Q. I have noticed an increase in the skunks that have moved in under my deck. What should I do?
A. Skunks may be saving you future expense and effort by eating lawn-destroying grubs. The damage is temporary. If, however, the skunks are being a nuisance, here's a checklist to manage the problem effectively:
• Hang ammonia-soaked cotton rags near den entrances to deter skunks.
• Cover up possible entrances to your house once you are sure all animals have left (especially between May and July, when young are being raised). Block entrances with sheet metal or place rustproof screening over air vents and chimneys.
• Secure lids on composters and garbage cans with a strong bungee cord or heavy weight.
• Trim tree branches or modify other structures that animals might use to get to the roof.
• Install a motion sensor light in an area where skunks appear frequently. Although pricey, such devices provide a far more effective deterrent than lights left burning all night long.
• Sprinkle baby powder or spray ground hot peppers mixed with water on target plants. (Not food plants.)