For the most part, wildlife management does not involve the use of pesticides other than repellents. The animal repellents and taste deterrents that are available vary in their effectiveness. There are also fertility control products that are used in wildlife population control which are considered pesticides. The best management techniques involve excluding the animal from the property or area where it is causing damage. Other management techniques involve frightening devices, trapping or shooting.
Animals such as deer, rabbits or birds can cause damage to plants grown in the garden. Rodents such as rats and mice can also damage plants, but can spread disease through their urine and feces or bring vector carrying insects such as fleas and ticks into the home. Bats that move into attics leave feces which can present a human health hazard such as histoplasmosis. Although many snakes found around homes are harmless, there are some like the copperhead which can be venomous. Many animal pests can be managed through exclusion techniques (i.e. screens, fences); habitat modification; sanitation; trapping and removal; or when necessary shooting.
Consult the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) when considering management techniques that involve trapping or killing the animal either through chemical or physical means since those practices may require licensing or permits. Some pesticides are defined as drugs when used on vertebrate wildlife under § 29.1-508.1 of the Virginia Administrative Code. These would include fertility control products. DGIF regulations also prohibit the poisoning of wild birds and wild animals other than rats or mice found on one’s own property.
The Nuisance & Problem Wildlife page of the DGIF website provides some techniques to help prevent and resolve some wildlife issues. It also provides information about specific wildlife species found in Virginia that commonly become nuisances or problems. To visit the DGIF Nuisance and Wildlife page, click here. Individuals who are dealing with issues related to nuisance and problem wildlife can also contact DGIF's toll-free wildlife conflict helpline at 1-855-571-9003.
In addition to the resources provided by DGIF, The Center for Human-Wildlife Conflict Resolution has also put together a number of resources related to wildlife animal management in Virginia. Currently there are 19 animals listed. To find information about managing a specific animal click here.