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Tips to Control Raccoons this Winter

Raccoons can get into your fish pond, pet food, birdseed, chicken coop, invade vegetable gardens in search of food like veggies and the sweet corn, and generally create a mess on your Long Island house. These black-masked bandits are unwelcome, no matter what suburban area they decide to invade, Long Island area or elsewhere.

Raccoons Facts and Information

Natives to the United States, raccoons have gray fur, grow up to two to three feet in length, and can weigh between 10-20 pounds. These critters have black and white rings around their tails and characteristic black markings around their eyes, much like a burglar’s mask.

They don’t just eat your pet food and tip over the garbage, either. They can carry diseases like rabies, worms grow in raccoon feces, and they transport fleas, lice, or ticks in their fur. They damage crops or home gardens, they find and eat expensive koi from your fish pond, they invade and cause havoc in the crawl space under your home, and the females cause home damage when nesting on roofs, tearing shingles up for young raccoons.

These natives to North America are scavengers. They are omnivores, which means they can eat meat, fruit, or vegetables, just like bears, dogs, or humans. They are nocturnal, which is the time when you are most likely to spot or hear them — and they don’t mind making the noise. The black markings around their eyes make them very charismatic, though alarming to find in your flashlight beam late at night.

During the 19th century, these critters were hunted for their pelts. Many American trappers and hunters made their living from hunting them. Since then, the raccoons have made a comeback, and anyone who finds one near your home and stealing your food, damaging your home, or killing your chickens or expensive fish would want them gone.

Oddly, they are very clean in comparison to other animals. They wash their hands, or paws, before and after a meal. These hardy creatures can swim, climb trees, nest under bushes, woodpiles, or debris, and they can run up to 15 miles per hour!

If you find these characteristic signs of damage, droppings, or tracks left around your Long Island home, or if you find your compost pile scattered around your yard, this nocturnal, noisy pest is most likely lurking around your home or your Long Island neighborhood. Keep raccoons out of your yard with these steps.

Remove Food Sources: Don’t Attract Raccoons

If you’ve had an infestation of these black-masked creatures around your home, as you know, you want to be rid of them, and fast. The best control methods are preventative, and the first step is to remove the food sources near your Long Island home. Remember, never intentionally feed a raccoon, and encourage your neighbors to follow suit.

  • Seal your Trash Bins

    Ensure that your outdoor trash can has a lid. If the lid isn’t animal-proof or have a lock or seal mechanism, use rope and bungee cords to keep it shut. Find a pole or a tree and anchor the trash can to it so they can’t pilfer the trash bags.
  • Clean your Yard and Garden

    Fallen fruit, nuts, berries, or other edible debris will attract them for an easy snack. If you compost your food, erect a fence around it, preferably an electric fence. (See below for details).
  • Clean Pet Food and Bowls

    Pet food is a screaming beacon because of their keen sense of smell. Clean up the dog or cat food leftovers and bring the bowl inside for washing. Hang bird feeders on well-anchored standing hooks, or another high and inaccessible place, and be sure the feeder is at least 20 feet from your Long Island home. Be sure to clean dropped birdseed around the bird feeder. If you keep chickens, do your best to clean the chicken coop and clean up the chicken feed to prevent them from getting to your bird eggs, eating your chickens, or causing other damage.
  • Other Tips

    Consider installing motion activated sprinklers to repel raccoons. Sprinkle cayenne pepper or other hot peppers in areas with frequent pest problems. Many animals are repelled by this natural deterrent, since these plants have evolved to repel their natural predators, including raccoons.

Seal your home from Raccoons this Season

These critters often gather in cities and urban areas. Yeah, sound like Long Island? Follow these effective solutions for deterrence. Encourage your neighbors to do the same.

Remember, a community effort may be necessary if they have den sites in your area.

  • Seal Entry Points

    Use chimney caps or spark arrester to keep an invader from crawling down and through your fireplace. Be sure they are tight, or raccoons could lift it away. Find any large gaps around your home and cover them with ten-gauge, galvanized, hardwire mesh, at least ⅓ inch.
  • Reduce Shelter and Nesting Spots

    Keep your firewood pile at least 20 feet away from your home perimeter. Thin out dense shrubbery where a critter could hide, and sweep away piles of leaves where they could nest. Trim tree limbs at least five feet away from the rooftop to reduce their access, and consider removing any roof decor like arbors or trellises that make access easier for them.
  • Erect Fences

    Fences are most effective as deterrents when electrified. Low amplitude electric fencing around gardens, crops, compost, or other food sources will help keep the little burglars away. Use the same wire mesh mentioned above—10 gauge, galvanized hard wire mesh—to make your own fencing, or supplement the fencing you have. Bury 12 inches of the mesh 6 inches deep so that the 12 inches are parallel to the ground. Bend the rest of the mesh, so it stands erect. This method will prevent them from burrowing underneath.

Professional Raccoon Control

Some sources encourage traps or repellents purchased over-the-counter for raccoon repelling. Not all repellents work to keep these burglars away, and someone without experience can easily be hurt by or contract a disease from a frightened raccoon caught in a trap. If you choose to use traps or deterrents, use extreme caution.

Luckily, you’re not alone. Fox Pest Control in the Long Island area has friendly, professional technicians with the experience to help you with their control. If you suspect your Long Island home or neighborhood is playing host to these invaders, don’t wait. Call before 2 pm today, and our technicians will arrive at your home, ready to help defend against these masked burglars. Fox Pest Control provides prompt, friendly, and effective service. Defend your home and get rid of raccoons with Fox Pest Control. We aren’t afraid to get the job done and get it right! Pests … it’s what we do.

Posted on December 2, 2019.

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