Dealing with unwanted visitors of the animal variety?
Holes in your bags of rice, trails of spoiled food, and more are always an unpleasant sight, especially if you’re getting ready for guests.
The first thing many people reach for is a trap, and unfortunately, glue traps are getting more and more popular. Some people prefer glue traps because they’re silent, disposable, and easy to use, but they cause extreme suffering and they’re indiscriminate when it comes to their targets.
Wildlife caught in glue traps, including raccoons, squirrels, and birds, die of dehydration and injuries caused by struggling in the trap.
Furthermore, these traps can also target small pets and beloved companion animals. Also, well-meaning people horrified by the sight of animals caught in glue traps can actually make the problem even worse by trying to free them — without training and care, it’s possible to break an animal’s legs, yank out hair and feathers, and cause internal injuries.
Luckily, there are lots of non-lethal pest control options available; you don’t have to use glue traps or their conventional spring counterparts to get a handle on uninvited guests in your home, and you’ll spare the local wildlife at the same time.
1. Live traps
Live traps consist of a small cage loaded with bait and a spring designed to trigger when someone wanders inside.
They should be checked morning and evening so animals don’t spend too long in the trap once caught, and once you do catch a visitor, you’ll need to make sure to find a good spot for relocation.
Releasing the animal near your house will only result in a rapid return to your doorstep; if you can, move at least a watershed away, and be courteous to the people who might live there by releasing the animal in an uninhabited area.
If you have a problem with bigger visitors like skunks or raccoons and you’re not sure what to do with them, you can call your local animal control agency for help with finding them a safe place to call home.
2. Plug and seal
Much like annoying dinner guests, wild animals will usually make their own way home once the buffet dries up.
Make sure all food is kept in airtight containers, bagged inside the container if necessary to cut down on odors.
Also take care of holes near foundations, walls, and other areas of the house to limit your animal invaders’ options for coming in. By making it hard to find food they’re interested in and putting a barrier between them and the inside, you may be able to discourage them.
3. Adopt some backup
Cats are famous for their mousing skills, but your cat doesn’t even necessarily have to be a hunter to help cut down on the mouse population.
Mice, rats, and other small animals tend to avoid predators, and if a house starts to smell like a cat, they’ll find somewhere else to live.
If you can’t commit to having a cat full-time, consider fostering one while she looks for a permanent home. While she’s at your house, she can help with your pest problem, and when she moves on to her forever home, you’ll be free to consider whether you want to foster again.
4. Invite some wanted outdoor guests
Hoo, hoo! Owls love mice and other small rodents, and they’d be happy to help you with your pest control problem in exchange for some habitat.
If you live in an area where it’s feasible, set up a small nestbox to encourage owls to come visit and raise their families near your home. You’ll have the feel-good feeling of creating a home for fantastic wildlife, and your mouse population should noticeably decrease — all without having to use toxic poisons or cruel traps. Need some tips? Check out the Hungry Owl Project.
Next page: Why you might be the cause of your own pest problem and what you can do about it.
5. Clean up your act
Spilled food is a major attractant for pests.
Limit the areas of your house where people consume food, ideally sticking to the kitchen and the dining room, and make sure everyone in the family is on board with keeping crumbs out of bedrooms and common areas.
Without snacks all over, mice will have to work harder to find food, and in combination with other methods like locking down the kitchen, keeping the house clean will help push pests back outdoors in search of more appropriate fare like seeds.
6. Spray solutions
Peppermint oil can deter unwanted critters (in addition, it can also work well on ants). As a bonus, it may also make your rooms smell more pleasant.
Dilute the oil in a solution so you can spray it easily around an area where animals seem to congregate.
A combination of garlic, pepper, and horseradish in a suspension of water with a little bit of neutral oil to help it emulsify can also work, although you might not enjoy the odor quite as much.
Ammonia is another strong odor that can encourage houseguests to pack it up and find somewhere new to hang out.
7. Advocacy for small animals
Okay, so it’s not exactly an alternative, but it is important.
Tell your local hardware store, grocery store, and other sites that sell glue traps to consider selling humane alternatives and make information about pest control available to customers.
Your advocacy work can prevent suffering for companion animals, precious wildlife, and, yes, annoying pests too.
Also, consider joining efforts to preserve habitats and open space, which provide vital territory for wildlife so they aren’t pressured indoors in search of food.
Photo credit: Programwitch