rabbit sits in a pot of vegetables

Will Mothballs Keep Rabbits Away?

Imagine walking out into your garden, ready to admire your beautiful plants and pick a few fresh veggies, only to find chewed stems and gnawed leaves. It seems you’ve had some furry, long-eared visitors in the night. Rabbits may be cute, but they can wreak havoc on your garden. The search for solutions might lead you to consider an old-fashioned item: mothballs. But do they actually keep rabbits away? Let’s explore this idea together.

Enoz para Moth Balls For Insects, Kills Clothes Moths and Carpet Beetles, No Clinging Odor, 4 Oz (Pack of 6)
  • ENOZ PARA MOTH BALLS: These moth balls kill destructive moths, moth eggs & moth larvae; Para Moth Balls are designed for long term or seasonal storage, in sealed containers in blanket chests, drawers, sweater boxes & trunks for worry free moth protection during storage
  • EFFECTIVE MOTH KILLER: Enoz Moth Para Balls are designed to combat and kill clothes moths, carpet beetles, and their eggs and larvae; Most effective when used in air-tight containers, killing moths once activated
  • MADE WITH PARADICHLOROBENZENE: Made with active ingredient Paradichlorobenzene which has a less offensive odor and evaporates more readily than traditional Naphthalene mothballs; Para is the ideal chemical to effectively kill moths; Clean, stainless, and leaves no clinging mothball odor
  • KILL MOTHS ANYWHERE: For use in closets, garment bags, enclosed or plastic storage containers, storage units, or anywhere moths may forage
  • There is no exact expiration date for mothballs. Sealed packages of mothballs containing paradichlorobenzene will have a very long shelf life of several years. In a hot area like an attic where convection currents may be moving more air about, those mothball life expectancies will be less due to the effects of both temperature and air movement or air velocity on the sublimation rate of the mothballs. The date printed on the package is our manufacturing date. e.g. MFG 01/26/22.

What are Mothballs?

Mothballs may sound like something out of an old cartoon, but they’re very real. They’re small, white balls that are often used to keep moths away from clothes. They’re made from chemicals – naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene – which slowly turn from solid to gas over time. That’s where the strong smell comes from. This smell is meant to deter pests, but the question remains: is it effective against rabbits? Let’s dive deeper into this intriguing topic.

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How Mothballs Work

Mothballs are like secret agents in your closet or storage boxes. They slowly release a strong-smelling gas that’s not very pleasant for moths. These small white balls evaporate over time, and this process, called sublimation, is how they work their magic. The smell they emit is designed to keep moths at bay, protecting your clothes from turning into a buffet for these tiny pests.

The Myth and Reality of Mothballs as Rabbit Deterrents

Now, on to our main question: do these secret agents also work on rabbits? Some folks swear by the power of mothballs to keep these fuzzy garden invaders away. The thought is that the strong smell that deters moths might also be unpleasant for rabbits.

However, there isn’t much scientific evidence to back up this claim. Rabbits have a keen sense of smell, yes, but they’re also resilient creatures. What might seem like a strong, unpleasant odor to us may not bother them as much. Plus, the outdoors is a big place, and the smell from mothballs can easily dissipate, reducing their impact. So, while mothballs might seem like a simple solution, their effectiveness against rabbits is, at best, questionable. Let’s continue to explore safer and potentially more reliable alternatives.

Risks and Drawbacks of Using Mothballs Outside

Mothballs are small, but they pack a powerful punch, and not always in a good way. They’re designed to be used in closed, indoor spaces, and when used outside, they can cause some problems.

For starters, the chemicals in mothballs are harmful to pets, children, and even adults if ingested or touched excessively. They can also contaminate soil and groundwater, which is bad news for your garden and local wildlife. It’s also worth noting that using mothballs to deter pests in the garden is against their intended use, and therefore not legally endorsed.

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Alternatives to Mothballs for Rabbit Control

But don’t despair, my fellow gardeners! There are safer and more effective ways to keep rabbits at bay. Here are a few:

  1. Fencing: It’s simple, safe, and rabbits can’t chew through a well-built fence.
  2. Plant choices: Certain plants, like geraniums and marigolds, aren’t favorites on a rabbit’s menu and can act as deterrents.
  3. Commercial repellents: There are numerous eco-friendly rabbit deterrents available on the market, specially designed for the job.
Liquid Fence Deer & Rabbit Repellent Ready-to-Use, 32-Ounce, White
  • REPELS DEER AND RABBITS: Deer and rabbits don’t have to eat vegetation for the repellent to be effective—they have a natural aversion to the scent
  • SPRAY ON PLANTS: Use to treat landscaped ornamental gardens, flowers, shrubs, trees and vines
  • RAIN RESISTANT: Ready-to-use liquid formula starts to work immediately
  • HARMLESS TO PLANTS AND ANIMALS: Won’t harm plants and animals when used and stored as directed
  • APPLY YEAR-ROUND: No need to rotate with other repellent brands – animals’ natural aversion to Liquid Fence Deer and Rabbit Repellent Ready-to-Use2 will never diminish


While the concept of using mothballs to deter rabbits may seem attractive for its simplicity, it’s clear that the risks far outweigh any potential benefits. With safer and more effective alternatives available, it’s best to leave mothballs for what they’re made for – keeping moths out of your closets. Remember, the best solutions often come from understanding nature and working with it, rather than against it.

About the author

Victoria Nelson

Victoria Nelson is a passionate gardener with over a decade of experience in horticulture and sustainable gardening practices. With a degree in Horticulture, she has a deep understanding of plants, garden design, and eco-friendly gardening techniques. Victoria aims to inspire and educate gardeners of all skill levels through her engaging articles, offering practical advice drawn from her own experiences. She believes in creating beautiful, biodiverse gardens that support local wildlife. When not writing or gardening, Victoria enjoys exploring new gardens and connecting with the gardening community. Her enthusiasm for gardening is infectious, making her a cherished source of knowledge and inspiration.

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