11.18.2004 - I am annoyed at mothballs. Somehow, somewhere, someone got the idea that mothballs would repel wildlife. Now I encounter mothballs on a
weekly basis - inside homes occupied by animals who don't give a crap about mothballs. Armadillos are just one such animal for which people use the magic
cure-all critter repellent, mothballs. Thus, this homeowner dumped a box of moth balls down this armadillo hole.
Amazingly, the armadillo didn't care. As you can see in the above photo, lower right side, the armadillo continued to use the burrow, and some of the mothballs got dragged/kicked out as the animal went in and out and dug as part of its normal business. Then in the upper left side you see the armadillo captured in a cage trap filled with mothballs as bait. That's right, I used mothballs as bait as PROOF that armadillos are not repelled by mothballs. Heck, maybe they're attracted to mothballs. Regardless, mothballs, made of napthalene, are annoyingly common in do-it-yourself armadillo control and wildlife control in general. Mothballs do not repel armadillos. Mothballs do not make good armadillo repellant, I mean repellent. You can't keep armadillos from digging by using moth balls. If you must do something yourself, as opposed to hiring a trapper to remove the armadillo, at least place a large blockade over the hole. The animal will likely dig around it, but at least it's better than poisoning the earth with toxic mothballs.
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Liquid Solution To Armadillo? When you go to a hardware or gardening store to look for help in dealing with an armadillo problem, you will often find many different products that promise to be able to repel armadillos from your garden or yard. The problem with these products is that they are at best unreliable, and in many situations they are completely ineffective, and are a complete waste of money. The reason for such liquids not being able to provide a solution is that most repellents will have the scent of a predator to drive the animal away, but armadillos in North America have no natural predators.
There are also a number of different home remedies and solutions that are touted online, with mothballs, human hair and a chili solution all being circulated as possible armadillo repellents. These are also generally ineffective, and dealing with an armadillo infestation will be something that will require a more practical approach, with trapping and exclusion both providing a good way of dealing with armadillos. Many people have often spent hundreds of dollars trying to solve an armadillo problem using repellents, but the best thing to do is to avoid spending money on these products and pursue a realistic solution to the problem.
One of the most famous and widely-known animal repellents in the world is mothballs. While mothballs have been touted for repelling animals from snakes to raccoons, is it true that they work? Armadillos are one of the most destructive animals that can come onto your property, and everyone would like to be able to use a repellent on them. If mothballs work well with other pests, will they work well at repelling armadillos? Continue reading for an in-depth look.
What are mothballs?
You have very likely heard of mothballs before, as they are used to try to prevent a wide variety of pest animals. They come in small balls that are meant to be placed in areas where you are trying to deter critters. If you have ever smelled a mothball, you are experiencing the primary reason that they are used as a deterrent. This chemical is called naphthalene and it has a very pungent odor that both animals and humans find repulsive. The main idea is that you can place these in armadillo burrows and around your yard in order to keep critters away. The real question that remains is: do they work?
Are mothballs effective?
The short answer is: no, they are not effective. That being said, there are certain situations where they work very well. The real issue with using mothballs as an armadillo repellent is that it relies on the odor of naphthalene to deter these critters. When mothballs are placed in the open air, like they usually are, they are not effective at all. There is no confined space that will contain the odor of the naphthalene because the outside circulating air takes the scent molecules away and dilutes them, rendering them ineffective. Even putting mothballs down an armadillos burrow can be ineffective, as there are multiple exits and entrances into the burrow system, allowing airflow.
When mothballs are used in a garage, shed, or any other building with a confined air space, they are much more effective. The real issue with this is that armadillos don't really try to get into buildings, they just enjoy burrowing and rooting around for food in your yard and garden. With that being said, the answer to the question is: no, mothballs are not effective at repelling armadillos.
Problems with mothballs
In addition to the ineffectiveness of mothballs, there are a few other problems associated with the use of them. One of the biggest and most concerning problems is that your pet or child may ingest the mothball. Small children often look at mothballs and think they look like candy, so it is highly important that you refrain from using mothballs where children will be present. One other issue with mothballs is that, if you use enough, it could cause you to not want to be in your yard. If it smells of naphthalene so strongly, you will not find it pleasant to enjoy being in the yard.
If mothballs don't work, what does? Don't run to the store and buy repellent, as many of these products contain the exact same chemical, naphthalene. The best way to get rid of armadillos is to trap them with a live trap and release them in the wild.