Working to keep critters away the electronic way

In the Garden with Mr. Bee

July 08, 2011|By Lou

It's a sorry state of affairs when birds perch on a scarecrow.

But that's precisely what happens when birds become too familiar with a scarecrow that isn't periodically relocated or replaced by a different scarecrow.

Still, have you ever heard of an animal repeller that attracts birds?

It's strange, yet true. A robin was so attracted to the red light-emitting diode on our YardGuard Silent Animal Repeller, it relentlessly pecked at the LED, presumably trying to eat it. I was surprised, because birds typically shy away from shiny objects.

In all fairness to the manufacturer, though, nowhere was it stated that the repeller was a scarecrow, an object that scares birds. I just assumed that an animal repeller would repel birds, too.

The repeller does, however, do a good job causing animal pests to keep their distance. The YardGuard Silent Animal Repeller emits a sound undetectable by humans that startles animals passing within its 35-foot-by-70-foot motion-detection perimeter.

Retailing for between $40 and $60, it can be operated indoors or outdoors and can be powered by standard batteries as well as rechargeable solar-powered batteries.

I knew the noiseless repeller was working when a rabbit ran from it as soon as I pointed its motion detector in the rabbit's direction. Plus, its LED lit.

At night, the red LED supposedly frightens animal pests that might mistake the light for a predator's eyes.

I do realize, of course, many types of birds are attracted to red fruits and berries, and maybe the red LED looks too much like a ripe cherry. So I'll continue to use the animal repeller as an animal repeller — not as a scarecrow — and I won't be purchasing red-colored scarecrows anytime soon.

This week in the garden

There's an easy way to determine if an expired package of seeds contains seeds that will still germinate.

Simply roll-up as many seeds as you can spare within a wet paper towel. Keep the towel moist.

Then check it once a week for sprouts to determine a germination rate.

Lou Boulmetis is a certified master gardener who lives in Littlestown, Pa. Call him at 1-888-727-4287, or email

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