Stinky…Stanky…Skunky…Skunks Under Your Deck

Skunks Under Your DeckWhen I think of a fluffy, black skunk with a strip of white zipping down from tip to tail, I think of the ever-famous Pepé le Pew cartoon. This charming skunk, Pepé, with his French accent, charming and stinks it up with the love of his life…Penelope. She is lucky to be the object of his affections, and uses a romantic paradigm to explain his failures to seduce her. For example, Pepé describes a hammer blow to his head as a form of flirtation rather than rejection. I could really go on and on… and really, just how cute is it when you have a skunk and its family under your deck or digging holes in your lawn? Not so much.

First, let’s discuss why in the world are skunks coming into my yard and digging up my lawn in the first place? Most of the time, skunks are looking for, and clearly have found, a steady food supply, especially insects, such as earthworms and the large, white grubs of the Japanese beetle. Although, you may be successful in removing the offending animal doing the damage, in a short time, another likely will arrive to replace it. As long as reliable food is available, skunks and other animals will continue to utilize it. Thus, necessary to call Summit to provide a more permanent solution that will come with our guarantee.

Skunks are very efficient diggers and will readily dig under any installed fence in a matter of minutes that has not been properly installed by an animal control expert trained to evict skunks from your yard with special fencing and other equipment. At Summit, we have been removing skunks and other wildlife from homes and property since 1991 and use every method that is considered humane to the animals.

Skunks Under Your DeckThere are few methods that are said to be tried and true, to rid your property of skunks that have burrowed in the ground or are under your deck, and are very dangerous according to current EPA guidelines. The active ingredient in mothballs is naphthalene. This chemical is not registered for use as a repellent on skunks, although many people continue to use and recommend it. So, folks… please do not try mothballs. It is ineffective in outdoor applications as a repellent and should never be recommended as such. The only product currently registered under federal standards for use on skunks is the sodium nitrate gas cartridge, used to treat burrows. Because they are considered a combustible device, they can only be used by a licensed animal removal expert, and cannot be used in close proximity to an inhabited dwelling as gas could enter the dwelling and be toxic and hazardous to the inhabitants.

Skunks Under Your DeckThe most effective way to deter skunks and wildlife problems around your lawn is to make it very unattractive to these critters by skunk-proofing around your home. Yep, skunk-proofing. And you thought baby-proofing was hard enough! Walk your property and look for potential sites used for denning, and food sources (e.g., accessible pet food dishes, uncovered garbage cans, unprotected compost piles.) Look beneath raised decks and porches to see if you can find burrow openings there. These are favorite denning locations for skunks and groundhogs, particularly beneath structures having lattice—work or heavy landscaping covering the perimeter—they provide perfect cover and protection from predators. If you find a burrow and it appears fresh, you can check on the occupants by putting down a very thin sprinkling of baking flour around the opening or along any access points to the den. If it is occupied, you can identify the occupant by the tracks left in the flour. If you are worried about getting sprayed, please call Summit Environmental Solutions to walk your property and do an assessment to see if skunks are under the deck or if you have skunks digging in your yard to make a cozy den for the winter. If you need help identifying the paw prints, give Summit a call.

Regarding trapping, in the Commonwealth of Virginia, there are regulations stipulating the size trap needed for skunks and that traps must be checked at least once every 24-hours. A person trapping the skunks must be licensed, bonded, and insured like our experts at Summit. Additionally, the relocation of skunks and other nuisance animals in Virginia is illegal without authorized permitsfrom the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. Thus, homeowners are not allowed to transport any wild animal from their property. Skunks and other nuisance animals caught must be released at the site of capture or humanely put to death. Relocation is not as humane as people believe. A high percentage of relocated skunks and other animals die during encounters with predators, motor vehicles, and other individuals of the same species as the displaced skunk tries to return to the “home” territory. People also may be contributing (unknowingly) to the spread of infectious disease (e.g., rabies, distemper, parvovirus) by moving skunks from contaminated areas to presently uninfected regions. Additionally, homeowners expose themselves to these diseases and are bitten or scratched when attempting to relocate skunks and other nuisance animals.

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