While many of us need to wait a couple more months before starting our gardens, this is a great time of year to purchase solar pest control, because the spring garden season often brings higher prices.
And, whether your pest are geese, deer, moles, coyotes, or burrowing mammals such as moles and groundhogs, there are many humane and highly effective solar products that can keep your property free of nuisance animals.
Depending on where you live, odds are that some type of wildlife has destroyed your landscape, gardens or shrubs. Along with lower prices, installing solar pest control now means that some pests will be long gone before garden season or that migrating animals such as Canadian Geese, migrate north. In other areas, crows and birds such as geese are down right nuisances. Good news: there are many new devices that rely on solar and largely ultrasound technology to repel common garden pests. And, unlike the solar repellents you see on TV, these are all designed to attack individual pests where they are most vulnerable. They don’t hurt the animals, they just make the animals want to move somewhere else, and to do so quickly!
Because solar pest repellents use no chemicals (natural or man-made), they’re great for both organic gardeners or people fearful of harming the environment or poisoning children or animals. Unlike traps, solar devices do not physically harm the garden pests in any way.
This is important, as sometimes gardeners and landscape enthusiasts get to the point where they are willing to try pretty much anything. (Killing or causing physical harm to animals can get you in hot water with your neighbors and depending on where you live, often the law.)
New devises are available that use free solar energy to protect gardens.
Different devices are available with features that turn the table and attack the invaders’ weaknesses.
Other nuisance to many gardeners are rabbits that eat young shoots, as well as moles and groundhogs that destroy landscapes by burrowing holes and tunnels throughout one’s property.
Squirrels and other small animals also are damaging, as they like to dig up and eat bulbs for tulips, lilies, daffodils and other perennials. Tubers of irises, dahlias and peonies are favorite snacks.
Luckily, there’s a product completely harmless to children and pets that sends these varmints moving along by sending ultrasonic sounds that the animals hate both below ground (if they are inserted into the earth) and above ground.
Perhaps the biggest nuisances for people who live near water are geese.
While beautiful birds, they also can be nasty and downright aggressive especially when goslings or eggs are involved. And maybe the only thing worse than trying to cook on your grill while geese are trying to steal the food, or having them rush up and peck at you while you’re walking along your property, is geese droppings.
Given that geese often have vicious mean tempers, and how much they eat (and eliminate) each day, geese aren’t the type of backyard birds most people enjoy.
Coyotes: Double Danger
In many suburban areas, coyotes have made a big comeback and many ranches and farms never really saw them go away.
Since their natural habitats (and food supply) in many areas of the US are dwindling, coyotes often turn to pets and livestock for food. In fact, my mother-in-law recently lost two dogs to coyotes.
In addition to feeding on expensive and often loved animals, many coyote populations throughout the country have a high incidence of rabies.
Luckily, there are solar pest controls that coyotes do not like at all.
One low-cost alternative for daytime use is “Holographic Scare Tape” that you can hang from trees or poles that works by creating motion and a visual effects coyotes and birds find disturbing. (Scare tape is also good to hang near clothes lines to keep birds from away from clean laundry.)
To protect fenced areas or chicken coops at night, special lights are available that can be used on all four sides of a fence or building, or placed on a pole. A solar powered red light flashes, which helps to scare away coyotes, as well as racoons, deer, foxes, raccoons, bears, mountain lions, wolves, owls, weasels, skunks and hawks.
The video below shows how the scare tape and the Nite Guard Predator Guard work.
Downside of Traditional Solutions
Gardeners plagued by one or more of these garden pests are likely to have tried many solutions:
While netting can be helpful for deer, it draping it over attractive shrubs is like having one’s hair style for a special occasion and then wearing a hair net for the big event. Frankly, it’s ugly. And while it works to an extent on deer which have dull teeth; nets aren’t very effective for sharp-toothed animals such as rabbits.
Fencing is expensive and depending on what you want to protect, is not always practical to install. And, fencing doesn’t work does not deter burrowing mammals, as they will dig beneath it.
There are a few downsides to chemicals. Even if the package says “natural” doesn’t mean “harmless.” For example, several common garden choices such as foxglove or white oleander are are extremely poisonous and often lethal if ingested. Another downside: even if they are effective, a rain means the need to reapply chemical repellents frequently so the costs add up quickly.
Advantages of Solar Powered Pest Control
Solar technology continues to move forward. Better solar panels, charging systems and batteries are more cost-efficient than a few years ago, and some pretty clever people have taken advantage of it to address the pests that bother them the most.
Solar lights that act as “Bug Killers” are still around and now they are far more attractive and as effective as ever. Often designed to look like an attractive solar lighting fixture, they attract mosquitoes, gnats and moths to the flame, an ultraviolet or halogen light that zaps them.
A newer use of solar technology is ultrasonic devices to repel small mammals. These work by emitting a sound that is imperceptible to humans, but intolerable to moles, rabbits and groundhogs. Set a few out and the pests will go elsewhere pretty quickly. These also have been around for a while.
Two types of devices have come on the market over the past couple of years to deal with the often more annoying and destructive pests: deer and geese.
One type of products are deer repellents that combine multiple levels of defense. Solar powered, they incorporate a motion detection device that activates the ultrasound, which in itself scares many deer away as they by nature are timid creatures.
Click on the picture to the right and see our product description, which includes a video demonstration of this deer repellent in action. It’s so effective it was actually featured on “Ask This Old House!”
For bolder deer, the ultrasound is followed by a spray of pressurized water that scared, but does not harm, the animals. And those that don’t run from after the ultrasound kicks-in rapidly flee when the water is aimed in their direction.
Okay, looks effective. But won’t people get sprayed?
No, though some earlier models often had this flaw. New products, usually invented by gardeners, have on/off switches to turn the devices off when people will be in the area for garden or recreational purposes. They work in a half-circle area of sensitivity, so people will not activate them the move behind the devices.
Another feature built into some of these repellents is a buzzer audible to people that alerts people to move along before the spray disperses.
Geese have their own strengths and vulnerabilities, and the newest geese repellents take advantage of this. Some units work to disrupt geese sleep patterns. Like people, geese need regular sleep and once they cannot sleep comfortably, they soon take up residence in another area.
Other geese repellents work by with a low-illumination solar light that flashes every few seconds. It’s pretty much unnoticeable to humans, but the flashing light stops geese from congregating at night and early mornings.
With their feeding habits interrupted, these devices also cause geese to seek new home territory rather quickly. They are often used on golf courses and other recreational facilities because a single unit can cover up to 3.5 acres of land providing there are no line-of-sight disruptions such as small valleys, hills or trees and brush. For these areas with these features, more geese repellent units must be installed.
The price of the most effective deer repellent units begin at about $175 per unit and geese units can are around $120-125.
However, these are one-time costs, and there are no operating costs associated with solar devices except for battery changes, and rechargeable solar batteries last up to two years or more.
Solar devices are cheaper than fencing, and they are a one-time investment. In comparison, chemicals, sprays or netting, mean that you need to continually reinvest. So, in addition to being humane and effective, solar pest repellents makes dollars and sense.
Solar pest repellents are sensible for the wallet, sensitive to the environment, and are humane solutions to save your plants, gardens and landscape from common pests. Other great and humane solar products are available for crows and other nuisance birds.