How to Keep Animal Pests out of Your Tropical Garden
We love our gardens, right? Think about all the time that you have put into your outdoor tropical paradise when you could have been at the beach, walking and getting fresh air, or sipping Mai Tai at a dock side bar. If we didn’t love our tropical gardens then we wouldn’t sacrifice so much to care for it. What are we to do, then, when we start to have varmint problems?
This article doesn’t pertain to only tropical gardens. It can help with a lot of different types of pests all over the country. Here in Hawaii I have a mongoose and stray cat problem. Yeah, stray cats. They don’t dig up or steal my fruits and vegetables as much as they just tend to lie down in a pot or flower bed. I don’t get.
Tips to Dealing with Animals and Pests in Your Garden
1. Know Your Enemy: You need to identify what animals are having their way and reigning havoc down on your garden crops and flora. This information will be necessary in deterring their efforts and when they are more likely to bother your garden.
2. Animal Proof with Strategy: One huge tip is to eliminate the natural foods of the pests that are getting into your garden. Get rid of bird see and the squirrels will go. For me, I have to find a way to kill the geckos which are a favorite mongoose food. Also, get rid of animal hiding and nesting areas as well as covering crawl space and gaps in fencing. Raccoons the problem? Cover and secure your compost.
3. Go On the Offensive: When all else fails and the little buggers can’t take a hint and keep coming back, then you may have to get all craaaazy up on them! Consider one of the following “control” methods.
Eradication: Honestly, I am a sucker for small animals and I couldn’t do this kind of stuff, no matter how tough I talk. However, there are certain options you have. There is shooting, poison baits, smoke bombs and traps. If you have pets, be careful. You don’t want to inadvertently kill the family dog or cat.
Repellents: Cotton balls can be used but they’re poisonous to kids and pets. (Probably a bad idea). There is castor oil, predator urine (yuck), hot peppers for rabbits and castor bean plants for rodents.
Noise Makers and Sonic Repellents: Stuff like this will switch “on” with motion or, in the case of the ultras-sonics, stay constant. Lights flip on, things suddenly move, and water starts to spray…this will usually scare of most pests.
Pets: Hey, this is the way to go for me. I used to have a rat terrier that was the bane of squirrels, rats, moles, voles and chipmunks. If only I had him now for the mongooses. Cats and dogs can be bad news for any kind of garden but they can also help unwanted critters from taking a closer look at your papaya plant.
Live Traps: We’ve all seen the Looney Tunes. Bait one of these wire and mesh traps with some veggies, cracker or your pest’s favorite snack. When they enter the trap they’ll trigger a spring loaded door to come down on them. You got ‘em, partner! Now what?
Fence: You can fence your entire garden either permanently or temporarily. If you have the money and time, then electric is the way to go to keep those pests out of your garden.