A deterrent is a thing that discourages or is intended to discourage someone or something from doing something.
The word ‘Deterrent’ is not a word that is used much in gardening but it is a means to prevent something that you do not want to happen from actually happening.
For instance; you don’t want cats from digging up seedlings or having their toilets in your gardens.
Many years ago when I was wearing a younger man’s shoes I learnt that cats do not like the smell of naphthalene which was told to me by a older gardener.
Having at the time a garden shop I thought that it would be a good product to sell as many gardeners complained about cats using their gardens as toilets.
Most of the time it was not their cat but cats from around the neighborhood.
I found a company in NZ that imported tons of naphthalene for the tanning industry so it was easy to obtain a 25 kilo bag of the crystals and make it available for gardeners to use.
Back then moth balls were also available and most types of moth balls were naphthalene in a ball shape.
Time past and the tanning industry changed their methods of tanning hides and so my NZ supplier stopped importing naphthalene.
I soon found an Australian company that was importing naphthalene from Belgium.
This meant bringing a pellet every year across the ditch to met the demand.
Over the many years I have found that naphthalene is about 90% effective as a cat deterrent, with only the occasional cat not being affected. (Likely sinus problems)
Then one day a coup[le of years ago there was a news item that some children were putting moth balls (naphthalene) into their mouths thinking any thing round must be a lolly.
This cause quite a commotion and the Govt stepped in and banned the sale of moth balls along with naphthalene.
Not only was it not good to have young children eating mothballs but as the name applies Moth Balls are used as a insecticide against moth damage.
Now any insecticide has to be registered with the Govt and no one had ever done so as it is a very old means of protecting Grannies woollies in storage from moth damage.
So two reasons to ban naphthalene in form of balls or discs.
I was notified by one of my retail outlets that moth balls/ naphthalene were banned.
So I contacted EPA and had a wee chat with them about my product naphthalene flakes sold as Cat Repellent.
Firstly they said they were not aware of my product and as cats are not insects it put a different lighton the situation.
They said they would need to have a think about my Cat Repellent and get back to me.
Fortunately they came back within a few days saying that I could sell naphthalene crystals as Cat Repellent but I had to put it in a child proof container and use the label information that they required.
I told them that I was happy with that and so we found a child proof container that would hold 400 grams of naphthalene tampered down.
So gardeners all over NZ were able to deter cats and not have digested cat food in their gardens.
Next my Australian supplier informed me that because of regulations in Australia and a weak demand for naphthalene they were not importing any more.
I purchased 3 tons of what they had available which was enough to see me through a couple of years or so.
All good things come to an end and as I got down to my last couple 25 kilo bags I went looking for a new supply.
China was the first place as there is a lot of manufactured naphthalene there but being a Dangerous Goods (DG) they were only willing to sell a container load which would be about 10 to 20 tons. Enough to last me many years and a lot of money tied up in stock.
So next place to try was India and my Neem supplier in India found a several manufactures of which I could buy any amount that I required.
I purchased 250 kilos through my Indian contact and had him arrange to send it to NZ in my next container of Neem Granules and Powder.
Seems simple enough but not so as now days shipping lines do not want to come to NZ or Australia.
Why? Apparently it is too expensive now because our ‘without common sense’ Govt makes them sit off shore for weeks before they can come in and disembark their cargoes.
That means they are sitting on their thumbs using up fuel and having to pay the crew while on the beck and call of our authorities.
So no matter how hard we tried, no ship could be found to bring the naphthalene with our Neem Granules in our own container. (any excuse not to come to NZ
We were running out of Neem Granules and powder so we elected to bring the granules and leave the naphthalene behind.
My man in India found a German ship and our container was on the way minus our naphthalene.
Ok how to get 250kilos of a DG to New Zealand.
Aircraft were hungry for money so at a cost of just on $7000 we flew my 250 kilos in.
That made it a expensive product so a few changes had to be made.
Instead of 400 grams we reduced the amount to half, 200 grams and increased the price.
To offset the cost for gardeners I included instructions on how to get the most value and longer use out of the reduced amount.
Naphthalene if applied to a dry area will slowly evaporate over several weeks, months even, but if rained on or watered over its gone straight away.
So I have included instructions on how to take a common 2 litre plastic milk bottle and cut away part of the base to make a nice rain proof place to put a small amount of the naphthalene flakes in to deter cats.
You can simply use one or more of the milk containers to protect gardens, sheds, doors, porches etc from cat urine marking and toilet use.
Another New Normal.
Naphthalene can be used in other ways as a deterrent for other things which I can explain in a future article.
As usual …There are Bits about other things if you email me .
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