Getting Rid of Critters

Nocturnal creatures could be to blame for lawn damage in their nightly quests for grubs. Here's how to keep them away.
pest caught safely and painlessly with havahart

pest caught safely and painlessly with havahart

Are you finding holes dug in your yard, sod rolled up, grass uprooted? Don't scold the family dog. The culprit could be any one of four nocturnal animals: the opossum, the skunk, the raccoon or, if you live in certain areas of the U.S., the armadillo. All of these critters can damage a lawn in their nightly quest for their favorite delicacy, grubs.

There are several ways to discourage your nightly visitors. One is to remove the food supply, either with a diazinon spray or beneficial nematodes.

A second possibility is to pin down hardware cloth over the affected area.

The third method is the Havahart trap, which you can bait with peanut butter, bacon, dog food or cheese. When the animal enters, a trapdoor is tripped, and the little pest is caught safely and painlessly. Then you get to release him as far from your property as you wish.

One consideration: When you trap a skunk, relocation isn't a simple matter. To help keep yourself smelling like a rose, hold a large tarp in front of you as you approach the cage and its occupant, then gently drop it over the trap. Place the trap in the trunk of your car with lots of papers underneath and the tarp on top. Take little Stinky to the woods, set the trap on the ground, carefully lift the cover and back off, grabbing the tarp as you beat a retreat.

You might also invest in a water scarecrow, a device that runs on a nine-volt battery and, when it detects motion, squirts the source of that motion with a stream of water.

Next Up

Identifying and Dealing with Problem Insects

Gardeners often play detective when figuring out what's chewing holes or causing yellow or brown spots on favorite plants. Here are some clues to help solve common garden mysteries, as well as tips for dealing with pests.

Bugs, Grubs and Gophers

Follow this advice on the identification, treatment and prevention of the top three lawn pests.

Natural Ways to Keep Household Pests Away

Keeps insects, rodents and other pests out of your home this season with these DIY deterrents.

Integrated Pest Management

An integrated pest management program employs the least environmentally toxic pest controls first before any chemical is used. Learn how to incorporate an IPM program in your garden.

Bee Basics

Get the buzz on the hardest-working creatures in the garden.

Simple Tips for Saving Energy

These ideas for conserving energy throughout your home will help you cut back on costly heating bills.

Lawn Watering Basics

Follow these tips for a crash course in watering a lawn.

Organic Garden Additives

Instead of using store-bought chemicals, organic gardeners take a simpler approach to fertilizers, pesticides and fungicides. Effective versions of each can be mixed up using ingredients already close at hand and a basic kitchen blender.

Organic Gardening

Learn about some of the unusual but effective practices of organic gardening.

Beneficial Insects

By attracting natural predators, you can keep insect pests from destroying the plants in your garden without the use of chemicals.

Stories We're Following

Get Social With Us

We love to DIY. You love to DIY. Let's get together.

Discover Made + Remade

See the latest DIY projects, catch up on trends and meet more cool people who love to create.

Make It. Fix It. Learn It. Find It.