The elusive badger is notorious for its digging capabilities and if one has been to your garden you will surely know about it. Badgers can leave devastation in their wake and can make short work of your lawn or flower bed leaving you to pick up the pieces. Badgers are nocturnal mammals that you will rarely see except unfortunately when they are lying dead by the side of the road but if you are lucky enough to see one, it is best to just watch it and leave it be. If you want to know how to get rid of badgers, you should know that Badgers are protected in the UK and in 1992 the revised Protection of Badgers Act was issued meaning that it is an offence to interfere with badgers or their setts. So if you need to get rid of badgers, you will have to look into one of our solutions below. We are going to have a look at how to stop badgers from digging in your garden.
How to Stop Badgers Digging in Your Garden
As badgers are a protected species, it is always best to seek advice when trying to deter badgers from your garden. If your garden falls in their territory and they need to use your garden to get to/ from its sett, you may not be able to do anything about it.
If, however, the badger is just passing and only foraging food, there are a few harmless ways to deter badgers and make your garden less appealing as there is nothing worse than waking up to a destroyed lawn or terrorised flower bed.
1 – Wire Mesh (Chicken Wire)
Chicken wire (Amazon link – opens in a new tab) is a great badger deterrent as their penchant for bulbs can lead to devastated flower arrangements, turning a blooming garden into a patch of upturned soil.
Why Use Chicken Wire to Stop Badgers Digging in Your Garden?
The primary goal of using chicken wire is to act as a deterrent against badgers. While these creatures are adept at digging, the presence of a wire mesh makes the task cumbersome and less appealing to them.
How to Lay Chicken Wire Badger Deterrent?
To effectively use chicken wire as a deterrent, it’s essential to lay it down correctly. Start by measuring the area of your flower bed or vegetable patch. Cut the chicken wire to size, ensuring a few extra inches on each side for secure anchoring. Before the first shoots of spring emerge, lay the chicken wire over the soil, securing it with garden stakes or weights at regular intervals. This ensures that the wire remains taut and in place, offering maximum protection.
Note: The great thing is that chicken wire doesn’t have to be unsightly, it can easily be hidden in the soil or by mulching.
Benefits of Chicken Wire as a Badger Deterrent
- Unhindered Growth: One of the primary advantages of using chicken wire is that it allows plants to grow without any obstruction. The gaps in the wire are large enough for shoots to come through, ensuring that your garden blooms as intended.
- Effective Deterrent: While badgers are persistent creatures, the presence of chicken wire makes digging a laborious task. The wire acts as a physical barrier, making it difficult for badgers to access the soil and roots beneath. Over time, badgers recognize the obstacle and are likely to search for easier food sources elsewhere.
2 – Natural Scents
Natural scents can be a powerful tool to deter badgers, given their exceptional olfactory abilities. Their acute sense of smell, which surpasses human capabilities by a significant margin, can be both a strength and a weakness.
Why Use Natural Scents to Deter Badgers?
Badgers rely heavily on their sense of smell to navigate, communicate, and most importantly, find food. By introducing strong, repelling scents into your garden, you can create an environment that’s less inviting and even disorienting for them.
How to Create and Apply Natural Badger Repellents?
To harness the power of natural scents against badgers, follow these steps:
- Ingredients: Citronella oil, water, and a spray bottle.
- Method: Mix a few drops of citronella oil with water in a spray bottle. Shake well.
- Application: Spray around the garden, focusing on areas where badgers frequent or where you’ve noticed digging.
Scotch Bonnet Pepper Spray
- Ingredients: Scotch bonnet peppers, water, and a spray bottle.
- Method: Crush the peppers and mix with water. Let it sit for a few hours to infuse. Strain the mixture into a spray bottle.
- Application: Spray around the garden, especially near any entry and exit points. Be cautious while handling and avoid contact with eyes.
Note: It’s essential to reapply the sprays after heavy rain or watering to ensure their effectiveness. Also, always wear gloves when handling scotch bonnet peppers to avoid skin irritation.
Benefits of Using Natural Scents as a Badger Deterrent
- Eco-friendly Solution: Natural scents provide an environmentally friendly way to deter badgers without harming them or other wildlife.
- Cost-effective: Both citronella and scotch bonnet peppers are readily available and can be a cost-effective solution compared to commercial repellents.
- Versatility: These natural repellents can be used in various parts of the garden, from flower beds to vegetable patches, without causing harm to plants.
- Disruption of Badger Behaviour: The strong scents can disrupt badger foraging patterns, making them less likely to return to the treated areas. Over time, this can reduce badger visits to your garden significantly.
3 – Predator Scents
Predator scents can be an extremely potent badger deterrent. The mere hint of a potential threat can keep them at bay, ensuring the safety of your garden.
Why Use Predator Scents to Deter Badgers?
Badgers, like many animals, have evolved to recognize and avoid the scents of predators. Even if the predator isn’t native to their environment, the inherent fear can be enough to deter them.
How to Apply Predator Scents as Badger Deterrents?
- Description: Lion scat, or lion faeces, carries the distinct scent of one of the apex predators of the animal kingdom.
- Method: Purchase pre-soaked pellets (Amazon link – opens in a new tab) that emit the odour of lion scat, indicating a lion has marked the territory.
- Application: Spread the pellets around the garden, especially in areas frequented by badgers.
- Description: While humans aren’t natural predators of badgers, our presence and scent can be intimidating to them.
- Method: Collect male human urine. Ensure it’s diluted before use to reduce its potency and potential offensiveness.
- Application: Sprinkle the diluted urine around the garden, focusing on badger entry and exit points.
Note: Use discretion when applying human urine. It’s essential to ensure it’s sufficiently watered down to avoid upsetting neighbours or causing a strong odour.
Benefits of Using Predator Scents as a Badger Deterrent
- Natural Deterrent: Predator scents offer a natural way to keep badgers away without the need for chemicals or physical barriers.
- Psychological Impact: The mere hint of a predator can deter badgers, making them less likely to venture into your garden.
- Ease of Application: Both lion scat pellets and diluted human urine are easy to apply and can be integrated into regular garden maintenance routines.
- Cost-Effective: Compared to other deterrent methods, predator scents can be a cost-effective solution, especially if using human urine.
4 – Electronic Devices
In the age of technology, ultrasonic devices have emerged as modern solutions to age-old problems, including stopping badgers from digging in your garden.
Why Use Electronic Devices to Deter Badgers?
Electronic devices offer a humane and non-invasive method to deter badgers and other wildlife. These devices emit high-pitched noises, inaudible to humans but uncomfortable for animals, making them less likely to linger in the area.
How to Set Up and Use Electronic Badger Deterrents?
High-Pitched Noise Emitters
- Description: These electronic animal devices (Amazon link – opens in a new tab) are designed to release variable high-pitched sounds that deter wildlife.
- Installation: Place the device in a strategic location in your garden, ensuring it covers the area frequented by badgers. Follow manufacturer guidelines for optimal placement and settings.
Note: Regularly check the device for battery replacements or maintenance needs. Ensure it’s weatherproof or placed in a sheltered location.
Benefits of Using Electronic Devices as a Badger Deterrent
- Humane Method: Electronic devices offer a non-harmful way to deter badgers, ensuring no physical harm comes to the animals.
- Wide Coverage: A single device can cover a significant area of your garden, making it effective for even larger spaces.
- Low Maintenance: Once set up, these devices require minimal maintenance, making them a convenient solution.
- Adaptable: Many devices come with adjustable settings, allowing you to modify the frequency or volume based on your needs or specific animal concerns.
5 – Fake Predators
Using fake predators as a badger deterrent taps into the natural instincts of badgers, leveraging their aversion to potential threats or confrontations.
Why Use Scarers to Deter Badgers?
Badgers, despite being territorial and omnivorous, tend to avoid confrontations with animals that appear to be of equal or larger size. Introducing a perceived threat in the form of a scarer can make badgers reconsider venturing into your garden.
How to Set Up and Use Scarers as Badger Deterrents?
- Description: Lifelike models or statues of predators (Amazon link – opens in a new tab), designed to intimidate or scare away potential garden invaders.
- Installation: Strategically place the scarer in areas of your garden most frequented by badgers. Ensure it’s visible from multiple angles and, if possible, occasionally move its location to create an illusion of movement.
Note: Opt for scarers that are weather-resistant and durable to ensure longevity.
Benefits of Using Scarers as a Badger Deterrent
- Psychological Deterrence: The mere presence of a perceived threat can be enough to deter badgers from entering your garden.
- Eco-friendly: Scarers provide a non-invasive and environmentally friendly solution, requiring no chemicals or physical barriers.
- Low Maintenance: Once installed, scarers need minimal upkeep, making them a hassle-free deterrent option.
- Aesthetic Appeal: Many scarers are designed to be decorative, adding an element of decor to your garden while serving a functional purpose.
6 – Motion-Sensor Lights
Harnessing the element of surprise, motion-sensor lights can be an effective deterrent for creatures of the night, including the cautious badger.
Why Use Motion-Sensor Lights to Deter Badgers?
Badgers, being naturally wary animals, are easily startled by sudden changes in their environment. The abrupt illumination from motion-sensor lights can create an unsettling atmosphere for them, making them think twice before venturing further.
How to Set Up and Use Motion-Sensor Lights as Badger Deterrents?
- Description: Lights equipped with sensors that detect movement and automatically turn on when motion is detected.
- Method: Purchase a reliable motion-sensor light (Amazon link – opens in a new tab) suitable for outdoor use.
- Installation: Install the lights in areas where badger activity is frequent. Ensure the sensors cover key entry and exit points in your garden. Follow manufacturer guidelines for optimal placement and settings.
Note: Regularly check the lights for battery replacements or maintenance. Opt for weatherproof models to ensure durability.
Benefits of Using Motion-Sensor Lights as a Badger Deterrent
- Immediate Response: The lights provide an instant reaction to movement, ensuring badgers are promptly deterred.
- Energy Efficient: Most motion-sensor lights only turn on when movement is detected, conserving energy when not in use.
- Safety: Apart from deterring badgers, these lights can also enhance the security of your property by deterring potential intruders.
- Versatility: These lights can be used to deter other nocturnal animals or pests that might venture into your garden.
Things to Consider When Trying to Keep Badgers Away
There are other things to consider when you are looking to keep badgers away from your garden as they will certainly forage for food in bins or eat food that has been left outside for other animals.
Keep Waste Tidy
Keeping your rubbish or refuse inaccessible is important. Badgers will not think twice about scavenging in your black bags that have been left in the garden ready for collection day. Keep refuse in a wheelie bin or refuse cupboard to prevent your bin bags from being the target of some night-time foraging.
Improve The Quality of Your Lawn
Overnight badgers will tear up lawns looking for grubs and tasty morsels to eat. If you have an abundance of grubs in your lawn, it means that the lawn is probably not that healthy and the badgers are probably doing you a favour as those grubs will eat through the roots of the grass. If you have a well-kept free-draining lawn, there are likely to be fewer grubs and insects because well-drained soil is not ideal for laying eggs.
Another thing that you can do if you think that the badgers are tearing up your lawn foraging for food is to introduce some nematodes. Nematodes will help clean up your lawn and predate the grubs at the larvae stage meaning that there will be less food for the badger to come and find. The good thing is that the nematodes will leave alone the helpful critters such as earthworms.
Remove Food Sources
Never leave cat or dog food outside overnight. Pet food is attractive to many animals that you do not want to visit your garden during the night and the point is to deter animals from your garden, not encourage them. Foxes and badgers for example will soon be coming back night after night to get a nice taste of your pets’ biscuits.
We have covered a few different ways covering how to stop badgers from digging in your garden but do not forget that badgers are protected by law. It is an offence to trap or injure a badger or interfere with their home (sett) so if you have badgers that are causing a nuisance, we recommend contacting your local badger trust or another badger conservation society to help assist you with what to do. We have given you a few different options but please seek advice if you are not sure what to do.
Garden Doctor Tips
“Remember to water down your pee and use a spray bottle on your garden, there is no need to go and take a leak up your garden shed!”
“If you are using a spray deterrent whether that is pee or citronella, ensure to respray after a heavy rainfall to prevent it from washing away!”
“Nematodes are a great natural remedy to clean up your lawn and remove the attraction of grubs that badgers find so tasty!”
“If badgers appear to be building a sett in your garden and you are concerned, you must contact your local badger conservation society immediately. Do Not Interfere with what they are doing as it could get you in trouble!”
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you know if you have badgers in your garden?
Badgers leave behind lots of tell-tale signs. If you have badgers, they will leave a trail of devastation. Badgers will tear up lawns looking for grubs and earthworms to eat and they will also destroy flower beds to eat your prized flower bulbs.
Badgers will also dig a small hole to use as a toilet so if you see a small hole that has been used in this way, you are definitely being visited by badgers.
How do I get rid of badgers in my garden?
There are various ways of getting rid of badgers and preventing them from coming to your garden in the first place but always take it under advisement by your local badger authority as badgers are a protected species in the UK.
Trapping or harming a badger or interfering with its sett is an offence by law.
What damage do Badgers do to gardens?
Badgers will destroy lawns when searching for food such as grubs and earthworms although that is often a good thing as an abundance of grubs points to a very unhealthy lawn and the badgers are actually doing you a favour.
Badgers will also dig in flower beds and eat your prized flower bulbs and they are quite partial to your fresh root vegetables.
Trevor Wright is not just a seasoned horticulturist; he’s the esteemed Garden Doctor. With a BSc in Horticulture and years of hands-on experience in the soil, Trevor has become a trusted mentor for all things gardening. As the founder of Garden Doctor, he’s committed to clarifying the intricacies of gardening, offering straightforward advice that’s rooted in years of practice. His writing is a garden of how-tos, savvy insights, and comprehensive guides that enable individuals to nurture and grow their garden dreams. When he’s not knee-deep in garden beds, Trevor is at his keyboard passing on his green-thumbed wisdom to budding gardeners, ensuring that the legacy of sustainable and joyful gardening blossoms far and wide.