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How to Use Vinegar to Get Rid of Armadillos

Armadillos are non-aggressive pests that can cause issues with foundations, gardens, and landscaping. They use their powerful sense of smell at night to find insects deep in the ground, digging to find the tasty treat. If insects are plenty, armadillos will dig burrows and settle in to live, breed, and feast.

Thankfully, you can use vinegar to get rid of armadillos. The offensive smell of vinegar prevents them from detecting insects. As a result, they will eventually move on to somewhere else. White vinegar can be applied as a spray, placed in uncovered bowls, or with saturated cotton balls or rags in areas of armadillo activity.

Other scents and methods can be used to deter armadillos as well. Read on below to learn how to use vinegar to get rid of armadillos.

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How to Use Vinegar to Get Rid of Armadillos

What To Know

how to use vinegar to get rid of armadillos

The nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus) is the only species living in the U.S. but is native to South America.

These cat-sized, armored mammals are found primarily in the southeastern states, including Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, Alabama, Kansas, and Florida. However, they are slowly moving to other adjacent states as weather and soil conditions provide suitable habitats.

Armadillos live in warm and temperate areas where the soil is soft enough to dig, such as rainforests, grasslands, woods, and semi-deserts. Cold temperatures will kill armadillos because they have a low metabolic rate and an insignificant amount of body fat and hair.

These mostly nocturnal animals are omnivores, with insects and larvae making up a large part of their daily diet. Armadillos eat termites, beetles, scorpions, grubs, small reptiles and amphibians, berries, roots, seeds, bird eggs, and more.

At night, armadillos dig up gardens and flower beds to find food sources, relying on their sense of smell to detect food as deep as 7 feet under the soil’s surface. They dig extensive burrows and leave shallow holes in the ground, ultimately destroying landscapes or causing issues underneath structures. They are not aggressive towards humans or territorial. They simply follow their noses to ample food sources.

What To Do: 4 Ways To Use Vinegar To Get Rid Of Armadillos

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It is very hard to remove food sources from deep within the soil that armadillos like. Therefore, the better approach is to use their powerful sense of smell against them.

The following table provides 4 ways to use the harsh scent of vinegar to overpower the scent of insects. This will tell armadillos that there’s no food available and to go somewhere else to eat.

Method What To Do
Spray Pour white vinegar into a spray bottle and apply it near areas of armadillo activity. Sprays are good for hard-to-reach spots such as under sheds or porches.
Uncovered Bowls Instead of spraying, leave uncovered bowls of vinegar around areas of armadillo activity.
Cotton Balls Soak cotton balls in vinegar. Place them inside something to hold them such as sachets. Add a few small stones to weigh them down if necessary. Place them near the armadillo activity. You can also hang sachets from low garden plants.
Rags Soak rags in vinegar and place them around areas you wish to keep them away from, such as the base of trees.


  • Use white vinegar (and not apple cider vinegar, which is less pungent).
  • Vinegar can kill sensitive vegetation, grass seedlings, and plant material if sprayed directly on them.
  • Vinegar methods should be reapplied every few days and after inclement rainy weather to be effective.
  • Keep any methods used out of the reach of children and pets.

Other DIY Scents To Get Rid Of Armadillos

While vinegar is an inexpensive way to deter armadillos, other scents can be used as well using the above methods (if used in liquid forms). These include the following:

  • Ammonia: Keep in mind that ammonia can also kill vegetation and also comes with warning and safety information.
  • Pine: Use a naturally based pine cleaner that will not harm the environment. Or use pine straw/mulch that is at least 3 inches layered thick.
  • Essential Oils: Use essential oils such as peppermint, pine, lavender, catnip, lemon, cinnamon, or ylang-ylang. Use 10 drops per ounce of water and shake vigorously each time before spraying. Alternatively, you can plant these plants around areas you wish to keep armadillos away from.
  • Cayenne Pepper: Sprinkle powdered cayenne pepper directly onto the ground. Or make a spray by mixing 15 drops of hot sauce with 1 cup of water.
  • Castor Oil: Use castor oil granules to sprinkle on the ground and then water them so they soak into the ground. Or mix ¼ cup of castor oil, 1 tablespoon of dish detergent, and 1 gallon of water for spray or soaking methods.
  • Epsom Salts: These salts have a chemical composition that includes smelly sulfur. Sprinkle on desired areas.
  • Garlic: Boil ½ gallon of water with ¼ cup of crushed garlic for 5 minutes. Add ¼ onions or cayenne pepper if desired as well. Strain out the pieces, allow the liquid to cool, and pour into a spray bottle. Alternately, sprinkle garlic powder on the ground and lightly water it.
  • Commercial Products: Purchase premade sprays such as Enviro Pro Armadillo Scram, which uses ingredients such as castor oil, fish oil, white pepper, garlic oil, and thyme, rosemary, and citronella essential oils.

5 Alternative Armadillo Deterrents

If strong scents are not keeping armadillos off of your property, there are other alternatives that you can implement for an integrated control plan.

Armadillo trapping

  1. Live Trapping

    Live trapping is allowed in some states since armadillos are considered invasive. However, make sure you know the local laws for trapping and releasing. Typically, armadillos can be released to forested environments at least 6 miles away. If in doubt, contact a professional pest control service.

    Ideally, your armadillo trap should use non-toxic bait such as maggots, rotten meat, mealworms, or overripe fruit in a pile of soil. It should be large enough to hold an armadillo, so opt for one that is advertised for large pests such as raccoons or possums. This trap should be baited and accessible at night and placed along a fence wall line or any other area of armadillo activity. A purchased trap will include directions on how to properly set it up.

    Keep in mind that your trap may catch a different pest with attractive bait inside. Contact wildlife control about what to do if this happens.

  2. Motion-Activated Devices

    Motion-activated sprinklers and ultrasonic devices can help to deter armadillos. While they are food-driven, these tactics can help to scare them away from desired areas in your yard.

  3. Reduce The Overall Amount Of Food Sources

    It can be challenging to eliminate insects and other invertebrates on your property and deep within the soil. However, you can reduce the overall population of these armadillo meals which can potentially make them search elsewhere.

    Instead of insecticides, you can add nematodes to the soil to eat grubs. Also, remedy areas with poor drainage or pooling water which are attractive to insects. Remove dead or rotten tree stumps and woodpiles, fallen vegetation, open trash bins, pet food, and dense shrubbery which are other ideal spots for insects to thrive.

    Keep in mind that if you use insecticides, they can be harmful to other wildlife, pets, people, and the environment. Follow all precautions and regulatory use.

  4. Install A Fence

    While this is a more costly intervention, it will keep armadillos, and many other pests, from entering your yard. The fence should go at least 24 inches deep to prevent burrowing, or have a trench lined with mesh. Picket fences should have posts no wider than 1 or 2 inches so that larger pests cannot squeeze through. Interestingly, armadillos can also jump up to 5 feet into the air. Therefore, the top of the fence should be angled to keep them from leaping over.

  5. Trapped armadillo

  6. Use A Dog

    Dogs will bark at armadillos, making them flee from your property. However, this can be disruptive to your sleep and your neighbors, since your dog will need to take action at night.


Vinegar is an excellent, cost-effective strategy for getting rid of armadillos. It can be applied as a spray or left out in uncovered bowls. You can also use cotton balls or rags soaked in vinegar to place around your property.

Alternative odors to deter armadillos include the use of ammonia, pine, essential oils, castor oil, garlic, and Epsom salts.

If scents are not making the armadillos go away, then you may need more drastic measures. This includes live trapping and releasing, the installation of an angled fence, motion-activated devices, or professional pest control.