I was moored next to a boat that had a bunch of dollar store, plastic snakes placed strategically on the top bimini, bow and antenna bases. I tried to figure it out on my own but gave in to curiosity and walked over to ask. Evidently snakes eat seagull eggs so seagulls avoid snakes as all costs. The boat owner explained that he was parked in a marina next to two other boats with the exact same slips and all three boats were constantly covered in bird poop. After putting the snakes on his boat only the other two boats got hit.
It started me thinking about the other “natural deterrents” I have seen on boats as I am always curious if there is any truth to these home remedies?
Who can forget the crumpled brown paper bag that was supposed to act as a nest and deter wasps? I witnessed this, and perhaps tried it once or twice on my own boat, for a few years before the purchasing one of the commercial versions. It’s hard not to walk down the dock without seeing a Waspinator. It looks just like a wasp nest and is sold in packs of 2 for about $10. The product is based on the idea that wasps are territorial and view the Waspinator as an enemy nest and fly away, they claim that one Waspinator can clear up to a 40 foot area. All I can offer to this argument is that I have seen a Waspinator and a Wasp on my boat at the same time.
Another bug topic that always raises a few different viewpoints is spiders on boats. I guess the first thing you have to decide is which you would prefer on your boat, spiders or flies and mosquitoes. One summer we had a resident spider on the bow pulpit/search light and every morning there was a quite a collection of mosquitoes in the web. Perhaps a different story if I had seen a spider IN the boat! I have heard everything from moth balls, bleach and dryer sheets to horse chestnuts (conkers) or simply vacuuming every day.
Last but not least, fruit flies. Quite often there is just not enough room in the pint size boat fridge for all of your fruit and no matter where you hide it, they find it. Not to mention an unattended glass of wine. The hands down best way to clear them out of your galley is to put about 2 – 3 inches of apple cider vinegar, wine or tequila in the bottom of a glass bottle, top it off with a funnel and watch them flock. For some reason the funnel creates a welcome entrance but they can’t figure out how to exit. I have also heard that because fruit flies breed and live in warm, moist places like garbage disposals and drains you should rinse them daily with hot, hot water. If you are running short on hot water, there is also a theory that placing a couple of ice cubes in the drain before you go to bed will act as a deterrent and they will move on.