Evie, Pest Advice, Pest Control

Fox-in-Garden

Are you concerned about protecting your small pets from predators?

Unfortunately, for many small pet owners, foxes are a worry when it comes to caring for your pets in outdoor hutches or cages. Foxes can strike at any time, day or night so it is always best to consider repellent options before it’s too late. Despite the fox’s success in breaking into your rabbit or guinea-pigs hutch, shock alone is enough to harm or kill your beloved small pets, especially if they are young. Remember, prevention is always the best cure.

There are a number of useful methods designed to deter foxes and protect your small pets. We’ve put together a list to help you decide the best option for your circumstances.

pet-rabbit

Scent Repellents

A popular option for many worried pet owners, is the Scoot fox scent repellent. This non-toxic formula is used to keep foxes away from your hutches and your garden for good. Scoot works to trick the predator into believing that it is walking in the territory of another fox, causing it to vacate the premises. The biodegradable product is safe for use on gardens and crops, working to mimic the scent markings of foxes and deter the attention of others.

Observing the behaviour of an existing fox will be highly useful in determining where to apply the fox scent repellent. If you are unsure of where to apply the product, it is recommended to begin with perimeters and places where existing fox scent can be smelled. Be sure to apply the product to any areas of “scorching” on lawns, as this is indicative of persistent fouling. Application will need to be repeated as advised, for optimum results.

Spray Repellers

Alternatively, a safe and effective option that also protects your garden from other pests such as un-welcomed cats or squirrels, is the Jet Spray Repeller. A motion sensor detects movement of a warm body, triggering a water spray response. Of course, if your small pets are likely to trigger the motion sensor, ensure that the repeller is triggered in an appropriate position away from their cage.The repeller connects to your garden hose, and it will not release the five second spray unless triggered, meaning no water wastage as a result.

Jet-Spray-PestBye-Repeller

Ultrasonic Deterrents

Ultrasonic repellers trigger a short burst of noise, designed to discomfort the fox. The frequency of the sound is too high to be heard by human ears, but it is effective for dogs and cats. Birds will not be deterred or dis-encouraged by the repeller from your garden. The sudden burst of sound typically lasts for around 25 seconds. Designed to operate day or night, rise or shine, the battery powered Advanced Fox Scarer by PestBye is easy to install and simple to use. For a mains powered option, the PestBye Ultrasonic Pest Repeller includes a strobe light combined with the ultrasonic to unnerve unwanted visitors. It is recommended to be mindful of your small pets’ hearing and responses to this type of repeller. However, its effectiveness should not be ignored. If you’d like to prevent unwanted visitors in your garden, place an ultrasonic repeller near where they enter your outdoor space, but far enough away from your hutch.

Fencing

Guard your garden by installing fencing in your outdoor space. The most optimum fencing will include chicken wire around the base of the trellis to prevent a fox from getting through any small gaps or anything getting out! Be sure to keep a close eye on any gaps or holes where a fox could gain entry to your garden, you’d be surprised at what small gaps they can squeeze through!

Electric fencing is also an option for protecting your garden from foxes. When touched, the transformer gives off a low and harmless electric pulse. The shock is enough to warn off unwanted visitors, causing them to avoid your garden in the future, without causing them long-lasting harm.

Keep your hutches safe, locked, and structured at all times to ensure your bunnies or guinea pigs are safe. As mentioned at the beginning of this article, prevention is always the best cure! View Primrose’s full range of fox repellents here.

Evie works in the Primrose Marketing Team.

Growing up in the English countryside, she likes nothing more than to be surrounded by nature’s peace and quiet, with the addition of the family pets of course!

Evie is passionate about all things digital marketing and loves the challenge of combining creativity with online content.

When not at her desk, you’ll typically find her in the gym, posting on social media, or watching a popular series on Netflix!

See all of Evie’s posts.

Animals, Megan, Organic, Pest Control, Slugs & Snails, Wildlife

It is well known that slugs are widely disliked among gardeners, especially when they are invading your vegetable patch. It is true that slugs love to munch on your cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuce – however, slugs are widely misunderstood creatures. Around 95% of slugs you won’t actually see nibbling on your plants as they live underground. Most slugs feed off decomposing plants, making them a vital part of our ecosystem. This is part of the reason natural slug deterrents are the best bet in getting rid of slugs from your garden.

Natural Slug Deterrents

Slugs are nocturnal creatures, only coming out at night to feed. They are lovers of dark, damp environments and are most active during the warmer more humid months; however you may see slugs around any temperature over 5 degrees celsius. Tell-tale signs include slime trails and irregular holes in the foliage of your plants. If the former is causing you bother in removal, white vinegar is a good solution.

Of the slugs that do feed off the plants you have lovingly grown, there are a number of things you can do to deter slugs naturally and organically. Read on to find out more about natural slug deterrents in the garden.

Why Natural?

There are many benefits to choosing natural slug deterrents over traditional chemical pest control.

One thing to point out is that the use of slug pellets does not just affect slugs – it also affects the predators of slugs, including hedgehogs, ground beetles and frogs. The use of these slug pellets not only kill off these predators’ food source, but also cause them to ingest the poison present in the slug corpses they eat. Slug pellets can also pose a danger to any pets you may have.

Natural Slug Deterrents

Another is the effectiveness of slug pellets – although they are the number one choice for gardeners when it comes to slug pest control, they are not necessarily the most effective. They are said to only kill 10% of the slug population in your garden.

If you are gardening organically (and there are many benefits to doing so), slug pellets should not be used as they contain harmful chemicals that will disrupt the natural balance of your garden. With so many natural slug deterrents for your garden available, there is really no need to use slug pellets, unless as a very last resort.

Natural Slug Deterrents: Prevention

Improving Soil

As mentioned previously, slugs thrive in damp conditions where soil structure and drainage is poor. Improving the soil in your garden may help deter slugs from making a home there.

Natural Slug Deterrents

One way to do this is by adding organic matter to your soil in the form of compost. You can find out more about how to compost here. You can also add leaf mould to your soil, which will improve its structure along with encouraging beneficial bacteria.

Creating a pond or water garden will help improve the drainage of your soil, as well as adding a beautiful extra feature to your garden.

Natural Slug Deterrents

Cultivating the soil in your garden involves breaking up and loosening it with a rake. Regularly cultivating will disturb slugs’ environment, leaving them more vulnerable to predators. It will also allow for the top of the soil to dry out more, resulting in limited movement for slugs.

Tidying Up

Slugs thrive in dark, damp areas and make home in decaying plant matter, so keeping your garden clear from any debris will help deter them. Be sure to put any leaves and grass clippings into your compost heap instead of leaving it around. Additionally, be vigilant when tidying up any stacks of flower pots as you are probably likely to find a whole family of molluscs in there.

Choose Resistant & Trouble-Free Plants

Instead of waging a war against slugs once your garden is in full bloom, choosing plant varieties that are resistant to slugs may save you a lot of stress and time trying to deter slugs.

Natural Slug Deterrents

The following annuals and perennials are particularly resistant against slugs:

  • Hydrangeas
  • Roses
  • Poppies
  • Geraniums
  • Mint

Natural Slug Deterrents

Vegetables that are generally disliked by slugs include the following:

  • Asparagus
  • Beetroot
  • Onions
  • Parsnips

Natural Slug Deterrents: Slug Repelling & Attracting Plants

Although many believe slugs will eat anything and everything in their garden, there are some plants which slugs will not touch with a barge pole. Try planting these near the plants they love to deter them from the whole area. Slugs tend to dislike strong-smelling plants, and plants with hairy foliage. Here are some examples:

  • Allium
  • Chives
  • Garlic
  • Foxgloves
  • Fennel

Natural Slug Deterrents

You can also try planting varieties that slugs love away from your prize plants. This will distract them away from what you don’t want them to eat. Lawn camomile is a good one for this. Rub the leaves of the lawn camomile to further release the aroma that attracts the slugs to the plant.

Natural Slug Deterrents: Attracting Predators

As mentioned previously, the predators of slugs include hedgehogs, ground beetles, thrushes, frogs & toads. Encouraging these natural predators in your garden will help control the slug population. There are a number of things you can do to help attract these predators to your garden.

Hedgehogs

  • Leave part of your garden wild
  • Provide a hedgehog home
  • Leave out a bowl of water for your hedgehog to quench their thirst
  • Invest in a compost bin where your hedgehog can make a home

To find out more about attracting hedgehogs to your garden, check out our post on preparing hedgehogs for winter.

Natural Slug Deterrents

Thrushes

  • Provide thrushes with suet and hulled sunflower seeds to initially attract them to your garden
  • Invest in a bird bath near ground level, so thrushes have fresh water
  • Thrushes prefer thick foliage to nest in rather than bird houses, so leave part of your garden wild to encourage them to nest

Natural Slug Deterrents

Frogs & Toads

The simplest way to attract frogs is to build a frog-friendly pond. There are number of things you can take into consideration in terms of attracting wildlife when building your pond:

  • Frogs like tranquil water so there is no need to add a filtration system or aerator
  • Build the pond with sloped sides so frogs can easily get in & out of the pond
  • Don’t add any fish! Fish are natural predators of frogs and feed on their eggs and tadpoles
  • Add a variety of pond plants
  • Embrace the ‘wild’ of your pond and don’t keep it too clean

Natural Slug Deterrents

Ground Beetles

  • Mulch your garden well and often
  • Plant perennials where ground beetles can take shelter

Natural Slug Deterrents

 

Natural Slug Deterrents: Barrier Methods

You can deter slugs directly from your plants by creating barriers around them. Barrier methods come in the form of barriers that slugs cannot physically cross, and barriers that slugs could cross but would prefer not to due to discomfort and unpleasantness. Be sure your plants are free from slugs to start with before implementing either of these methods – the key is to trap the slug in the area away from your plant, not near it!

Copper

Slugs do not like to touch copper, as when they do, a chemical reaction occurs and they are given an unpleasant shock. This form of deterrent is available in the form of copper tape, copper rings and copper pot feet. Tape is useful to stick around the top of planters. Copper rings can be placed around small groups of plants.

Natural Slug Deterrents

Eggshells/Nutshells

Creating a barrier of broken eggshells around your plants will deter slugs, as they will dislike moving across the sharp and jagged edges. In addition, the eggshells add calcium to your soil as they decompose. Be sure the eggshells are clean and the inner membrane is removed before spreading around your plants.

Natural Slug Deterrents

Nutshells work in a similar way to that of above. The hard shells of nuts such as walnuts work best.

Seaweed

Not only is seaweed great for your soil, it is also a natural repellent for slugs. Slugs consist mainly of water, and the high salt content of seaweed will put them off venturing through it, even if there is food on the other side. Place the seaweed powder or fresh seaweed around your plants to ward slugs off. In dry weather, fresh seaweed will dry out and become rough, further deterring slugs from crossing it.

Natural Slug Deterrents

Last Resorts

If all your efforts have failed, and slugs are still a problem, there are a few ways you can extinguish slugs you see in your garden. Be wary that doing this will affect the natural biological cycle of your garden and its delicate ecosystem, so it is only to be used as a very last resort.

Natural Slug Deterrents

Grapefruit

Slugs are attracted to citrus. Leaving grapefruit halves around your garden and leaving overnight will attract slugs, and they will take shelter under the skin. In the morning, collect up the slugs and dispose of them in the compost heap.

Natural Slug Deterrents

Beer Trap

Slugs love the smell of beer. Take a small container, such as an old tuna tin and fill it with beer. Slugs will take a sip and end up falling in and drowning. Be sure to place the container above ground, as otherwise it will kill other wildlife such as ground beetles, which are actually a predator of slugs. Although this method is effective, it will only trap slugs within a few feet of the beer, so a lot of beer traps are needed.

Natural Slug Deterrents

Overall, there are numerous natural slug deterrents available for you to try. If you try any of the above, be sure to let us know in the comments!

Megan at PrimroseMegan works in the Primrose marketing team. When she is not at her desk you will find her half way up a hill in the Chilterns
or enjoying the latest thriller series on Netflix. Megan also enjoys cooking vegetarian feasts with veggies from her auntie’s vegetable garden.

See all of Megan’s posts.

Animals, Megan, Mice & Rats, Organic, Pest Control

Rats are considered vermin by the majority of people, so it’s no wonder they are one of the most hated of garden pests. This is mostly down to their ability to spread potentially disease – and those creepy long tails.

As rats are nocturnal, you are unlikely to see them in the day. If a rat has taken shelter in your garden, however, there are some tell-tale signs you may discover:

  • Runs and tunnels against garden walls and fences
  • Rat droppings
  • Gnawed wood

To find out how to deter rats naturally from your garden, read on.

How to Deter Rats Naturally

Why Go Natural?

The most common way to get rid of rats from gardens is the use of rat poison and traps.

Rat poison is toxic and may pose danger to wildlife, pets and humans. High levels of rat poison have been found in wildlife higher up the food chain, including red kites which are near threatened species. 

Additionally, neither traps or poisons are sustainable ways to deter rats from your garden. Both merely get rid of them. If you want a sustainable and natural way to deter rats, prevention is the best answer to deter rats naturally.

Remove Food Sources

Rats are attracted to gardens because they  contain bountiful food sources. There are a number of steps you can take to ensure your garden doesn’t become, or stops being, so attractive to rats.

Compost bins are a treasure trove to rats. Ensure your compost bin is secure (invest in an above-ground compost bin with a lid) and move it away from possible routes of access, such as fences and walls. You can find out more about pest-proofing your compost bin here.

If you love feeding the birds, there’s a good chance rats may be getting into your bird see and nuts. A squirrel-proof bird feeder will block off rats, and using no-mess seed mix will ensure there is no discarded food left on the floor that may attract rats.

Ensure you collect fallen fruit from your fruit trees soon after it falls, otherwise rats may start to feast on your harvest. Store them somewhere secure where rats will not be able to access them.

How to Deter Rats Naturally

Block Off Potential Shelter

Rats make home under existing structures, such as garden buildings and decking. To prevent this, block entry to areas beneath these – no matter how narrow the space. Before you do this, ensure there are no rats living underneath the structure you are blocking off, as they will die an unpleasant death.

Have a general clear up in your garden, getting rid of any debris and cutting back overgrown vegetation. This will provide rats with less cover. Keep your grass short. You can also take this opportunity to move things around in your garden. Rats are neo-phobic, and this disruption of their territory will confuse them and encourage them to make home elsewhere.

How to Deter Rats Naturally

Natural Deterrents

Essential Oils

Rats have one of the best senses of smell in the animal kingdom, trumping that of dogs.When used in concentration, essential oils can do wonders in deterring rats from your garden due to their potency.

Peppermint oil, citronella and eucalyptus essential oils in their pure form are all smells that rats will dislike. A few drops of these oils in their pure form around the areas you know the rats have been should do the trick. Alternatively, soak cotton wool in essential oil and place in rat traffic areas.

How to Deter Rats Naturally

Hot Pepper

Similarly to essential oils, rats high sense of smells means they can’t stand hot pepper or anything very spicy. To make homemade natural rat repellent spray:

  1. Mix cayenne pepper or chilli flakes with water
  2. Heat the mixture vigorously to infuse the chilli
  3. Allow to cool – the longer you leave it, the more potent the chilli will be
  4. If you used chilli flakes, sieve them out
  5. Add a little castille soap (which is biodegradable)
  6. Pour into a spray bottle
  7. Apply liberally to areas where their is evidence of rats

This spray also deters other pests, such as squirrels and rabbits.

How to Deter Rats Naturally

There are many different ways to deter rats from your garden without resorting to toxic rat poison or inhumane rat traps. If you try any of these methods, let us know in the comments!

Megan at PrimroseMegan works in the Primrose marketing team. When she is not at her desk you will find her half way up a hill in the Chilterns
or enjoying the latest thriller series on Netflix. Megan also enjoys cooking vegetarian feasts with veggies from her auntie’s vegetable garden.

See all of Megan’s posts.

Animals, Conservation, Insects, Megan, Wildlife

On the whole, people hate wasps. Unlike their furry cousins, bees, they tend to be swatted away and squashed a lot more, the poor things. But wasps are widely misunderstood creatures. Similarly to bees, wasps have seen a reduction in numbers of 50% in the last 20 years. To find out why we should be protecting wasps as well as bees (yes, really) and how you can help, read on.

Why We Should Be Protection Wasps As Well As Bees

Why Do Wasps Sting?

I know, I know. Most of you will be thinking, why should we protect wasps? They sting people for no reason. So let’s clear on thing up before we get onto why we should be protecting them – that’s not actually true!

Most people get stung by wasps in late summer, when their colonies are beginning to prepare for winter hibernation. During this time, a lot of the wasps die off, and breeding of worker wasps ceases. The remaining worker wasps are left confused and disorientated by these changes – yes, wasps get confused too! In addition, there is also a lack of food as autumn approaches, leaving wasps in further despair.

Imagine that your whole world has changed, you’re starving, then you are approached by a giant flapping around trying to squash you. We would be stressed too! When a wasp feels this stress, it gets hostile and ends up stinging. Wasps are also territorial creatures, so if you approach a nest, you are also likely to get stung.

Why We Should Be Protection Wasps As Well As Bees

Species of Wasp

There are around 20,000 different species of wasp, and most are solitary wasps which don’t sting. The wasp species we are most familiar with in the UK is the Common Wasp. You will frequently see the Common Wasp buzzing about your garden, especially during summer time.

The Common Wasp live in large colonies and build their nests within cavities in houses and roofs. Their nests are constructed from a paper like material, made by the queen chewing on wood.

Why We Should Be Protection Wasps As Well As Bees

Wasps as Predators

Wasps are extremely important to the environment. They are vital predators to pests such as greenflies and caterpillars. Without wasps, the overall insect population would be considerably higher and many a field of crop would be destroyed by disease.

They are viewed as a beneficial insect by many farmers, and are increasingly being used as a natural pest control for crops such as celery and lettuce. The use of wasps as pest control also decreases the need for toxic chemicals that are very damaging to our environment.

Why We Should Be Protection Wasps As Well As Bees

Wasps as Disease-Fighters

Wasps are also protecting you. Many human diseases are spread by insects that are the prey of wasps.

In addition, a study has shown that one species of wasp could help tackle cancer. The venom of the Polybia paulista species of wasp was found to destroy various types of cancerous cells. It is definitely viable that the finding from further study of wasps could be used in cancer treatment in the future.

Why We Should Be Protection Wasps As Well As Bees

Wasps as Pollinators

Although not widely known, wasps are pollinator of many crops and flowers. It is a common misconception that bees are the only pollinators. Some research even shows that wasps are exclusive pollinators for some species of orchid.

Why We Should Be Protection Wasps As Well As Bees

Fig wasps are vital in the pollination of figs. Fig trees depend on wasps to make their seeds and distribute pollen. This partnership is something that has existed for millions of years. It involves the female fig wasp burying itself into the fig, and if the fig is male, laying her eggs. The wasp then dies inside the fig. The eggs left eventually hatch into larvae, burrow out and take the pollen with them. If the fig is female, the female wasp pollinates it then dies inside the fig. But fear not – the fig fruit produces an enzyme that breaks down the body of the wasp completely, so you are not consuming a dead wasp when chomping down on a fig!

Why We Should Be Protection Wasps As Well As Bees

How You Can Help

The first step to helping in the conservation in wasps is to not get rid of them! In general, wasps will not harm you if you do not threaten them. They may land on your skin, however this will be likely to inspect a smell – wasps have a sense a smell that trumps that of a dog. If you stay calm, the wasp will fly off with no bother.

If you find an active nest on the outside of your house, your best bet is to wait for the queen to vacate then fill the nest with soil to prevent it being taken over by another queen.

You can also help conserve the wasp population by decreasing your pesticide and insecticide use. Wasps shouldn’t be considered pests – they are in themselves a form of pest control, so by killing wasps of, you are going to end up with a lot more pests.

Overall, wasps play an important role in our ecosystem and should be considered alongside bees as from a conservation point of view.

Megan at PrimroseMegan works in the Primrose marketing team. When she is not at her desk you will find her half way up a hill in the Chilterns
or enjoying the latest thriller series on Netflix. Megan also enjoys cooking vegetarian feasts with veggies from her auntie’s vegetable garden.

See all of Megan’s posts.