Asked August 17, 2016, 2:33 PM EDT
We have a Black Tail Praire Dog town near our house. I have read your articles and others about how to get rid of them. I am very concerned about harming other birds and animals. We would just like to keep them away from our house and not exterminating the entire town.
Is there anything I can do that will dissuade them? How about moth balls, cayenne pepper spray or I heard a old wife's tail about bubble gum?
Yellowstone County Montana
Thanks for your question about ways to control black-tailed prairie dogs. I have attached the most up to date information I have about controlling black-tailed prairie dogs in Montana. The bulletin is published by the Montana Dept of Agriculture.
I believe the two best methods for controlling prairie dogs near a house are Conibear traps or aluminum phosphide tablets. However, both methods have limitations. First, aluminum phosphide can't be used in residential areas, only near homes on agricultural lands. And aluminum phosphide tablets cannot be used within 100 feet of buildings that might be occupied by humans, such as homes and barns.
For the areas within 100 feet of buildings, the Conibear traps are a good option. The big drawback, however, is that dogs, cats, other pets, or children need to be kept away from the traps.
Moth balls will also help dissuade prairie dogs, but again, care is needed to make sure pets and children do not eat the moth balls.
I have not had any success with cayenne pepper or bubble gum.