Dealing with Wildlife Problems: Home Invasions

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There are times when it can be rewarding to have different animal species living on your property. They are fun to watch especially for little children’s first encounters with nature. That enjoyment can quickly turn into a nightmare when wildlife problems begin. Many animals find their way to your property and destroy gardens, lawns, or even the structure to your home. Wildlife problems can ruin the structure of your home, create openings for other wildlife, cause unwanted messes, or even bring in rabies and other illnesses. Children and pets as well as adults can be in danger from these animals. The most common invaders are squirrels, raccoons, opossums, groundhogs, and skunks.


Squirrels usually invade a home when they are trying to make a nest. They will chew through siding, unscreened chimneys, and vents. You may find nests in these areas as well as in your attic. Squirrels usually continue to chew even after they nest. Once inside your homes insulation, wires, and the structure of your home are in danger. Bared wires from their chewing have been known to cause fires. On the outside squirrels can short out transformers causing loss of utility power to your home. The damage bird feeders, eat food from the birds, and scare off birds. Squirrels can also damage your plant life; eating fruits, grains, and vegetables in your garden or chewing off bark, twigs, and leaves. If you have other fruit bearing trees squirrels will carry off their bounty.


Although raccoons are necessary to the food chain to control the insect and rodent population they are notorious for eating fresh vegetation from your garden, eating leftovers in your trash can, they eat fish from your garden ponds, and enter you home through various means. Raccoons have been known to carry rabies and round worms. Round worms contracted from a raccoon can cause brain damage or even be lethal. Raccoons that dig in your gardens are usually not digging for the root they are looking for grubs. Grubs are larvae of insects.


Opossums are another beneficial animal that eats insects, slugs, and snails. People normally think that an opossum is just a giant rat; however they can be harder to get rid of than a rat. When approached they will hiss and show their very sharp teeth. They will then play dead until the danger passes. Opossums usually mess with trash cans that don’t contain lids or they dig up gardens; they have been known to go into chicken coops for eggs. Opossums will eat anything: snakes, mice, ants, and road kill but once they learn about the treasures that lie within your cupboards they will return to eat daily. With their sharp teeth they will enter your garage, attic, or shed by chewing through wood and drywall. Their droppings can make pets sick if eaten because it can contain parasites. When Opossums die in a home they create a biohazard.


Groundhogs are also called woodchucks. They are sun loving creatures so they are very active in the early morning. They are mainly vegetarians so anything in your garden goes. They will also climb trees to reach the berries. If cornered or provoked ground hogs will attack, however they are fearful of people and will try to avoid them. When scared they will sometimes emit a whistle. Groundhogs like most mammals can carry rabies. Groundhogs will usually burry under decking and sheds creating intricate tunnels with at the very least two openings. When burrowing they can cover a tremendous amount of ground each day. When done under a structure it can make the foundation weak.


Skunks eat rodents, crickets, beetles, grasshoppers, insect larvae, and shrew but they will also eat vegetables and fruit from your garden, damage other plants and lawns. For obvious reasons having a skunk around can be unpleasant; they can spray up to 20 feet. Skunks also carry a risk of rabies. Skunks will tear up your lawn in search of grubs. Grubs are also present in your compost piles. Pets are usually the first to encounter skunks when they are sprayed to their dismay. A solution of hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and dishwashing soap will usually eliminate the odor.

Protect against home invasions

  • Repair holes, cover your trash cans, cap your chimney, and cleaning up spilled pet food is an effective solution to deter wildlife.
  • Trim branches that give wildlife access to your home.
  • If utility lines are closed to your home you can ask the utility company to cover the lines with PVC pipe so that when the animal crosses it the pipe will rotate cause the animal to slip off.
  • Use bird feeder baffles or petroleum jelly so that wildlife cannot get in bird feeders.
  • Feeders should also be placed at least 6 feet off the ground.
  • Metal sheeting or baffles can be used to protect tree trunks; make sure to leave it loose enough for tree growth.
  • Vegetable gardens can be fenced with wire fencing; bury the fencing at least 6 inches deep and wide to prevent burrowing.
  • Control the insect populations in your garden by using Capsaicin repellants and milky spore. Capsaicin will also make plants unpleasant for animals.
    Protect garden ponds by making different places for them to find shelter. One way to do so is to stack rocks for fish to hide in. Making ponds at least 18 inches deep will also make the pond low enough for fish to swim deeper away from the grip of wildlife invasions.
  • Place peanut or olive oil, or ammonia soaked rags near the openings of groundhog dens have been known to basically “stink” a groundhog out because of their incredible sense of smell. Make sure to fill in the den afterwards.
  • Trap and release laws vary by state; contact a professional. Also trapping and releasing animals that carry a risk of rabies like the skunk, groundhog, or raccoons can be dangerous to humans.
  • Be careful of endangering other animals while trying to get rid of wildlife like the neighbor’s cat or small dogs.
  • When taking measures to rid yourself of these wildlife problems remember that many pest are creating nest for breeding purposes so if you kill of the mother the babies will die also. If you are unable to find the actual nest then you may create a very uninhabitable situation in your home.

For all your wildlife removal and control problems, Alliance Pest Service is your local Wildlife control and removal expert in Monmouth County, NJ.  

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