Collier man has cheap solution to bears getting in trash: use ammonia

Posted at 6:43 PM, Jun 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-29 06:53:44-04

A Collier County family told Fox 4 Tuesday that a bear destroyed what they thought was a bear-proof shed to keep animals from getting into their garbage - only it didn't work.

Lynn Rausch said she found a trail of trash leading from the shed into the woods near her home.

"You can see where the bear literally ripped the sides off," said Rausch, whose husband built the plastic enclosure. "This is a strong animal."

After seeing our story, Jack Behling of Golden Gate Estates called Fox 4 to share his simple remedy to keep bears out of his trash, after someone recommended it to him decades ago when he first moved to the area.

"I have picked up plenty of messes that bears have caused, until I stumbled upon the simple solution of putting one ounce of ammonia in the garbage bag," Behling said. "The bear rips the garbage bag out, gets a sniff of that ammonia, and runs away sneezing."

Carli Segelson, a spokeswoman for Florida Fish & Wildlife, said that using ammonia, bleach or mothballs are suggestions that they hear from residents occasionally. 

"The FWC does not actively recommend these items because they are generally only effective against younger, less experienced bears," Segelson wrote in an email.

She said residents should secure trash in a sturdy shed, garage or a wildlife-resistant container, and put household garbage out on the morning of pick-up, rather than the night before.