As more rural land is developed for residential and commercial purposes, more wildlife gets displaced. It’s not uncommon for homes in brand new neighborhoods to have the occasional issue with insects, birds, squirrels, snakes, and more. In order to build a new development, trees get cut down, landscapes change, and all that wildlife needs a place to go. Unfortunately, sometimes that place ends up being inside a homeowner’s attic, basement, crawlspace, or sometimes even the walls. While it’s completely possible to exist peacefully alongside most wildlife, there’s the occasional alarming instance. We’ve seen more than one story lately of homeowners waking up to find an alligator on their front porch or in their backyard. And while deer and rabbits might not be much cause for alarm, having them nibble your garden away can be annoying to say the least. If you’ve got issues with pesky critters, here’s how to solve them.

Call a pest management company.

For common pests like insects and rodents, ask for professional help from a licensed pest management company. If it’s important to you that the animals are treated humanely and not killed or harmed, make sure to check the company’s website or call and ask what their methods are for removal.

Keep trash cans properly secured.

Outdoor garbage cans and recycle bins are like major theme park attractions for some animals. Make sure your garbage cans are shut tight and can’t be opened easily if they’re knocked over by wind or wildlife. Think about washing the inside of the trash can out every once in a while to keep the odors from sticking around and attracting more animals.

Don’t leave pet food outside.

If you feed your pets outside, make sure to pick up any uneaten food and clean the area. Pet food attracts raccoons and other pesky critters who can cause bigger messes. Remember that raccoons are nocturnal animals, so if you witness them prowling around your pet food during the day, do not approach them. They could be suffering from rabies or distemper. Call a professional for help.

Secure the garden.

Unfortunately, having a vegetable garden is like putting out an all-you-can-eat buffet for some animals. To keep your garden safe, install a fence. Don’t let fruits and veggies get overly ripe, and pick up any produce that falls on the ground. Another good idea to keep wildlife out is to try gardening in a raised bed.

Use a repellent.

There are many types of repellents—chemical, natural, and physical—that can keep wildlife at bay. Chemical sprays and predator urines are good options, but remember that they need to be reapplied pretty often. Some good physical repellents might be motion-activated lights or sprinklers and ultrasonic sound emitters. If you live near a pond where alligators are a concern, put a strong, sturdy fence around your yard or surround it with heavy vegetation. Certain plants are known to repel pests as well. Lemongrass, lavender, garlic, rosemary, basil, peppermint, and marigolds are among some of the plant life known to repel insects and other pests.

Use friendly critters for good.

Having a dog or a cat as a pet does some good to keep certain animals away from the house. If you don’t have an issue with snakes, you might want to let them live in your yard instead of killing or removing them, as long as they’re not the kind that might pose a threat. Snakes are great at keeping bugs and rodents out. Attract bats, owls, and hawks for other pest control by building nesting boxes.

Keep in mind that removing some common pests can introduce others. Those bats living in your birdhouse could be keeping the mosquito population down in your yard. That cat that prowls around at night could be keeping the mice from finding their way inside the house. There’s a certain give-and-take in nature, and sometimes you have to take the good with the not-so-desirable. Before you decide to rid your yard of certain pests, talk to a wildlife expert to find out what the consequences could be.

 

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