It’s Illegal to Use Mothballs as Animal Repellents

By Chris Williams on May 19, 2016.

When we visit homes to remove squirrels, birds, bats, or other nuisance animals in attics, we often find that the homeowner has thrown mothballs into the attic space in an attempt to repel the intruders. That’s not a good decision in more ways than one.

Not many people know that mothballs are pesticides and are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) just like any other pesticide. Using mothballs in a way not specified by the product’s label is not only illegal, but can harm others and the environment. There are no moth protectant products that are labeled for use as animal repellents and there are no moth protectant products that can legally be scattered in the open in a home.

Mothballs Are Classified as Toxic Fumigants

Mothballs, or related moth crystals, moth flakes, or moth cakes contain the chemicals naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene. They are technically fumigants that give off vapors that can be harmful to people and pets if used improperly. The product label specifies that mothballs are to be placed only in tightly-closed containers to protect fabrics from clothes moths or carpet beetles. Mothballs and related products should never be used in open spaces and especially not in living spaces where people can breathe them in. If enough mothballs are placed in an attic, and depending on the air exchange in the home, vapors could affect a child sleeping in an upstairs bedroom.

Call a Wildlife Removal and Control Specialist Instead

Finally, placing mothballs or moth crystals in your attic probably won’t keep determined animals from nesting there anyway (see Don’t Use Mothballs to Repel Nuisance Animals). A female squirrel will move into an attic when preparing to give birth and once she has established her nest there, it will be very difficult to get her to move on. Once her young are born, displacing her with repellents will be virtually impossible.

At Colonial Pest, we have a well-established nuisance animal removal program; we’ve been doing it for more than 30 years. Our specialists can humanely remove animals from your attic and seal up openings. You can breathe easier knowing you are not fumigating your home and your family. If you have squirrels or other wildlife invading your home, give Colonial Pest a call for professional problem solving.



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