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Marie Iannotti

Help, How Can I Deter Armadillos?

By December 3, 2011

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I've gotten several questions about controlling armadillos and I really have no answer for them. I've never gardened in armadillo country. Last week I mentioned using blood meal to deter chipmunks and squirrels, but armadillos are insect eaters and I'm not sure they care about the scent of blood. Have you tried anything thing that actually detered them?

I've heard of using predator urine, ammonia, vinegar and sulfur - all things I'd rather not inhale everytime I walk through my yard. Several people suggested a coating of red pepper, but that's not practical if you have pets. The one that intrigues me is pine needles. Has anyone had success deterring armadillos with the scent of pine?

Photo: Richard Heathcote / Getty Images Sport


December 4, 2011 at 8:44 pm
(1) kenn grey elk says:

the only known 100% waY TO CONTROL THEM is live traps and a 22 rifle. forget the cemicals, peppers and herbs. when these varmits invade, there is no time for tree hugger cures. they will laugh at your kindness and keep on digging.

December 5, 2011 at 4:17 pm
(2) Kat says:

PA—LEASSSSSE!Pine needles??????Yes- they love the smell of pine needles as they dig thru the pine trees looking for bugs to eat….then they head for your garden……and keep on going….the trap and 22 works well, just don’t shoot at close range (it actually bounces off their armor, and they just keep on digging). A really big dog works well, I have found. It is the only thing that works (beside the live trap). But if anyone has a better idea, I’m all ears!

December 5, 2011 at 5:14 pm
(3) Marie Iannotti says:

So, I guess that’s a no for pine needles? ;-)

Thank God for big dogs. Is there anything they don’t do?

December 6, 2011 at 1:10 pm
(4) Sharlene Worley says:

When we first move out to the country we had armadillos, a family of five. We did not know they were there until we planted some sod and after a while we noticed holes in our grass. One night we found out what was going on. We scattered moth balls around the yard and presto they were gone. We do have cats outside, but they stayed far, far away. As bad as moth balls smell everything stays away. Try it, they really do work. We also managed to keep opposums away as well.

December 7, 2011 at 2:06 pm
(5) Sawdusty says:

You could move to Canada :-) We don’t have a problem with armadillos. I think the bears, wolverines, wolves, coyotes, etc keep them in check. On a more serious note, we have problems with many garden raiders ranging from deer (big problem) to skunks, racoons, ground hogs, moles, voles, and others. Many of them are deterred to a greater or lesser extent by odours that are unfamiliar to them, including moth balls (as noted above), marigolds and lavender. I have taken to tying a few white garbage bags (punch a small hole in the bottom to let the rain seep out) with three or four moth balls to the top of sticks. When a breeze blows, the fluttering bags seem to stress the deer but the smell of the moth balls may be doing even more to deter all the pests.

December 7, 2011 at 2:26 pm
(6) murphytx says:

I live in Armadillo and raccoon country apart from the skunks, coyotes, bobcats etc that live around here. There is no way to keep armadillos permanently away. If you trap one, soon another one takes its place. The only thing that deters them is something with strong scent like new cedar mulch. It is not as much as the deterrence but the olfactory counter measure in the cedar mulch or anything else that can play tricks with the armadillo’s sense of smell and ability to find grubs. same thing with raccoons. As soon as the smell wears off, they are back. You’ve got to be at it unfortunately. The other thing that works is get rid of the grubs, which means use strong chemicals. You have to do it at the right time of the year and then follow up with some counter measures. It is a real war with the armadillos and raccoons.

December 7, 2011 at 2:52 pm
(7) dawnwinds58 says:

I am 53, born and bred in Louisiana which has more than its fair share of armadillos. Our cure was eat them. I am not joking. They are clean, eat grubs, bugs, and berries like chickens and ducks, and far far better meat, light, pork-like but leaner. I’ve eaten them all my life. Sadly I now live in Kentucky which I really do love, but they have no armadillos, just ground hogs. That’s no replacement. Get the traps and the .22 rifle then have a great meal.
Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.

December 7, 2011 at 3:11 pm
(8) Paula says:

I live in Louisiana and sorry, I don’t eat them. But I had a problem early this year with them tearing up my garden at night. I tried noise makers, moth ball and pepper sprinkled about. The moth balls worked the best but not for very long. I was told to light up my garden at night and let me tell you I hadn’t seen any signs of one since. A timer would be great but I still just flick them on every night. Try it.


December 7, 2011 at 3:58 pm
(9) matthew miller, jr. says:


December 8, 2011 at 8:11 am
(10) Martha Grove says:

I loved your readers’ comments and suggestions. My husband agrees with the .22 solution as the best option. Incidentally, when we were traveling in Chetumal, Mexico, armadillos were on the menu. We were told that they are considered to be aphrodisiacs. However, we have also heard that they are carriers of leprosy. Is there any truth to either of these, or are they old wives tales?

December 8, 2011 at 2:24 pm
(11) dawnwinds58 says:

Just as some species of monkeys are used to test for cancer since they are suseptible to it, armadillos are one of the few animals that have been found that like a human could catch leprosy. They key test animal for testing to find a cure or vaccine, for Hansen’s Disease, leprosy. There was a colony in Carville, Louisiana. But before you blame them, check your history. There was no leprosy in the new world when it was colonised. We, meaning European and other settlers, gave it to them. It is said around 15% of the armadillo population could be potential carriers. Yet millions of Texas and Louisana residents have eaten armadillo all their lives, as I have. I would guess I’m fine. I have 5 kids, 15 grandchildren, and just turned 53 this past Monday.

But to keep them out of a garden, I’d still bet on my dogs. I have standard Rat Terriers, 20 to 30 lbs each. Not much gets past them. Not much gets past them, not even a Kentucky ground hog. They harry them until the local population put up an “Enter at your own risk” sign. It works for me.

December 10, 2011 at 6:18 am
(12) Marie Iannotti says:

Wow, this conversation has taken some fascinating turns. I’ll have to take a closer look at these little critters.

I think moth ball companies are being kept in business by gardeners. Just be careful where you put them. Remember they are a registered pesticide and can harm curious kids and pets. The best way to use them is to place them out in an enclosed container, like a coffee can with holes punched in the lid or the plastic bag trick that Sawdusty gave above.

October 30, 2013 at 8:27 am
(13) Lorraine says:

We have armadillo here in fl. big time!!!! I spray ammonia around, it seems to keep them at bay.

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