Will Mothballs Deter Wild Animals?

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Wild animals that move into your home or garden can be a nuisance. Squirrels and birds can build nests that clog chimneys, and squirrels also steal food from bird feeders. Rodents can live in your walls and raid your kitchen or bathroom, which is quite unsanitary. Deer and rabbits are common garden pests that eat vegetables, seedlings and even trees. Many homeowners are desperate to find ways to get rid of these pests.


Problems With Mothballs

Mothballs are made of naphthalene and have a distinctively strong and unpleasant smell. Many people assume that because mothballs drive moths away they will also be effective on other types of wildlife. However, moths are not as clever as birds and mammals. A mammal may dislike the smell of a mothball. However, within a short time most mammals will simply walk around the annoyance or move the mothballs out of the way.


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While mothballs may annoy and perhaps deter wild animals for a short time, they are not a good long-term solution to your problem. You should also consider that mothballs are not very good for the environment. They can harm curious children and pets. They are also pesticides, which means they can kill beneficial insects in your garden like butterflies and ladybugs. If your goal is to deter wild animals and not to kill them or make them sick, there are better approaches to use than mothballs.


Alternative Animal Deterrents

Make your home unappealing to rodents by cleaning up food spills immediately and storing food, trash, soaps and detergents in tightly sealed containers. You can also try luring garden pests like deer, moles and rabbits away from your garden by planting patches of clover, alfalfa or vetch in other places. Pet dogs and cats are also helpful against vermin and garden pests.


Physical Deterrents

Another harmless way to deter wild animals is to use physical barriers. Deer cannot jump over a fence that is more than 12 feet high, and if the fence is buried with the edge sticking outward, it will keep rabbits out as well. Keep animals out of the chimney with screens, and screen off raised porches and basement entrances near the ground so animals cannot get in. If animals in the home become a serious nuisance, the best way to get rid of them is to call a professional exterminator; then take preventative measures afterward.



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