Wildlife Pest Control


For some homeowners, having a flock of geese on a backyard pond, deer roaming the front yard, or squirrels scampering across tree limbs, is a welcome sight. For others, slipping on goose droppings, having gardens stripped bare, or rodents taking up residence in their attic, it is a pull-your-hair-out nuisance. There is no question that co-existing with nature is an emotional issue for some and a hard-core issue for others.  Here are some solutions to consider that may satisfy both sides.

Living with Bambi
Deer are charming to watch but if left unchecked, they can be a source of frustration and economic loss. Rising deer populations, coupled with developments that have destroyed the deer’s natural habitat, has resulted in increased deer damage to yards and gardens and in some areas the extinction of some species of plants.
While it is difficult to move deer out of areas where they are not wanted, there are a few practical solutions to reducing or eliminating deer damage.
Deer are border creatures. The perimeter areas between woods and clearings provide the feeding ground and shelter that deer require. One of the most effective ways of deterring deer from feeding on your favorite plants is to provide perimeter plantings around the yard of plants they like, but that you don’t care about. This will keep the deer fed, without them needing to go after your favorites.
In conjunction with these plantings, the use of physical deterrents will divert the deer traffic away from your plantings. Stone walls around raised beds and landscape netting are quite successful at deterring deer. Repellents work moderately well for deterring deer. Keep in mind, however, that if the deer are hungry enough, they will ignore the repellent and feed anyway.
Rocky the Nuisance Squirrel
A survey of the National Pest Control Association voted the tree squirrel as the number one nuisance animal in the United States. Tree squirrels can cause a variety of problems, including damage to trees, flowers, lawns, gardens, vehicles and homes. They also can cause extensive damage to attic insulation or walls and gnaw on electrical wires in homes and vehicles, creating a fire hazard.
Squirrels can squeeze through holes 1 1/2 inches in diameter or gnaw through smaller holes to gain access to homes. They can enter through vents, chimneys, broken windows, knotholes and construction gaps under eaves or gables. Tree squirrels most often enter attics and spaces between walls and floors. 
To reduce squirrel problems in your home, limit their access by closing all openings. Even holes that are too small for squirrels should be closed. Metal flashing, hardware cloth and copper wool usually discourage gnawing.
A one-way door that will capture the squirrels is the most preferred method. Cage squirrel traps should be 18 to 24 inches long with a least 5” x 5” door. Bait the trap with corn or whole pecans in shell. Once captured, you must relocate all of the squirrels or else they will break back in. Make sure that all squirrels are outside the building before making it squirrel proof by closing all the openings.
A Gander of Geese 
If you want to get rid of geese, stop feeding them. Not only is human food not good for a goose’s diet, but geese who become used to handouts and become domesticated will actually attract more wild or migrating geese to the same area.
Setting up a family of swan decoys can help get rid of geese still looking for nesting grounds. Like geese, swans will defend their young quite aggressively, and this is a danger most incoming geese will try to avoid. 
Make your pond or water front property less attractive with tall grasses that are at least 18 inches high in a band roughly ten feet wide around the shoreline. Geese will be less likely to make your property into a nesting ground if they don’t have an adequate visual field to ensure their safety from predators.
Restricting easy access to the water will ensure that geese stay away. Set up bird netting or a bird fence near the water’s edge to prevent easy access to and from the water. If you’ve ever chased geese, you know their first instinct is to go for water. If they don’t feel they can do that very easily, they will find another area to build their nest.
Calling In Help
When dealing with wildlife issues, first consider whether it is an immediate health and safety issue or a less serious problem that doesn’t threaten neighbors or pets. If a coyote or bear is in the area killing small dogs, call an animal control officer. For a non-urgent problem, call in local officials. If you live in a community with a homeowners association, start there. Some communities contract with private vendors supplying wildlife control services. If the problem is widespread in your community, consider this option.
Whatever you do, don’t assume you can just kill an animal that’s bothering you, as it may be a federally protected species.