Skunks can be annoying pests as well as being destructive to your lawn and plants. They can burrow under porches and enter foundation openings in houses. Skunks can get into garbage or refuse left outdoors and damage beehives. Their reputation for carrying a powerful odor precedes them and skunks can accurately spray a perceived predator from 7 to 15 feet away. Preventive measures should be taken to keep these pests at bay.
Put all trash into sturdy trash bags, preferably either twist-tied or tied shut in some other manner to deter skunks from trying to get food out of the trash. You should also put the trash bags into sturdy rubber or metal trash cans with covers. Also, close all cellar and basement crawl space doors. Remove debris such as lumber piles and elevate any beehives.
Obtain skunk traps from your local home and garden center. Check first with state and local wildlife authorities, since some skunks are members of protected species. Striped skunks may need to be relocated rather than killed. More specifically, spotted skunks are usually protected animals. Place food on or near traps as skunks can be induced and attracted to foods such as fish-flavored cat food, sardines, eggs or peanut butter.
Use skunk repellents such as ammonia as part of a back-up plan. There are no repellents that are 100 percent effective, however. Fumigants such as gas cartridges may be of some assistance.
Shooting skunks may be permitted in some areas, but this can often be impractical. Professional extermination and pest control firms may need to be employed as a last resort.
Dispose of any dead skunks in a tightly-closed trash bag, and then discard them at a public landfill.