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The Guide To Humane Critter Control: Natural, Nontoxic Pest Solutions To Protect Your Yard And Garden by Theresa Rooney – Book Review

The Guide To Humane Critter Control: Natural, Nontoxic Pest Solutions To Protect Your Yard And Garden

By Theresa Rooney
Cool Springs Press
December, 2017
Paperback: 144 pages
$19.99 USD

At last, there’s a book about how to handle garden nuisances for homeowners whose starting point is that each of Earth’s creatures has its place in the web of life. Our first reaction on meeting unwelcome visitors in the garden needn’t be “Shoot first and ask questions later.”

I’m speaking from experience. I once had my own near-disaster with an assault of what I thought were some kind of invasive caterpillars on a newly-purchased licorice plant. Fortunately, I determined to “do nothing” until I was able to identify them. Thank goodness I waited, because they turned out to be American Painted Lady butterfly larvae. The plant recovered and we enjoyed more than a week of the fluttering beauties sipping nectar amongst our flowers.

Theresa Rooney’s Guide to Humane Critter Control is filled with practical, pesticide-free ideas about how to prevent, or stop, annoying bugs and small mammals from damaging your garden. But the first and most important thing she addresses is perspective.


Mindset is the Key to Humane Control

Living in harmony with Nature’s other creatures requires an attitude adjustment. Stop, think, and ask yourself a few questions:

  1. Is this really a problem and if so, how big is the problem?
  2. What will happen if I ignore this?
  3. Can I learn something from the problem that will prevent it from happening again?
  4. Is there another way to look at this?
  5. Garden pests are a symptom. What’s the cause?

In The Guide to Humane Critter Control, Rooney’s basic premise is that a healthy garden is the best insect repellant. She then goes on to explore the many ways to outsmart bugs by exploiting their own behavior. Using techniques and products that are not only kinder to other creatures but also healthier for kids and pets, she shows how you can have both a beautiful and relatively trouble-free garden.

Dealing With the Darker Side

Rooney doesn’t flinch from tackling some of the less-than-pleasant aspects of her topic. Sensitive readers may be dismayed at the possibility of having to dispatch rats, for example. But Rooney is steadfast in recommending the most humane method, even when it’s not the easiest one for the faint-of-heart to implement.

Who is it for?

The Guide to Humane Critter Control should be at the fingertips of novice gardeners, as well as more experienced gardeners who want to transition from the knee-jerk use of poisons to more eco-friendly methods. Expert gardeners may not find much new here, but it’s a nice refresher course and I like the idea of having a simpler level of information all in one place. Sometimes, you just don’t need a bulky scientific reference.

I think this book would be a fun gift for parents and grandparents to read together with younger children, who will enjoy the illustrations. Not only will this book get them started down the path to a more holistic view of the world, but also answer some perennially puzzling questions such as, “What are those squiggly white lines on that plant’s leaves?”


The Guide to Humane Critter Control could have used a more careful edit, but all in all, it’s an enjoyable read, so I give it four stars. A handy chart at the beginning of the book helps readers quickly narrow down the list of possible culprits and a second chart in the appendix offers at-a-glance humane pest control solutions.

One hundred charming illustrations by Bill Kersey enhance the no-nonsense text and provide the opportunity for adults to engage young readers’ natural curiosity about bugs, plants, birds, and common backyard animals.

Where to Buy

The Guide To Humane Critter Control: Natural, Nontoxic Pest Solutions To Protect Your Yard And Garden by Theresa Rooney, is published by Cool Springs Press and available on Amazon Prime and other online retailers.

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The Guide to Humane Critter Control: Natural, Nontoxic Pest Solutions to Protect Your Yard and...
A good book for gardeners who want to transition from the knee-jerk use of poisons to more eco-friendly methods

Last update on 2023-02-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Disclaimer – GPReview would like to thank Cool Springs Press for giving us a free sample to review. There was no expectation that it would be a positive review and we received no compensation for writing it. All opinions expressed here are those of the author based on personal experience using the product.

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