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home : features : features February 5, 2016

5/10/2013 7:53:00 AM
Ask the contractor: Ways exist to take 'call of wild' out of yard

Sandy Griffis
Yavapai County Contractor’s Association

Q: Recently moving to Prescott from the San Francisco Bay area, our family was so surprised to see so many beautiful deer munching on our plants and lounging around in our back yard. It looks like they have adopted us. Although deer are beautiful animals, is there anything we can do remove the call of the wild from our yard?-Ernie and Yvonne, Williamson Valley

A: Besides yelling "scram," "shoo" and "scat," which more than likely fall on deaf furry ears, and wildly waving your arms in the air, which will run off the deer, but only to have them return, there are deer repellents on the market that can work. These repellents discourage visits to yards using not so friendly smells and offer a bad taste if munched on. The deer get the message after awhile and will leave your yard and your plants alone.

There are "bad taste" repellents on the market. Some are a mixture of nontoxic concentrated bitter-tasting items like garlic and pepper, and there are other bad-tasting repellents that taste like mouth-scorching hot peppers. If you use the bad-taste repellent, be cautious of sprinkling this product on your fruits and veggies, as they will pick up the taste. There are "bad-smelling" repellents that are made up predator urines, and I have also heard there is a product that smells like rotting meat.

On the positive side, you must have a beautiful and bountiful yard, and that is why these critters are visiting you. There must be plenty of good munching material available. Deer and other foragers have food preferences, and YCCA has available a list of plants and ground covers that are not at all interesting for wild animal munching because they do not offer taste, they are not nutritious and they are difficult to eat, however they do offer yard appeal and beauty.

Q: We recently purchased a foreclosure that has been sitting vacant for quite some time. You can imagine the bugs, creepy crawlers, spiders and roaches. Besides hiring a pest professional, what can we do? Tom and Lilly, Prescott Valley

A: Integrated pest management is probably the best and most reliable way of removing pests from one's home, and this is a process that does not just blast pests with poisons but uses a strategy to control the pests. Orkin Pest Control and Truly Nolen both use integrated pest management for prevention. There are conventional pest treatments as in the do-it-yourself step using self spray of pesticides. Keep in mind this is a short-term control and does not stop or eliminate how the pests enter your home and/or control their reproductive environments. Also, as the do-it-yourself pest control, you may not be aware of existing infestations and where they are coming from. Before moving into your new home, you should clean and that would be meticulously clean your kitchen and bath. Wipe down all cupboards, clean behind stoves and refrigerators, under the sinks and pantries and then spray your home with a store-purchased product before moving anything into the home. Whenever food and water are easy to find, bugs will invite themselves to breakfast, lunch or dinner. As a word of caution, any pesticide can be dangerous if mishandled, so use caution.

As a reminder, if anyone is using professional pest control services, you should make sure the company and all of its operators are licensed through the Office of Pest Management. The website is

Yavapai County Contractors Association (YCCA) is a professional association representing licensed, bonded and insured contractors, suppliers, distributors and business entities. Call YCCA for information on hiring a contractor at 778-0040. Submit questions to or through

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Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, May 11, 2013
Article comment by: C N

Hey Wild at Heart...such a welcoming, caring comment to someone who asked a legitimate question! Geez...why not make an effort to get to know a new neighbor? You might find that you actually have something in common! An acquaintance once told me that the Prescott area is "laid back"...what a joke. You are entitled to your opinion, and sometimes if you open your mind just a little, some enlightenment may creep in. New people are moving to this area every day so you might as well get over your bad will live a happier life.

Posted: Friday, May 10, 2013
Article comment by: Wild At Heart

"Recently moving to Prescott from the San Francisco Bay..."

Or, you could go back.

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