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Raccoon Repellent

10.11.2003 - I get a lot of phone calls and emails asking about raccoon repellent. I respond to all of these emails explaining that there is no such thing as an actual effective raccoon repellent or deterrent. Many are marketed and sold. Some of the most common repellants sold are simply mothball flakes. They don't work, they can actually make you sick, and they are bad for the environment. Ammonia soaked rags don't work either. I've tried, in some very tight quarters where I thought it might work, but it does not. Some other repellents are based on predator urine. These can actually work if it's a female raccon with young who will be intimidated out of the area if she thinks that there's a predator. But it has to be a lactating female in an attic, and it doesn't always work. Ultrasonic sound machines do not work at all and the FTC has issued an official warning about their fraudulent nature.

The best approach to raccoon control is to either eliminate whatever is attracting them to your home, such as keeping garbage or pet food inside, or to seal off your house so they can't get in, or when removal is absolutely necessary, to trap them in live cage traps such as shown above.  Unfortunately, repellents just don't work.

Click here for my HOW TO GET RID OF RACCOONS comprehensive guide on raccoon removal.

Raccoon repellent moth balls - Mothballs are the favorite low-cost repellent of the do-it-yourselfer. They are said to work for everything from insects to armadillos. The truth of the matter is that moth balls are not an effective repellent for anything other than what they were designed for—moths and insects. The ingredients in the pungent white balls are a mixture of a deodorizer and an insecticide. They are known carcinogens, and as such are dangerous to most humans and animals. Just because they are cancer causers doesn’t mean the smell will drive an animal away. There are a lot of hazardous substances out there we expose ourselves to everyday. I we don’t know they’re bad for us, we never learn to avoid them. Raccoons are one of the more intelligent nuisance animals a homeowner has to deal with. Because of this, if the smell of mothballs offends a raccoon, the animal is more likely to push the box out of the area or cover it over. Most professionals say that the animals seem undisturbed by the odor and act as if the mothballs aren’t even there. If you insist on trying them at least the little things are inexpensive. Remember: There is no substitute for trapping and removal.

Here are some emails I've gotten from people who try to use repellents:
Hi David - I found your webpage on aaanimalcontrol.com and think you might just be the person to help me. We have been struggling with a raccoon in the attic for approximately three years. We have tried to chase it our many many many times using light and ammonia. Once we even thought we had fully succeeded and replaced all the insulation. Well He/she will stay away for a few days and then returns. He always returns - making new entrance holes or tearing out our "fixes". We have seen the raccoon several times (he is huge) and we hear him frequently (multiple times per week) above the bedrooms. I am done trying to get him to leave permanently and need to turn to a professional for assistance. I am curious as to what you do with the animal once it has been trapped, what your guarantee is as far as him not returning and what your fee structure is like. I also wonder how long this generally will take. Basically any information you could provide this novice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your assistance. Tressa
David – I’ve been doing some research the past few days and ran across your web page info. Really great and very informative, thanks. My 5 yr old was begging me to put up a bird feeder, so I did, and a raccoon (I’m assuming) moved into my attic this past weekend. During the day yesterday, I closed the hole in the soffit screen using appropriate wire mesh. It had a fit trying to get out last night; sounded like someone jumping up and down. The noise stopped after an hour or so and I looked and saw another hole in the old screen so I assumed it had escaped. I’m guessing this is the culprit as I had a captured one this morning in my Havahart trap. Strangely, there was another hole (3rd overall) in the flimsy soffit screen next to the one I noticed last night. I’ve put newspaper in both holes to determine if there may be anymore remaining in the attic before I wire it shut for good, but fear this may have been a female and left a nest behind.  I am hoping I can install some sort of deterrent to keep them away for good. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Have a good day. Regards, Sean Houston, TX
Hi, I've just cleaned my outbuilding, its having been a raccoon latrine over the past few years. Oh, my, was that disgusting work! I live in Maryland and I couldn't find anybody to do the work for me. I was wondering if you could give me the name of a biological cleaner I could use to break down the residual feces and urine. I fear the smell will never leave. Maybe you can help.  I'm also thinking of getting one of those high-pitch sound machines to scare future raccoons away. Thanks so much for any assistance you can give me. Kindly, Tracey Eldridge

Do it yourself: Visit my How To Get Rid of Raccoons page for tips and advice.
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