The Storage Pesticide That Can Send Skunks Running From Your Yard

Skunks can be one of the more dreaded mammals to invade your yard. Though rats and mice certainly rank high among them, skunks can spray you, your pets, and your belongings with a sickening scent. However, you can easily deter skunks and keep them away from your garden with a few mothballs.

Besides the spray that skunks emit, there are other valid reasons for trying to keep skunks away from your yard. Though they aren't typically confrontational and won't attack you, other than with their defensive spray, skunks can carry rabies. A rabid animal often becomes aggressive when the disease affects their brain (via The Humane Society). 

In addition, skunks can also harbor salmonella and distemper, which can be passed on to pets. They may also carry fleas and ticks, and these parasites can end up on you, your pets, and in your home. Consequently, it's important to detract skunks from hanging around your home.

How to use mothballs to deter skunks and precautions

To scare skunks off your premises, simply lay out a few mothballs in areas where you have seen them or suspect they may loiter. Mothballs contain naphthalene, which accounts for their strong smell. Skunks detest the strong smell of mothballs. They will avoid staying in areas where they can pick up the scent.

However, you'll need to take some precautions since the chemicals in mothballs are toxic to humans and pets, one important reason it's not safe to use mothballs in your closet. Don't leave mothballs out where the smell can be brought back into the home. Avoid placing them where you have plants that bear fruit or have leaves you eat because they can potentially pick up the smell of mothballs and the chemicals given off.

Be careful to avoid leaving mothballs in areas where your pets can get to them. While dogs are more likely to eat mothballs, cats are more sensitive to them (via Kingsbrook Animal Hospital). Mothball poisoning in animals can result in kidney and liver damage. While the scent is enough to deter skunks, you may want to keep the mothballs housed in a container with holes so your children and pets can't accidentally ingest them, as well as any cats or dogs that may wander into your yard.