If you are bothered by critters in your house and garden, there is no need to harm them. In nearly all cases, deterrence is pretty simple and removing critters that are already there takes a little time, but usually yields success. As well as being kind, it’s more effective (most culling methods just result in more creatures breeding) and also works with nature, so the babies are not left behind, which either breed or die (often leaving a permanent odour).
Most people don’t wish to be surprised by a mouse in the house. The first step is simple common sense. Keep your house clean and seal up sweet foods (sugar, molasses, honey) and only buy perishable food like flour in small amounts (to avoid weevils). Don’t leave empty cans of fizzy pop around of they will attract ants, wasps and bees. And remove tempting warm crevices or seal them up (mice can fit through holes the width of a pencil). Treat damp in your house to avoid woodlice and silverfish, and opening jars if safe to do so, helps to air and dry out rooms with poor ventilation.
Simple Inventions to Humanely Deter Critters
- See how to humanely deter slugs and snails for details of two inventions. One is a nontoxic calcium spray to make grass unpalatable to rabbits, geese, deer and pigeons (don’t use on grass that pet rabbits eat). The other is a kit made from recycled materials, that you slot together to stop access from the roots.
- Mouse Mesh is a grid to fit outside your wall (in two versions for mice or rats) to stop them entering your home. The site has info on how to use, ensure you clean the grid from leaves regularly, and never use near gas vents. Never use cruel glue traps (see how to rescue a caught creature). Even humane traps can cause slow deaths if not checked regularly.
- Fox-A-Gone offer tips to humanely deter foxes. A fox’s natural diet is rabbits and rats, so giving them natural food by protecting natural habitats, is the best way to deter them from raiding dustbins. Read why foxes are good for nature.
- Waspinator looks like a brown paper bag, and deters territorial wasps, without harm. Although sometimes used to deter insects, avoid citronella sprays/candles near pets.
- Read why you should not be scared of spiders. They eat insects, and it’s not good to put most of them outside, as they die from temperature changes. They are more scared of you!
- PiCAS can help to humanely deter pigeons, gulls and other roosting birds. This can be using harmless ‘bird spikes’ that stop birds landing on buildings, along with dummy eggs to stop reproduction. The methods are quick, kind, effective and cheap, compared to birds of prey that often tear birds to pieces.
- Ants have eggs so like anything sweet or with protein (coke, crumbs, sandwiches). They disappear when the weather cools, and also aerate the soil and provide food for birds (by protecting caterpillars due to sticky honeydew they create). If you must remove them, you can grow mint (in a pot, so it doesn’t get out of control) and ants that dislike the scent will move on. Don’t grow mint near pets, see toxic herbs to avoid near pets.
Books on Humane Control
See plants, flowers & trees to avoid near pets (avoid cocoa/pine/rubber mulch & fresh compost near pets). Use humane safe slug/snail deterrents. Many plants (inc. yew & oak trees) are toxic to equines.
- Living with Urban Wildlife is by the late London expert John Bryant. There’s nothing he did not know to humanely deter wildlife.
- Humane Gardener and Humane Critter Control are packed with info on how to humanely deter creatures. Most use the wisdom of nature.
- 50 Beautiful Deer-Resistant Plants is by garden expert Ruth Rogers Clausen who shows annuals, perennials, shrubs, bulbs, grasses and herbs. Many of these flowers are toxic to pets, so see above for ones to avoid. Also see wildlife-friendly fencing alternatives and safer alternatives to netting for wildlife.
Humane Ways to Deter Insects
This natural insect repellent gel is free from toxic DEET, and sold in a glass jar. It contains khakibos that has been used for centuries in Africa, as an effective deterrent. It also combines citronella, and lemon eucalyptus oils. This makes for an effective insect repellent, with an aloe vera base to leave skin soothed and cool, perfect in hot climates. Vegan-friendly with a metal screw top plastic-free lid. Keep away from pets as it contains toxic citronella and essential oils (don’t wear if animals are liable to lick your skin!)
If you live in a hot country (or Scotland – plagued by midges!) or are on a break, here are some natural humane ways to repel insects. Whether it’s deterring mosquitoes or simply knowing how to deter gnats and biting insects, you don’t have to use toxic DEET insect repellents. And you don’t have to buy products from big corporate companies that harm the planet and other creatures either.
Mosquitoes are painless but can spread disease. Wear clothing that covers your body and thicker material, and use a net. Blackflies and sandflies also can carry disease. Ticks can cause lime disease so check before sleepa nd for pets. Tuck your trousers into your socks.
Insects don’t like smoke so use a campfire or BBQ and stay away from standing water and keep tent doors closed, without a torch and a dark scent is best with no light to attract. Mint and citrus can deter, use 10 drops in a spray bottle with water and vinegar. Throw sage on the fire or dry a few stems and make a bundle for each night, tied with natural string. Keep your camp clean and remain calm and don’t wave your arms around or swat. Wear shoes and don’t disturb insect nests and avoid camping near water, as mosquitoes and horseflies are common here, and cover sweet things, keep car windows closed.
To avoid ticks, keep to footpaths and avoid long grass when walking, wear light fabrics to help you see them and inspect your head, neck and skin folds (amrpits, groin and wasteband). Signs of fleas are poo in fur or bedding, crusting on the first, excessive scratching or grooming or dandruff or spots of bloo on your bed sheets or an unpleasant almond smell. Vacuum everywhere and most will improve. Use tweezers or a pen to remove caterpillar hairs and don’t brush with your hand as it releases more hairs.