Wild rabbits can quickly cause extensive damage to unprotected yards and gardens. Rabbit fencing is one alternative to keep rabbits away but for most homeowners, it is just not practical or cost-effective to construct a perimeter fence around their entire property. In that case, many turn to rabbit repellents as an alternative.
Commercial pellets and sprays, homemade mixtures and mechanical “scare” methods are all readily-available and will have varying degrees of success but for most homeowners, it is usually a purely economical decision.
At first glance, homemade repellents may appear cheaper than other methods but when all the factors are weighed, commercial repellents quickly make up ground. Here are some things to consider.
Homemade repellents do not last as long as commercial products, plain and simple. Reapplication of some homemade recipes may be needed as often as every two weeks or sooner, especially after watering or a heavy rain. Most commercial products offer protection for as long as 90 days before reapplication is needed.
Many of the ingredients in homemade recipes may appear to be similar to the active ingredients used in many commercial products but in fact, they are not. Most commercial products use ingredients that are difficult for most homeowners to obtain. There are, of course, substitutes that are readily-available but they are not as effective as commercial-grade ingredients.
The ingredients in some homemade remedies can be dangerous to handle. For example, one suggested homemade method circulating the web involves blending three types of hot peppers, including habaneros, into a liquid. The method warns homeowners to wear gloves when preparing the mixture because the habanero is one of the hottest peppers in the world. Getting any part of the pepper on your skin, eyes or mouth will result in a lot of pain. Even the residue left on a cutting board, blender or food processor may be difficult to completely clean, leaving a nasty surprise for the next person to use that appliance.
Most commercial rabbit repellents are USDA-approved, made from natural ingredients and will satisfy even the most finicky organic gardener.
Some recommended homemade remedies may actually harm your garden. One of the methods suggests sprinkling blood meal, the dried blood from a cattle slaughterhouse, around the perimeter of the area you want to protect. You not only must re-apply it often, prolonged use of blood meal can quickly cause a nutrient imbalance in the soil where it is applied.
Another homemade recipe suggests mixing 85 percent raw linseed oil with five percent detergent and 10 percent water, applying it to trees and shrubs with a sprayer or house-painting brush. That doesn’t sound too complicated but the method warns that re-application is needed every time it rains or you water the area.
For many homeowners, time is a valuable asset and the additional cost of a commercial product should not be a factor when compared to the time saved by only needing one or two applications of the product in an entire season, versus every week or two with most homemade methods.
Home remedies may be effective to an extent but when all factors are considered, including cost, time to reapply, and the availability and safety of the ingredients, commercial products are the smart choice for most homeowners. They will provide the highest level of protection for your yard or garden and save you time and money in the long run.