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Animal Deterrent

Keeping Bugs Away From Your Lights

August 2, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

If you live in a place where there is a large population of June Bugs, moths, etc, they can be a real pain. Most outdoor lighting draws them in in noisy clouds. Motion lights are an improvement, but if the bugs are big enough, they can continuously trigger many of the less fancy models, but there are several things you can do to minimize this.

bug bulbThe first thing you can do is change the spectrum of your lights. Most insects see much farther into the ultra-violet spectrum than we do, but don’t see much in the spectrum from yellow on into infra-red. This means that the cooler the spectrum on your bulbs, the more bugs it will attract. They make bulbs specifically to solve this problem. I’d like to stress that whatever they may say on the packaging, these are not bug repellers. Putting one of these up won’t chase away mosquitoes, or keep the ants out of your kitchen. It is merely a spectrum that things like May Beetles, moths, etc. can’t see, and thus won’t chase. There are several styles of bulb available:

Personally, that yellow color would drive me nuts.

bug-zapperA second option is to just kill them. I highly discourage the use of poisons. Most bug poisons are indiscriminate killers. When you look at our current honey bee die-offs, and the history of things like DDT, the poisons really don’t seem worth it. Increasingly, they are finding traces of them within us as well. There are a huge number of bug zapper products out there (amazon alone sells around a hundred different models) that are especially effective against this sort of insect. There are even solar bug zappers now, although  they have a lousy track record on the mosquitoes they are advertised for. Bug zappers have their own set of issues: They use up electricity (except the solar ones) They are loud, and if you live in an area where the bugs are thick, you really aren’t likely to be able to keep up. If you are putting up a zapper, keep in mind that it doesn’t need to be right next to your favorite rocking chair; put it out back where it won’t be so noticeable.

A third option is to change where you are lighting from. Switch to spotlights, and put them away from where the bugs are a nuisance, but where it can shine on the areas you frequent.

My fourth and final suggestion is a bit more involved, but will solve the problem nicely. The key is to put up outdoor motion lighting, but to keep the sensor away from the lights themselves. There is a very nice motion sensor kit designed for doing just that. It allows you to put up the kind of lighting you like, and then just switch out the light switch for one that communicates wirelessly with a battery powered motion sensor. Put the sensor where it can cover the area you want covered, and now if the bugs are flying around the light, they won’t trigger it to stay on.

Remember, you don’t have to make the system perfect, you just have to have a better setup than the neighbors. The bugs will congregate there.

Animal Deterrent

Nite Guard: Solar Animal Repeller

April 12, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 


nite-guard_solar-animal-repeller

One of the problems with conventional outdoor motion lighting or sprinklers for controlling nocturnal animals, is that the light and noise can disturb you, your neighbors, and your livestock at night. Guard against these nocturnal predators with the Nite Guard. It is a very targeted and cleverly designed system specifically designed to keep nocturnal pests out of your yard. It is a tiny 3″ solar powered unit with a tiny flashing dusk to dawn red LED, which is interpreted by animals as the reflective eye of a predator staring straight at them.

The manufacturer recommends that you put up several of them facing different directions so animals won’t just circle around from behind. It works well as a deer repeller, but you may need to move them around once in a while to keep them from getting used to them. A local feed store recommended these to keep raccoons and weasels away from my chickens, and they also recommend it for rabbit keepers. It works against skunks too, but keep in mind they can only see about ten feet. Some other things the manufacturer claims the Nite Guard will repel: owls, coyotes, herons, possums, foxes, bobcats, muskrats, bears, skunks, cougar, wild boar, mink and weasels, but apparently is useless against beavers. I’m a little surprised to hear them claim it repels bears. I may send some to my parents to test this out on their many bears.

They seem a bit pricey if you want to buy a bunch of them, but if you have ever been woken up in the middle of the night by raccoons in the henhouse, you know it is a small price to pay, and they are self contained and solar powered. You may only need one for a lot of applications, like keeping coons out of your bird feeder. It may actually even be effective against people. Something about seeing a red light when you approach just screams fancy silent security system. In general, post them around the eye level of whatever you are intending to repel, and about a hundred feet apart for big animals like bear and deer, and 25 feet apart for small animals like raccoons.

You can find them at amazon

Or on Northern Tool.

 

Animal Deterrent

Scarecrow Motion Sprinkler

March 24, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 


scarecrow_motion_sprinkler

Unlike a motion sensor light, the Scarecrow CRO101 Motion Sprinkler won’t help you when you are fumbling with your keys in the middle of the night, but there are a ton of useful applications for it:

Keep cats out of yard: Cats really don’t like this thing. This is an easy way to keep the neighbors cat from digging in your yard without irritating its owner.

Keeping dogs out of yard: Admittedly there are a few breeds of dog that think this is just a great toy, but at least they will be frolicking rather than leaving a present on your lawn.

Keep deer out of garden: The Scarecrow has a feature to pause for eight seconds between bursts. This really disturbs flighty animals like deer. It is also effective against rabbits and chickens.

Discourage people: Whether they be bums, burglars, Jehovah’s Witnesses, or Girl Scouts, they will likely choose easier pickings. Be warned this also goes for the mailman, Publishers Clearing House, and other desired guests.

Pond guard: If there is a heron eating koi out of your pond, or a raccoon eating your fish. this is the answer.

Repel skunks and other undesirables: If it likes to scuttle in the night and is big enough to be detected, it won’t like the Scarecrow. Skunk sprayed your dog? Give it a taste of its own medicine!

This unit works day and night. For most applications, this is nice, but if you just want it for one or the other, you are out of luck. It runs off of a 9 volt battery (not included). It comes with a 17″ stake and setup is easy. Just attach the hose and the stake, put in the battery, and it is ready to go.

Amazon carries this motion detecting sprinkler, and it is usually eligible for prime shipping.