Natural Ways To Get Rid Of Critters And DIY Woodpecker Deterrent Project

CritterI have a house in the “country” – it’s really the suburbs but does back up to some woods. A great get away.

A chance to enjoy nature and everything that comes with it – and I do mean EVERYTHING.


Deer. Aww they are so cute right? Not when they are eating all your landscaping.

Chipmunks. Chip and Dale is not what comes to mind when they are digging holes under your patio.

Mice. I actually don’t know anyone that likes mice.

Woodpeckers. It’s not Woody the Woodpecker and no one is laughing when they drill holes on the side of your house.

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I have had to deal with all of these creatures, not to mention groundhogs, and one summer I had a colony of wasps living in the wall of my house! It’s important to realize you are not alone when dealing with these uninvited guests. Here’s a few tips I’ve learned from my own experiences.

Before you call out any of the pest removal services, you may want to try some more natural/organic deterrents.

Deer – Choose landscape plantings that deer stay away from. There are many to choose from these days and usually the tag on the plant at yoru local nursery will clearly mark which will not become candy for your local deer population.

A good rule of thumb? Anything that blooms yellow. Daffodils are a great choice and a perfect signal of Spring. For some reason the deer steer clear of this color. A barberry bush is a thorny yet effective way to have beautiful shrubs.

Chipmunks – put a mixture of black pepper and cayenne around the entrance to the holes they have dug. There is a product called “Critter Ridder” which is already mixed and can be shaken out where needed.

Mice – Be sure to take a walk around your house and look for any place a mouse can squeeze his way inside. These pests need only a hole the size of a pencil to get in, so think small. Fill them with aluminum foil, steel wool, or spray foam.

Some people have recommended cotton balls soaked in lavender or peppermint oil to deter mice inside. The good news is – they smell wonderful to us( not so much to the mice) and will be relaxing, but I haven’t found it to be effective. The best choice of course is a good “mouser” cat – who will also be good company as a pet…but if a pet doesn’t make sense (and btw do not get a pet just to chase mice) you will truly need to resort to the tried and true – mousetraps.

It’s amazing how non squeamish you can quickly become as you cut down on the mice population. The best bait? Sunflower seeds (unshelled). Wedge them into the bait area. Since the mouse will have to work harder to get it out – it’s more likely to trigger the snap. I spent too much time re-baiting traps where the mice had licked off peanut butter. Now I use sunflower seeds exclusively.



Woodpeckers – These sweet little birds can cause some amazing damage.  You’ll find them mostly in the Spring and Fall as they “peck” to attract mates, mark territory, AND of course look for little bugs or sap to eat.

We had a woodpecker really make a mess of the back side out our house.  It looked like we’d been involved in target practice.  Repairs and painting were VERY costly so I needed a way to dissuade our feathered friend(s) from making a return.

After a good amount of reading, I decided upon making  holographic reflectors – the movement and light scares these protected birds .  It’s easy to do and the bonus is they really look fun and the light bouncing around is neat too.


You’ll need:


  •  8-10 CDs for each string – easy to find at garage sales, Thrift stores, maybe you have some in your basement or attic no longer being used.
  • Good Nylon string – you’ll need a string that is all weather and can stand up to some rubbing as the CDs move in the wind.
  • Something to attach to your house – I used a binder clip which was then clipped on to our gutters on all corners of the house.
  • Scissors


Cut a length of string about as long as your arm.

Put 2 CDs with the printed sides together so you have double the holographic effect.

Put string through the hole and run it so it is at the halfway point. Then knot.

knot at the top Blissfully Domestic

Add the next pair of CDs, weaving in one side, out the other making two opposites . Knot at top.

weave string Blissfully Domestic

Repeat until you have 5 pairs of CDs then knot at top.

Tie string to the “arm” of the binder clip so you can clip it onto your gutter or elsewhere as needed.

tie on clip

Don’t these look great????


Several Strings Blissfully Domestic


So far they seem to be working.  Fingers crossed our woodpecker friends find a new place to make holes this year!


What do you use to deter critters?  Tell us!


What do you think?