They’re wearing black masks and they stealthily sneak up on your house in the middle of the night. They don’t want your diamonds, and couldn’t care less about your big screen TV. Raccoons are all about the breadcrumbs, baby!
Raccoons are a pain, mostly because they’re smarter then the average pest and pretty much fearless (they aren’t even scared of dogs!). Plus, they’re generally too crafty to get caught in traps. So how do you defend your home against this masked menace? One word: spices.
Since raccoons have a powerful sense of touch and smell, spices like pepper really bug them. But different parts of your home require different spicing strategies. Here are three raccoon-prone areas, and tips for keeping them away:
Garden. If raccoons have been enjoying your prize-winning tomatoes, keep them away with a cinnamon-pepper combo. Mix a cup of each spice together and then sprinkle the mixture liberally throughout the garden. The spices will irritate the raccoons’ sense of smell and they’ll stay away from your yard. Note: If it rains, you’ll have to sprinkle again. The rain will wash away the smell-repel action you’ve created.
Trash can. It may look like trash to you, but to a raccoon, it’s a feast! To keep them away from your garbage, make this homemade pepper spray. It works because it irritates their paws and they can’t stand the smell.
Bring a two-quart pot of water to a boil, and add several hot peppers (like jalapeños), a dash of cayenne pepper and one onion. Let the mixture boil for about 20 minutes, strain it and put the spicy liquid into a spray bottle. Spray your trash can liberally with the mix! You may have to spray every day for a few weeks before all of the local raccoons get the picture (that your trash can is not a fun hangout). Raccoons aren’t dummies – eventually they’ll learn that your trash can is the worst dive on the block.
Attic. Once raccoons have moved into your warm, cozy attic it can be hard to evict them! To get them to move out on their own, soak a few cotton balls in the pepper/water mixture outlined in the “trash can” section. Place them in various areas throughout your attic (corners are great). Raccoons will be sensitive to the smell and leave in search of a less peppery home. Once they’re outta there, do an attic inspection to make sure that wires weren’t damaged during their stay. Note: If this doesn’t do the trick after a few days, you may have to re-soak and reposition the cotton balls (sometimes several times) before the raccoons take the hint and leave.