by timrel

December 2, 2021

will mothballs keep birds away

Keeping birds away from your home is easy. Many of the most effective bird deterrents can be made with simple home ingredients.

Can mothballs keep birds away? The short answer is yes. By the end of this guide, you’ll know how to keep your unwanted feathered friends at bay.

Do mothballs bother birds?

Mothballs are balls of chemicals originally designed to kill moths. Mothballs release toxic fumes and have historically been used to prevent moths from making holes in clothes. 

The chemicals found in traditional mothballs have been banned in most countries due to their ability to poison living things. While newer versions of mothballs are safer, using them isn’t advised. Modern mothballs contain chemicals such as transfluthrin, which when inhaled or touched, can cause skin allergies and anxiety. The effects in children and dogs can be even more severe.

Mothballs are an effective bird deterrent because they can cause severe illness or death to birds. Mothballs can be effective in keeping many wildlife types away, including skunks and squirrels. However, given that mothballs pose a serious risk to the health of birds, you should always avoid using them as a deterrent.

Are birds attracted to mothballs?

Birds are attracted to mothballs in the same way that dogs are attracted to tennis balls. All animals enjoy playing, and this is as true for birds as it is for humans. Birds will play with mothballs. Some birds have even been spotted fighting each other for mothballs, or gifting them to other birds. 

The enjoyment that birds experience while playing with mothballs makes this method of bird management even more cruel. The birds' attraction to an item that could kill them is unfortunate and humans should help prevent such items reaching birds.

will mothballs keep birds away

What smell do birds hate?

You can safely deter birds from your garden by using common smells found in items such as essential oils and foods.

Birds dislike the smell of essential oils. Covering important areas with essential oils will prevent birds from getting close. If it’s a vegetable patch you need to protect, essential oils will stop the birds from eating your food. If you want to prevent birds from making a nest in your guttering, essential oils will stop birds from doing that too. 

There are thousands of different essential oils available, with stronger smells being best. Peppermint oil is cheap and highly effective. Be careful if adding this scent near crops because getting essential oils on the edibles could be dangerous for the consumer. 

The smell from essential oils fades quickly, so you’ll need to regularly add more drops to the required area. Essential oils are easy to find and are available in most health stores and refill shops.

Birds dislike the smell of garlic. Putting cloves of garlic around your property will deter birds from nesting. However, because garlic rots, it’s important that you remember to compost old cloves and replace them regularly.

Spraying apple cider vinegar into hard-to-reach areas repels birds. The acid in the vinegar keeps birds at bay. This is the most effective method for protecting crops because apple cider vinegar is safe for humans to consume.

If home solutions aren’t right for you, there are products on the market that have been made especially for the purpose of deterring birds through smell. 

What is the best bird repellent?

The most effective bird repellent available to you at home is cayenne pepper. Create a mixture by adding cayenne pepper to a water base in a spray bottle. Spraying the cayenne pepper mixture is an effective tool to prevent birds nesting.

Putting a scarecrow in your garden is effective too, because it will trick birds into thinking a human is present. Installing a rubber predator repels birds too.

The Bottom Line

Mothballs, while effective, should not be used as a bird deterrent. Mothballs put birds, other wildlife and humans at risk. Using mothballs in your home is risky and potentially fatal. Deterrents should never cause harm to birds and so you should never use mothballs to keep birds away.

Deterring birds with smells is more effective and doesn’t risk killing them. Garlic cloves, peppermint oil and cayenne pepper mixture are all effective bird deterrents.

About the author


I am passionate about health and wellbeing and have writing for over 10 years on the subject. I have a BSc Hons Degree and undertake vigorous research to help people improve their lives and live more a healthy and happy life.

You might also like

April 26, 2022

April 26, 2022

April 26, 2022

April 26, 2022