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Throughout North America, raccoons are one of the most bothersome animals in suburban and country homes, and now even in city dwellings. From destroying your vegetable gardens to raiding trashcans, these critters are extremely adaptable in their destructive behavior.
If you have ever seen a raccoon attempt to open a nearly sealed garbage can, you’ll agree they have amazing agility and persistence. Because of the severity of destruction that raccoons can cause, many people seek solutions to deter or remove raccoons from their property.
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)
Mesh or wire fencing is a commonly used method of fencing. This type of fencing is relatively inexpensive ranging from $10 to $30 depending on the square footage of the area being protected. Although this method is fairly cost effective, it is rather time consuming to set up, and raccoons like to climb, being very agile creatures. Put simply, fencing is not enough to deter them.
Cost of Application: $10-$30 depending area to be fenced
Effectiveness for Getting Rid of Raccoons: None*
Durable wood fencing could be an option as well, but, even if the raccoons can’t climb the fence, they will still dig under it.
Cost of Fence: $16,000+ (For fencing a 1 acre property)
Effectiveness for Getting Rid of Raccoons: None*
Another option for getting rid of raccoons is to install an electric fence around the perimeter you are trying to protect, and/or to add an electric fence wire to the bottom area of existing fencing (*which would make the above options more effective). This is a mid-range cost method starting around $40 and going up to $500 depending on existing infrastructure and the area of coverage.
Not only will it ensure you’ll never have to worry about raccoons, but it can keep a host of other animals out of your yard, vegetable patches and gardens and it is a one time “set it and forget it” type product. However, “set it” is misleading since there is a learning curve of some degree to installing your own electric fence. Please see www.zarebasystems.com/fenceplanner for more details. Cost: $500+ for all necessary parts of stand-alone electric fence (1 acre)
Effectiveness for Getting Rid of Raccoons: Great
Live animal traps can be an option if you are looking to relocate a raccoon. These live traps range in price from $50 to $100 and can be used numerous times. Before trapping a raccoon, make sure to check with your state and county’s laws on live trapping and relocation. A number of states require proof that the raccoon is a nuisance or causing damage to your property in order to justify the animal’s relocation.
Depending on your area and the type of animal, a permit may be required in order to trap the raccoon. Obtaining a permit usually requires a simple application to be filled out and submitted to your local conservation office. Always make sure to check your state’s regulations on live trapping, removal and relocation. http://www.fws.gov/offices/statelinks.html.
Professional trapping and removal is also an option that is available to get rid of raccoons. Although this method is quick and ensures the safety of those involved, it is very expensive. Pest control experts view raccoons as wildlife, and will use the same traps you can buy for personal use when trapping the animal.
The difference with a professional trapper is that he or she is licensed to remove wildlife, and should know the ins and outs of dealing with a wild animal. Your yard and garden is often your pride and joy and it’s something that people love to show to others. Don’t let raccoons and other animals destroy what you work so hard to achieve. Evaluate the best solution for your needs and take action to rid your yard of raccoons.