Warm weather means it’s the time of year when snakes are active, emerging in search of food and to bask in the sunlight for warmth. Although most snakes you encounter are nonvenomous, there are a few venomous snakes in Georgia. While many people may not enjoy running into a snake near their home, they can be quite beneficial to have around. Snakes eat other problematic pests that commonly infest your home, such as rodents, making them a natural form of pest control. If the thought of a snake sharing your space still makes you uneasy, try these DIY snake repellent methods to keep your yard snake free.
A frequent ingredient in many commercial snake repellent products is napthalene. It is one of the most widely used repellents. If you don’t want to buy a commercial product, napthalene is the major component of moth balls. The odor of napthalene annoys snakes but does not kill them. Mothballs should be placed in any holes, gaps, or crevices on your property where snakes could be an issue. If moth balls are consumed, they can be toxic and dangerous to children or pets, so use caution or avoid using them if you have pets or children in your home.
Powdered sulfur is an excellent snake repellent. If you sprinkle powdered sulfur around your home and property, snakes will avoid it since it bothers their skin. Because sulfur has a strong odor, wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth when applying it.
Clove and Cinnamon
Clove and cinnamon essential oils are powerful snake repellents. For best efficacy, combine these ingredients in a spray bottle and spray directly on snakes. Caution is advised because snakes frequently run in the opposite direction of the spray. This mixture can also be used as a fumigant in a diffuser.
Garlic and Onions
Garlic and onions contain sulfonic acid, which repels snakes (the same chemical that makes us cry when we slice onions). For maximum effectiveness, combine this with rock salt and sprinkle around your home and yard. Infuse garlic into any essential oil and use to fumigate rafters, basements, and other difficult-to-reach areas.
Because snakes dislike the odor of ammonia, spraying it over any frequented locations is one alternative. Another approach is to soak a rag in ammonia and place it in an open bag near snake-infested areas to keep them away.
Vinegar repels snakes near bodies of water, particularly swimming pools. For a natural snake deterrent, pour white vinegar around the perimeter of any body of water.
Mix lime with hot pepper or peppermint and sprinkle it around the perimeter of your home or property as a snake deterrent. Snakes dislike the fragrance of the mixture, and the fumes irritate their skin.
Eliminate Food Sources
Snakes consume rodents, frogs, birds, moles, voles, insects, and even fish. If these food sources are removed, the snakes will move on in search of another source.
Remove Hiding Spots
Inspect the exterior of your home and property carefully and repair any cracks or holes you find. Repair any gutters, plumbing, or ventilation ducts that are damaged. Repair or replace any damaged window and door screens. Snakes will also seek refuge in wood piles and garbage piles. Store firewood in sealed, lockable wood boxes if possible. Remove any heaps of wood chip mulch, straw mulch, leaves, or other debris that may have accumulated on your land.
Garden on a regular basis to remove any snake attractants such as debris, holes, and overgrowth. Keep the grass short to eliminate snake hiding areas. Install snake-proof fencing consisting of steel mesh, plastic sheeting, or a capture net. If you do put up fencing, make sure it is flush with the ground, oriented outward, and at least 3 feet high and 4 feet deep. You can also use things that snakes find difficult to slither over, such as holly leaves, pine cones, egg shells, and gravel. Planting snake repellent plants, which provide a natural deterrent, is another option. Marigolds, lemongrass, and wormwood are some typical examples.
If these DIY methods aren’t working or you just feel more comfortable with professional help, contact your local pest control company for a quote on snake removal services.
As the season shifts from summer to early fall, cooler weather is around the corner. Many pests begin the hustle and bustle of preparing for winter – scavenging and storing food, finding a place to hibernate, or making their way into your home to overwinter. This time of year sees an increase in one pest in particular – snakes! Fall is a time for high snake activity and encounters with humans become more common.
There are many reasons snake control is important in the fall. As the leaves begin to change colors to red, orange, and brown and fall to the ground, they provide the ideal camouflage for snakes. Fall is also the time snakes begin to prepare for brumation and/or hibernation. Most snake species breed in the spring and eggs are hatched by the time autumn rolls around. These juvenile snakes are curious and more likely to be seen by humans. There are 6 venomous snake species in the southeastern United States and each of them actually breed in the fall. This means this time of year males will be actively seeking females to breed with, increasing your chance of an encounter with them. Overdevelopment in many areas has also depleted the natural habitats of many snakes, also increasing their chances of encounters with humans.
Because we see such an increase in snake activity during the fall, snake control becomes much more important. Here are some of our favorite snake prevention tips you can utilize this snake season.
- Familiarize Yourself. Identifying snakes is critical to avoiding and preventing them. Do some research and find out which snakes are common in your area, what they look like, and where to find them. Identify any areas you spend time in outdoors that could potentially house snakes and try to avoid them.
- Be Aware. Be aware of your surrounding when spending time outdoors. Look down when walking and check overhead when in wooded areas. Try to spot snakes before you walk right up on them.
- Avoid Habitats. Snakes like to hide in areas that provide them protection and coverage from predators. They can often be found in tall grass, overgrowth, on or under large rocks, rock piles, and wood piles. If you have to walk through these areas, keep your feet and legs protected, keep your eyes open
- Walk With Confidence. Snakes don’t have ears so they can’t actually hear you coming but they do respond to vibrations in the ground and can feel you coming before they actually see you. When walking outdoors walk with strong, confident steps and make your presence known.
- Cover Up. If you choose to spend time outdoors, make sure to wear closed-toe shoes and long pants if possible. Try to avoid sandals and flip flops as they leave your feet and toes exposed to potential snakebites.
- Look Up. Some types of snakes can actually climb trees and will even use overlapping branches to move from tree to tree without ever touching the ground. When walking or boating through wooded areas make sure to look up and keep an eye out for overhead snakes.
- Clean Up. Making your home and yard less inviting to snakes will help keep them from coming in. Seal any cracks and crevices on the outside of your home to keep snakes out in search of warmth and food. Remove any debris and clutter from your yard and garage. Keep woodpiles elevated and stored away from your home. Clear any overgrowth from your yard.
- Use snake repellent. There are many commercial snake repellent products on the market today. If you prefer a more green snake control option, there are also natural snake repellents you can make at home. Choose whichever option works best for you.
- Call the Pros. Snake control can be a daunting task. If you have a problem with snakes around your home, contact your local pest control company who can help identify what type of snake you are dealing with and help safely and humanely get them away from your property.
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While most snakes you encounter are harmless, many of us still don’t want to come across one in our yard or home. While our first instinct may be to run, most snakes are actually beneficial to have around – they help keep other pest populations under control (rodents, frogs, etc.).
Snakes will come into your yard in search of 2 things: shelter and food. Snakes will seek out shelter to have a place to rest, breed, and hunt. Common places snakes are found include overgrown grass, dense brush or shrubs, leaf piles, rock piles, compost, or areas with moisture like underneath bird baths, around leaky faucets and hoses, or near ponds or swimming pools. Snakes will also come looking for food. Snakes love to eat rodents, moles, frogs, fish, snails/slugs, and other small insects.
If you prefer not to encounter snakes around your home, here are 7 natural ways you can keep snakes away.
Get Rid of Food Sources
Snakes will come around looking for food so if your home provides them with that, you’ll be more likely to encounter them. Getting rid of these food sources will encourage snakes to move along in search of something to eat. Make sure common pests that snakes like to eat are kept under control. Scheduling routine pest control can help with this.
Get Rid of Water
Snakes are also attracted to areas with a lot of moisture. Eliminate standing water in your yard where possible. Repair leaky faucets and replace leaky hoses. Keep pools, ponds, and other water features maintained. If using sprinklers, make sure they are running in the morning so the water has time to soak in or evaporate before it gets dark. This helps keep soil in your yard from being too wet.
Get Rid of Hiding Spots
Snakes will look for places around your home to hide so they can breed and rest. Get rid of coiled hoses or use hose boxes. Avoid using rock piles in your landscaping, if possible. Store firewood in boxes or elevate it when possible. Keep your grass mowed and dense brush cleared out. Seal off or add fencing to any open areas under sheds or other buildings. If you are using snake-proof fencing, make sure it is made of steel mesh or plastic sheeting, it is at least 3 feet high and 4 feet deep, it is flush with the ground, and it is angled outward.
Use Snake-Repelling Plants
Some plants are known to repel snakes. Try to incorporate these plants into your landscape design where possible. Common snake-repelling plants include marigolds, lemongrass, Mother-in-Law’s tongue, wormwood, onion, and garlic.
Fill In Burrows
Gophers, moles, and voles dig burrows across your yard. Once they’ve been eliminated, these old gopher holes and burrows can remain on your property. Snakes will commonly use them for shelter as they provide a great place for them to hide, rest, and breed. Fill in any of these holes and burrows with dirt or gravel. This will help deter snakes from using them.
Use Natural Predators
Snakes have a few natural predators that can help keep them away. Common snake predators include cats, raccoons, pigs, turkeys, guinea hens, and foxes. Keeping any of these animals around your home will help deter snakes from coming near. You can also buy fox urine and sprinkle it around your property to help deter snakes, as well.
Use Natural Repellents
There are several natural products that are known to repel snakes. These natural snake repellents can be used around the perimeter of your property, around pools, along the edges of ponds, and anywhere else you have noticed snake activity.
- Ammonia. Ammonia is especially effective around pools and ponds. Soak rags in ammonia and put them in unsealed plastic bags. Place the bags around pools and ponds to help keep snakes out. For best results, change them out daily.
- Naphthalene. Naphthalene is commonly found in many commercial snake repellent products. It can also be bought in pure form and used around your property.
- Sulfur. Sulfur offers twofold irritation to snakes. It puts off an odor that snakes dislike; it also irritates their skin. You can use sulfur around the perimeter of your property or anywhere snakes have been spotted. It’s best to use gloves as it can also irritate human skin, as well.
- Clove and cinnamon oil. These two natural ingredients work best when combined together to repel snakes. Mix them together in a spray bottle and spray anywhere snakes have been seen.
- Garlic and onions. Garlic and onions not only work when planted in your yard, but they also work as a natural snake repellent product as they both contain sulfonic acid which is known to repel snakes. Chop up both garlic and onions and mix them with rock salt. Sprinkle the mixture around your yard to repel snakes.
- Vinegar. Standard vinegar is an effective snake repellent around water sources. No dilution is necessary. Pour standard white vinegar around the edges of ponds and pools for snake deterrence.
- Lime. Lime is effective when mixed with hot pepper or peppermint oil. Mix these together in a glass bottle and apply around the perimeter of your yard.
Despite our best efforts, snakes can still make their way into our yards and homes. If you have a problem with snakes, contact your local pest control company who specializes in snake removal who can help you properly identify the type of snake you have (venomous vs nonvenomous) and help safely and humanely remove it from your property.
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Although many people don’t welcome the sight of a snake in their yard, they are actually quite beneficial to have around. Snakes eat mice, grubs, slugs, and other insects around your home and are also a source of food for birds of prey like hawks. While most species of snakes are non-venomous, there are a few types of snakes that are venomous in our area. For this reason, you should never handle a snake unless you are 100% sure you know what species it is. Most snakes will bite when harassed whether they are venomous or not.
There are many natural snake repellent methods out there today with one of the most common being mothballs. But are they really effective? According to experts at the Blue Ridge Poison Center the answer is a resounding NO. Mothballs are made of either naphthalene or paradicholorbenzene. Both of these chemicals are hazardous to both humans and animals if exposed to or ingested. The chemical makeup of each of these substances allow them to turn into gas when they are exposed to the air – resulting in the strong smell we usually associate with mothballs. These fumes can cause dizziness and irritation to the eyes and the lungs. If ingested, mothballs can cause a condition called hemolytic anemia which is very dangerous. Mothballs also resemble candy to young children, making them more likely to pick them up and handle or eat them.
So if mothballs aren’t the answer, how can you get rid of snakes? Here are a few snake prevention tips you can use safely around your home.
- Make your home and yard less attractive to snakes who are looking for food and shelter.
- Remove any food sources such as rodents or other pests.
- Keep pet food sealed in containers.
- Don’t leave pet food out overnight.
- Clean up spilled pet food and birdseed from the ground.
- Don’t overwater your lawn as this can attract worms, frogs, and slugs – another food source for snakes.
- Have your home inspected for rodents and other pests and maintain routine pest control treatments.
- Seal any entries into your crawlspace or basement that are larger than 1/4″.
- Make sure doorsweeps and window screens fit tightly.
- Cover vents and drains that come into the house.
- Keep grass mowed – tall grass and weeds provide more coverage for snakes from predators.
- Clean up any debris snakes can hide under (scarp metal, wood piles, trash, logs, etc.).
- Check the roof for overhanging vegetation – snakes are good climbers and can access your home from the roof.
If you have a problem with snakes or other wildlife, contact your local pest control company who can help identify pest attractants, points of entry, and provide you with safe and humane snake removal services.
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The last thing anyone wants to encounter when spending time outdoors is a snake. In Georgia, there are 46 native species of snakes and only 6 of those are venomous (the copperhead, pigmy rattlesnake, timber rattlesnake, cottonmouth, eastern diamondback rattlesnake, and eastern coral snake). Although they can be quite scary when stumbled upon, they are actually quite beneficial to have around. Snakes are top predators, eating rats, mice, and other small mammals. Some even eat other venomous snakes! There are only an average of 8000 snakebites nationwide each year.
Snakes are most commonly found in backyards, parks, and woodlands. Many species will spend most of their time underground, only coming out to hunt and feed. Larger snakes will often shelter in brush piles or stacks of firewood. Water snakes are usually found in areas that border streams, lakes, swamps, and ponds.
Snake season officially begins in the spring, usually around March or April, and runs through late fall and winter. The end of snake season depends on weather patterns and geographic locations. In southern states with warmer climates, snakes will remain active longer than in northern states when it gets colder sooner.
Because snakes are coldblooded, they are less active in cooler months. Where do snakes go in the winter? Many snakes will go into a state of brumation, which is similar to hibernation but doesn’t require the same amount of sleep. In brumation, snakes will wake to forage for food and water, especially during warm snaps when temperatures increase periodically. Because they use less energy, they can go longer between feedings.
If you encounter a snake, whether outdoors or inside your home, there are a few tips you should keep in mind:
- Familiarize yourself with the venomous snake species common in your area and how to recognize them.
- Try to identify the snake without getting too close to it.
- Give the snake space.
- If spending time outdoors, wear closed-toed shoes and long pants.
- Remove any brush, log piles and other attractants for rodents from around your home.
- Seal up any cracks, gaps, and holes that snakes can use to get into.
- Remember that non-venomous snakes are protected by law in Georgia.
Although snake bites are rare, it’s best to leave handling and removal of snakes to the professionals. If you encounter a snake in or near your property, contact a wildlife control company who can safely and quickly remove the offending snake.
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