PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

April 3, 2011

Protecting from snakes, geckos and lizards

Micah Meyer
The Port Arthur News

PORT ARTHUR — I spotted my first snake of the year this past Sunday.  My first reaction was to jump backwards and yell snake, even though I was the only one around.  My next reaction was to kill the snake, but he slithered away before I could do anything.  I’ve come to the conclusion that it was a king snake and they are considered beneficial, but I still don’t like them in my yard.

We routinely get calls from people wanting to know if there is something that will repel snakes from their landscape.  There are many products on the market such as “Snake-A-Way” that are said to repel snakes; however, there have been plenty of research studies that show these products to be unreliable.

There are many other homemade remedies that people have tried to use to repel snakes that have been proven to not be effective.  Some of these remedies include gourd vines, egg shells, moth balls, sulfur, cedar oil, a tacky bird repellent, lime, cayenne pepper, sisal rope, creosote, liquid smoke, artificial skunk scent, and musk from a king snake.  None of these products have been proven to work and most of them will disappear after the first rain or even heavy dew.  All species of snakes are likely to cross a strip of repellent substance if they want to get to the other side.

Your best option is to try and minimize the snake habit around your home.  Remove debris piles such as lumber, fire wood, brush piles, high weeds, etc that make an attractive habitat for snakes. You can never be too safe when it comes to snake encounters, and we will never be able to eliminate snakes in our yards. Fortunately most of the snakes we come across are of the non-poisonous variety.

Geckos & lizards are another reptile that people often want to get rid of. No pesticides are registered for their control.   A general insecticide might reduce their food supply, but the impact will probably be minimal. Your best management tactic is to exclude them from your home by checking the weather stripping around the doors and windows, use screens on the windows, and minimize their points of entry.  Glue boards and sticky cards can be used to catch and kill geckos or lizards, but don’t expect that method to dramatically reduce their numbers.

Don’t forget that the annual Budding & Grafting Workshop will be held on Saturday, April 9th from 9am until Noon at the AgriLife Extension office located at 1225 pearl street, Beaumont TX 77701.   The cost of the class is $10.  There will be plenty of grafting information available as well as grafting scions, tape, and grafting knives for sale.

Micah Meyer is county extension agent-horticulture of the Texas Agrilife Extension Service in Jefferson County. He can be reached at 409-835-8461 or cmmeyer@ag.tamu.edu