This is one of the most common questions we get asked daily. The simple answer is NO.
Mothballs do not get rid of animals besides moths (hence the name). Many people consider them a “safe” alternative to poison, mothballs may seem relatively harmless when you purchase them, but in reality, they contain pesticides made from toxic, harmful chemicals. These chemicals, naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene, are considered household toxic waste and are not meant to be discarded in the regular trash or flushed down the drain. Instead, you must drop them off at a household hazardous-waste collection site.
Health Effects of Mothballs
Mothballs are nearly 100% active ingredient, and the active ingredient may be either naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene. Each active ingredient can cause different health effects if the exposure is high enough. Mothballs slowly turn from solids to toxic vapor.
When you smell mothballs, you are inhaling the insecticide. Mothballs can also be dangerous if they are chewed or eaten.
Children, pets and wildlife may mistake Mothballs for food or candy and eat them.
One single mothball can cause serious harm if eaten by a small child, or even death. (Source “National Pesticide information Center”)
“My friend/neighbor/internet search said they worked for them”
Great! I’m glad they were able to solve their wildlife problem! Really I am. However, there is a more than good chance that it was just a coincidence and had nothing to do with the mothballs.
After thousands of animal removal calls, and seeing hundreds upon hundreds of people using mothballs as a repellent, I can tell you first hand that animals simply don’t care about them. I’ve heard every “old wives tale” in the book. Pour ammonia in their burrow, mothballs, lights on in attic, loud noise, even pour gasoline in armadillo holes. Animals are very adaptive and usually aren’t phased by any of this, on the rare occasion that one is slightly irritated by a smell or fume, they quickly adapt to the situation and the smell/vapors simply dissipate as they are not intended to be used as animal repellents. The damage that is done to our environment is much worse than any result.
Using mothballs as repellents is actually illegal, due to the reasons explained above (Source “National Pesticide information Center”).
Bats, rats, armadillos, snakes, and virtually anything besides moths are better removed by trapping and humanely relocating if possible. In addition to being better for the environment, you’re also not putting your family and pets at risk, or breaking the law.
Mothballs used in attic to “repel” bats, bat guano covering box, didn’t work.