Possums, while often harmless and even beneficial to the ecosystem, can sometimes become a nuisance, especially when they invade our homes and gardens. They are known to rummage through trash, eat plants, and even cause structural damage to homes. So, how can you keep possums away from your property? Here’s an in-depth guide to help you.
To keep possums away, eliminate their food sources by securing your trash, not leaving pet food outside, cleaning up after fruit trees, and securing your compost. Use natural repellents like peppermint oil, a spicy mix, or molasses. Block their access by trimming overhanging branches and sealing off openings in your home. Install physical barriers like fences, netting, or chicken wire. Consider using commercial products or hiring a professional pest control service if necessary.
Before you can effectively deter possums, it’s important to understand why they might be attracted to your home in the first place. Possums are omnivores and opportunistic feeders, which means they can eat a wide variety of foods. They are attracted to pet food left outside, unsealed trash cans, rotting fruits on the ground, and even food in vegetable gardens and compost piles. They also seek shelter in various structures, such as attics, basements, garages, storage sheds, and crawl spaces, and like dark, high spaces and may take refuge under decks, in garden sheds, or in dense overgrowth.
1. Eliminating Food Sources
One of the most effective ways to deter possums is by eliminating their food sources. Here are some steps you can take:
- Secure your trash: Use bins with tight-fitting lids to prevent possums from scavenging. Consider using bungee cords to secure the lids if necessary.
- Don’t leave pet food outside: If you have pets, feed them indoors or remove any leftover food immediately.
- Clean up after fruit trees: Regularly pick up any fallen fruit from your garden as they can attract possums.
- Secure your compost: If you have a compost pile, ensure it’s enclosed or covered to prevent possums from accessing it.
2. Using Natural Repellents
Another effective way to deter possums is by using natural repellents. Here are some you can try:
- Peppermint oil: Possums dislike the smell of peppermint. Mix a few drops of peppermint oil with water and spray it around your property.
- Spicy mix: Create a mixture of hot sauce or crushed hot peppers, garlic, water, and dish soap. Spray this mixture on your plants and other areas where possums are causing problems.
- Molasses: Mix one part molasses with four parts water in a spray bottle. Shake to combine, then spray onto leaves and branches that possums climb to get in.
3. Blocking Access Points
Possums are good climbers and can easily access your roof or other high structures. Here’s how to block their access:
- Trim overhanging branches: Trim any tree branches that are close to your roof to prevent possums from climbing over.
- Seal off openings: Close any openings in your home that allow possums entry with weatherproof caulk or foam insulation.
4. Using Physical Barriers
Physical barriers can also be effective in keeping possums away. Here are some options:
- Install a fence: A good fence can deter possums. Make sure it’s at least 4 feet high and extends 1-2 feet underground to prevent possums from digging under it.
- Use netting or chicken wire: Enclose garden beds with netting or chicken wire to protect your plants.
5. Commercial Products
There are several commercial products available that can help deter possums. Some examples include ultrasonic pest repellers, motion-activated sprinklers, and specific possum deterrent sprays available in most home improvement stores.
6. Professional Pest Control Services
If DIY methods are not successful, consider hiring a professional pest control service. They have the expertise and experience to handle possum problems effectively and humanely.
In conclusion, while possums can be a nuisance, they are an essential part of our ecosystem. It’s important to use humane methods to deter them. Remember, the goal is not to harm the possums but to encourage them to move elsewhere.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are possums dangerous to humans or pets?
Generally, possums are not dangerous. They are non-aggressive animals and prefer to avoid confrontations. However, they can bite or scratch if cornered or threatened and like any wild animal, they can carry diseases. It’s always best to keep a safe distance and not attempt to handle them.
Can possums climb fences?
Yes, possums are excellent climbers. That’s why when installing a fence to deter them, it should be at least 4 feet high and also extend 1-2 feet underground to prevent them from digging under it.
What time of day are possums most active?
Possums are nocturnal, which means they are most active at night. This is why you might often find signs of their activity, such as rummaged through trash or eaten plants, in the morning.
Are there any plants that deter possums?
There are no specific plants known to consistently deter possums. However, they are known to dislike strong, pungent smells. Therefore, planting herbs such as mint, garlic, or onions might help to some extent.
What should I do if I find a possum in my house?
If you find a possum in your house, it’s best to call a professional pest control service. They have the expertise and experience to handle the situation safely and humanely. In the meantime, try to contain the possum in one area by closing doors to other rooms if possible.