Would these 6 tricks deter nuisance wildlife?

A plastic decoy owl in a yard By PrairieEyes/Shutterstock

Deterring nuisance wildlife and cottage pests can take a lot of patience and persistence. But who has time for that? So, would these six moves of trickery work? Would they successfully outsmart or out-annoy cottage critters, or are they likely to fail? We asked the experts.

1. Ultrasonic sound generators

Goal To annoy cottage critters so much that they move out of your attic (or walls or shed or boathouse).

Likelihood of failure = High

At least according to every wildlife control expert that we’ve ever talked to. “It’ll drive dogs, cats, and people nuts,” says Mike Webb, the owner of West Coast Problem Wildlife Management on Vancouver Island. But in most cases, “wildlife won’t give a rip.”

2. Imitation wasps’ nest

Goal To dissuade wasps from building their own nest nearby.

Likelihood of failure = Medium

It can work, but not always—it’s a myth that wasps will never build nests close to each other.

3. Owl decoy

Goal To frighten geese (or other waterfowl) from gathering on your dock.

Likelihood of failure = High

They’ll quickly figure out that there are no consequences to a bird of prey that does absolutely nothing except sway in the breeze.

4. Non-stop loud music

Goal To evict nuisance mammals.

Likelihood of failure = Medium

It’s worth trying—we’d move if, say, our neighbour played “Edamame” 24/7. But lots of denning mammals probably won’t.

5. Fake “attacking” predators that move up and down on a string

Goal To discourage woodpeckers from drumming on the cottage.

Likelihood of failure = Low

The Birds-Away Attack Spider and similar products get our experts’ stamp of approval. Birds aren’t arachnophobic, but “something that mimics a sit-and-wait predator would be more effective than any motionless decoy,” says Doug Tozer of Birds Canada.

6. Pet dog or cat

Goal To keep mice or other rodents from even considering moving in.

Likelihood of failure = Medium-Low

The very presence of a cat or dog can help deter mice (and hey, you’d get a pet out of the deal)! But a loose snake would probably work better.

This article was originally published in the March/April 2022 issue of Cottage Life.