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  • Memphis Educational Article of the Month - Raccoon Repellants: Why they are not effective

Raccoon Repellants: Why they are not effective

Chances are if you type “raccoon repellant” into a search engine you are going to be bombarded with tips and products claiming you can repel the pesky animal with a few drops of this or sprays of that, but the truth is that most of these products don’t work. Today there are thousands of products on the market for raccoon repellants ranging from all natural and organic to poisons and chemicals. They come in various forms; sprays, drops, glue, powder and even devices that flash lights and emit sounds.

Store bought products:

Powder/Granules- Powders and Granules are available in most home stores and online. They come in a variety of predator scents like Coyote or Fox. The basic idea is that if the raccoon smells the predator it will not come into that area.Their ads claim to “guarantee” driving away raccoons and keeping them at bay.As long as you keep using the product; the animal will not return. However, this is not true. The only instance where this might work is on a young mother raccoon with young in tow which might find a predator smell intimidating. The granules seem to be an easy fix but they will just waste your money and leave you frustrated.
Spray- The sprays available on the market today are the same concept at the granules. A predator scent is sprayed around the area so that the raccoon will be scared of the predators scent. Again, this is not the case. Not only ineffective, some of these sprays are dangerous for humans. For example, you have a raccoon rummaging through your garden, destroying it. You want a safe easy alternative so you buy a bottle of raccoon repellant and spray around in the garden, now you have introduced nasty chemicals onto your food and you still have a raccoon who doesn’t care. There are special sprays for gardens and home claiming to not contain any “harmful” chemicals some even claim to be organic. One product “strongly recommends” spraying dailyover a span of 3 weeksfor best results. Again, these products will just waste your money and time.
Sound Machines- Available in battery powered, solar powered or plugged into an electrical outlet, Ultrasonic sound machines are motion activated, once set off the machine willemit ahigh pitched frequency which will scarethe raccoons (and other animals) from entering your home or yard. This sounds like a great, effective, safe solution to ridding yourself of the pesky critters but these machines can be costly and do not work. The Federal trade Commission has labeled these completely fraudulent. By researching consumer reviews of these products you are sure to see that these are a waste of money.
Mothballs- There are tons of websites and Do-it-yourselfers that claim that mothballs solved their raccoon problem. While it may have worked for some it is almost always ineffective. The National Pesticide Information Center has approved mothballs for moth problems only and any other use is illegal! Mothballs should only be used in sealed containers. Mothballs contain a pesticide Paradichlorobenzene and Naphthalene which slowly vaporize when exposed to the air and will seep into your home or garden exposing you to cancerous chemicals. If left on the ground they can also be ingested by dogs, cats and children which could be fatal! Do not use mothballs as a raccoon repellant it is not only ineffective but it is dangerous.
Dummies- There are a few dummy style “repellants” that are to be used along with the sprays or granules. The dummies are an exact look alike of predators; fox, coyote, wolves and even a large male raccoon which would scare off smaller or female raccoons. Besides decorating your yard these products are useless. Raccoons are smart and will eventually figure out that the “predator” is no threat at all.

Natural Products:

Spices- Cinnamon, Black Pepper, cayenne Pepper, Mustard powder, dried hot pepper….the list is endless. Just because a smell is strong does not mean it will irritate and repel a raccoon or any animal for that matter. Don’t waste your time and keep your spices in your kitchen.
Oils- There are many recipes for raccoon oil spray repellant. Some include Habaneros, Onion, Red Pepper and Mustard oil spray. The recipe calls for water and the ingredient to be combined and brought to a boil. Once the concoction has cooled you pour the liquid (with the cooked ingredient) into a spray bottle and generously spray wherever the raccoon is living over a span of a few weeks. The idea here is the oil will irritate the animal and it will leave. However, this is not true.
Lights- Setting up bright lights or motion activated lights seems like a great way to scare off the raccoon especially since it is nocturnal and likes to hunt in the dark. However, raccoons aren’t scared by light even if it turns on suddenly. Even if it is initially scared off the animal will return shortly.

To learn more about our raccoon removal services, visit the Memphis wildlife control home page.

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