higher effectiveness than liquid and granular repellents.
Other electronic devices that you can use are flood lights, radios or ultrasonic noise makers. As raccoons are pretty smart and get easily accustomed to new things, you will need to switch up devices regularly, so that they do not become familiarized just with one, as they will no longer avoid them.
Another method of keeping raccoons away is through fencing. It may not be an option which is visual appealing to you, but it is a practical one, when it comes to protecting your property from these critters. You are best to use an electrical fence, as it has a high rate of effectiveness. Because of their agility, intelligence, and the dexterity they have with their paws, raccoons can easily climb a normal fence, dig under it or even open gates in fences.
Traps for Raccoons control:
Traps are used to monitor or reduce the population of insects or other pests. They can be used against crawling, flying insects, mice, rats, cats, dogs, snakes or other pests. Mechanical traps are ideal for catching these pests, as they can be used repetitively.
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Trapping raccoons can also help you get rid of them quickly. It is by far the best method for quick raccoon removal from your property. Keep in mind that you have to check first the laws in your country or state, when it comes to trapping and relocation raccoons, as in some places, this action can be illegal. Should you have a permit for doing this, you will need to install the live trap and place baits in it. As they are opportunistic eaters and they can dine on a variety of foods, even though they do prefer those high in fat or sugar. Sugary foods are the best to use in a live raccoon trap, because they target raccoons without attracting other unwanted wildlife. Favorite baits are marshmallows, watermelon, sweet corn, vegetables coated in honey or sugar, crisp bacon, wet cat food, fresh or canned fish and cooked fatty meat. You will need to be careful when placing the bait, as this step is critical. You do not want the raccoon to be able to reach it without getting trapped.
Keep in mind that you need to adapt your placement of the bait, depending on what type of trap you are using, with one door or with two. For a 1-door trap, place the bait behind the trigger plate. Ensure bait is placed away from the trap walls so the raccoon cannot steal the bait from the outside. For a 2-door trap, you have several options: you can place the bait just behind the trigger, bury it in the ground underneath the trigger plate/trap or hang it from the top of your trap.
After placing the bait, secure the trap by placing a brick or a weight on top of it, to make sure the raccoons will not knock it over. You can also create a trail of bait towards the trap, to ensure they will find their way inside. Always wear gloves. When placing the trap, because this way you will avoid having your scent spread on it, as raccoons are highly sensitive, and they might avoid getting in; and when handling it, after catching a raccoon, as there will be less chances of you getting injured or bitten by the raccoon, especially if it is agitated.
Eliminate raccoons from your attic or garage
Raccoons love to make nests in dry, warm places like hollow logs, burrows, holes in trees, and dens abandoned by other animals. They can also step it up and move into your attic, as that is also a dry, warm place, where they can find shelter. If they manage to do they, they will ruin insulation, chew on electrical wires, wreck screens, make holes in your walls and even defecate there. As they can also carry fleas, roundworms and distemper, having raccoons inside your house is a bad sign. When dealing with raccoons on the inside of your house, it is better to act in the nighttime, when they will be out, searching for food. When raccoons live in your attic or any other part of your house, it is almost always a female raccoon with a litter of babies. Be sure to remove the babies as well as the adult. You can sometimes intimidate a female and it will leave on its own with the babies. If you remove the just the mother raccoon, she’ll go on a desperate trek of many miles back to your attic, in order to get to her babies. She might make it back, or she might fail, and then you will have to deal with the young ones who will, cry, cause damage and maybe even die, if you are unable to reach them and remove them by hand. If you are not sure their nest is empty, you can install bright lights and radios that will deter the whole raccoon family away.
Otherwise, if you are sure all the raccoons are out, you can begin applying methods of exclusion. Trim back all the trees around the house, so that they do not have access to climb onto your roof and find the holes they made and patch them up. Close all entry points except one, in case there are any other raccoons that want to get out. You can also place a live trap in front of that one hole, to make sure you catch them, if the case.
Employing multiple raccoon control products will provide the most effective defense. As mentioned several times above, raccoons are witty creatures, that can find their way around the obstacle you employ, and that can easily get accustomed to the changes you make on your property. This is why it is important to mix all the repelling methods presented here, as one of them will do the trick and get your rid of raccoons if lucky, but more applied at the same time are not going to fail for sure.
Prevention is always the best when it comes to wildlife control. Be sure you have no openings or vulnerable areas on your home that allow animals inside. Don’t leave out pet food or garbage or fruit on the ground, and keep your garden and yard as least attractive to raccoons as possible. By combining the multiple ways of eradication detailed here, and the prevention methods shown in our “Prevent infestation with raccoons” article, you can easily keep these pests away, and ensure that your property will no longer be visited by such invasive animals.