How to handle garbage to avoid animal problems in Vermont | Black bear

How to handle garbage to avoid animal problems

Wild animals are constantly in search of food, so proper sanitation and management of food sources, including garbage, is essential. Keep your garbage indoors until trash pickup or, if garbage is stored outside, use wildlife-proof garbage containers that are anchored securely, for example, to a tree, pole,or cement pad to keep them from being moved or displaced. Place garbage at the curb the morning of or near the time of pick up rather than the night before. Have your trash hauled away regularly to a licensed landfill.

Composting is extremely beneficial to minimizing the food waste that goes into landfills and the results can provide a nutrient rich soil for gardens. However, if it is not done correctly, compost piles can attract a variety of wildlife species from opossum to coyotes, to bears. Follow the recommendations below to avoid attracting wildlife to your property and inadvertently creating a ‘pest’.

  • When composting, use three times as many browns (dead leaves, grass clippings, wood chips, and low quality paper products) as greens (food scraps). This minimizes smells and speeds up the composting process.
  • Regularly turn your pile so materials compost more quickly.
  • Compost fresh scraps in an enclosed container that would be challenging for wildlife to open. Tumblers are especially challenging for animals to open.
  • Do not add meat scraps or bones to your compost pile. You can put meat and bones in the trash, freeze them and bring them to a drop-off when you have enough, or bury them by pit-composting or trench-composting.
  • To keep rodents and smaller animals out, line your compost system with 1/4'' wire-mesh hardware cloth.

Proper composting should not attract wildlife. Regularly mixing food scraps with dry, brown materials like wood shavings, leaves, shredded paper, wood chips, sawdust, or dried flowers/stems/stalks helps speed decomposition and active composting, minimizing food attractants.

Laws and regulations to be aware of

While we attempt to provide guidance about state and federal regulations pertaining to specific species and control techniques, we do not provide information about local jurisdictions (city, town, county, etc.) where regulations may be more restrictive, especially as it applies to discharge of firearms, transport of animals or use of trapping equipment. Contact your local city or county government to inquire further. No guarantee is made that information (or lack of information) associated with a species or control technique is completely accurate or current. You should become familiar with federal, state and local laws before beginning any wildlife control activities.

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