Q#160: Which is a better squirrel & critter deterrent: sound, light, or water?

I’d been thinking about this a while, after finding one of my corn stalks knocked over the other day. I’m annoyed as all hell and while I’d like to expand on getting lots of corn in the coming years (I’m dreaming of some of the varieties I’m planting), it’s not gonna do a lick of good unless I can get rid of some of the pests that come along. Unless it was a particularly strong squirrel, I heard racoons will go in and take care of this stuff, too, and can squeeze themselves pretty effectively through certain spaces.

And now that I’ve gotten rid of the chicken wire that was trapping weeds more effectively than it was keeping out squirrels, maybe I got some babies that have made it in to mess things up. I just can’t win.

The key is I don’t want to hurt them. I don’t wanna kill any animals if I can help it, though. They’re neat to watch and they keep my dogs entertained. I just want them to stay away from my garden.

I never see anything during the day, like the squirrels know not to bother. By the next morning, though, I see some small damages. never saw anything as bad as that corn stalk shredded, and it’s pissing me off. I’ll keep trying to plant, but other than the pest repellant powder that I have to re-apply (and expand the supply with some chili powder) after it rains, there’s not much else.

So I wonder, for those who have tried to garden and keep critters out: what has worked best for you (and on which species that you can figure): sound frequency, water, or light?

I managed to get some sound frequency boxes with an extension cord coming to plug in and hopefully keep the animals away. I considered getting battery operated and staking them out, but then I’d run the risk of them running out of batteries and just standing there. plus, with the concrete barriers around my garden plots, that might not work so well. The good thing, too, is two boxes would mean covering the porch side of my house (with the crucial garden) and also I could have one aimed at the backyard where my trees and my high raised beds are for the berry plants. Those, because they’re farther from the house, do get squirrel visitors, and I’m trying to get them away (had to pop a few with my bb gun to get off the beds)

squirrel-4515962_1280

“What, you’d be willing to shoot cute little me?” …”Yes, yes I will if you don’t stop messing with my raspberries.”

My biggest concern with the sound ones is some of them are like “oh yeah, we’ll keep EVERYTHING away.” Well, that’s why I want some I can control when I’m at home vs. not a lot easier. If the dogs are out with me (and my heeler’s exploring), I don’t want her made uncomfortable while we’re supposed to be enjoying the outdoors. My hope is that when I get a better routine established, i can just plug it in when I’m going back in the house with the animals, and unplug it when we come out. Apparently, the ones that I got coming have adjustable frequencies, so hopefully that’ll help out a little, too.

I’d considered floodlights (got some solar ones I was gonna install for security a while back, but I need some help and I’m gonna be sure about the specs first) and aiming them down into the garden area. I probably will anyway so that I have some light when I need to water and the sun is going down rapidly while I’m trying to work, or pick a few more weeds before going in.

Of course, deer (if any come THAT close) will be startled and bolt. Other animals will, too, but it’s doubtful it would work for too long unless I came out every time the lights went on to check it out. Also, I’m not certain how high the lights are allowed to go to keep the motion detector working fine. I like the idea of a dusk-to-dawn light system that is motion activated only and solar powered over the garden (especially if my stuff starts to flourish–if some thieving bastard decides to go in and swipe some stuff at night, they’re gonna have a surprise). I just gotta figure out the best way to mount it. I have another I wanted to put as security around my back garage door (when I was living in there), but moved out of the garage and forgot about it. But that corner is pretty damned dark, and I’d rather have the extra security. Also, it might keep some of the packs of dogs that like to roam around from sticking too close, or keep the deer away a little easier. I have only seen deer on occasion way in the back corner, close to where the road behind ends and goes into a deer lease. I’m also hoping that these precautions help keep wild boars away and make sure they don’t destroy everything.

One project I really want to try is making owl boxes. If I make it comfortable for more pest predators to stick around, maybe the pests will think twice about venturing out too often (and owls and hawks need to feel welcomed, anyway, as long as nobody has a habit of leaving their chihuahua out unsupervised while these guys are hunting). I considered buying some, but the price was crazy. I’m sure there are directions online and I can make a few. The fun part will be putting them way up in the tree (not a fan of heights, but I got a monster ladder I might as well use). I’m sure in the taller trees there are owls nests already, but the way the wind’s been going, one that won’t fall apart after a bad storm might be a good idea. That’s a good natural way I can think of to keep pasts, it’s just gonna take time.

owl-1576572_1280

As far as water goes, I’ve heard it’s a good idea, especially when paired with light: the light comes on, you’re gonna get splashed. The trouble is, I only have one faucet outside and really don’t like the idea of keeping it on all the time just to feed a sprinkler system that operates in fits and starts. Doesn’t help that my faucet head seems to leak no matter what kind of hose I attach or if I use Teflon tape or not around the threads, and that’s a ton of wasted water I’d have to deal with. The only way I could see it working (sort of) is if I put my closest rain barrel up higher to gravity feed, but I doubt it would supply the pressure needed to make the sprinkler effective.

Reminds me, I need to change out the pressure switch in the well before I even CONSIDER messing with my water supply in other ways.

So, at the moment, I’m looking at trying to install a motion activated security light over the garden area and have frequency boxes to deter pests from approaching in the first place that I’ll plug in and keep running all night (and of course still sprinkle that pest repellant stuff with chili powder around). I’m probably gonna find some long pipes or something and cut them to prop bird netting over the corn box, too, because I’m sure some birds are picking at the tops of those (I just never see’ em).

Man, why did I just NOW think of that! I hate bird netting because I get tangled up in it more than anything, but wide-enough PVC pipes to hold it all up might just work out fine. Well, guess we know what to add to my next shopping trip to town.

Anyway, what are some methods you used that worked out? Anybody else done the frequency boxes, the sprinklers, the lights? Did it end up keeping things away that you didn’t want kept away in the first place, like pollinators? Any info would be great.

Floor’s yours…

8 thoughts on “Q#160: Which is a better squirrel & critter deterrent: sound, light, or water?

  1. buddy71 says:

    i think you first need to find out what is in the garden. you could set up a trail cam and see. you could also set up a smallish live trap and then relocate the critter. you could also spread cayenne pepper around. also there is several commercial types of critter repellent which can be bought at local hardware stores (lowes, home depot, ace) for a varied type of critters. i have done/used all with varied results. the best have been traps. since you want not to kill then i guess stay away from any poisons. i have read people plant marigolds around the ridges of their gardens to help ward of pests.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TheChattyIntrovert says:

      They seem to avoid the marigolds. I’ve got quite a few. Got a bed full of peppermint, but I’m guessing something else that doesn’t mind those things is getting in. It just rained a lot last night, so I’m gonna reapply the powdered pest repellant and pepper all around the barrier tonight. Hopefully since it’s drier, it’ll hang on longer.

      I don’t have the money for cameras at the moment, or really know what kind to get anyway, but I’ll keep looking and giving it a shot. Anything’s worth a try at this point.

      Like

  2. Ray Laskowitz says:

    Buddy said it above, but he buried it. Marigolds keep just about everything away, but not just around the edges. If you looked at our garden you’d see something like a tomato plant, a marigold a tomato plant and so on. They even keep tomato worms away. They don’t keep our dogs away. Those little jerks smell ripened strawberries and eat them off the vine. They come in the house with red juice dripping off their beards and look at us as if to say, “It wasn’t me. It was some other dog.”

    Liked by 1 person

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