It’s always an unpleasant surprise when you find those familiar black droppings with a white spot on your outdoor furniture. It means that geckos are lurking somewhere very near!
While it’s a nuisance, it’s manageable. Keep reading to learn how to get rid of geckos on your patio.
How to Get Rid of Geckos on the Patio
While geckos aren’t dangerous like other types of lizards, they can be annoying. It’s especially gross to find gecko droppings in the same place you hold the weekend barbecue!
It’s important to learn about what these creatures like and how to make your place inhospitable to them.
Where Do Geckos Live?
Geckos are small lizards that can reach a length of 3–6 inches. They live in places with plenty of water and prefer dark, warm environments.
In the wild, they’re nocturnal reptiles that move around and hunt insects after dark. However, you can find geckos outdoors in broad daylight when they’re switching from one hiding place to another.
Geckos mainly eat insects and can make a home out of places where insects congregate. This means a patio or porch with shady areas near a garden is a 5-star hotel for the little fellas.
They’re mostly harmless to humans and pets. The gecko’s small size means that whatever venom it uses to kill a fly or a mosquito won’t be enough to hurt a human or a dog/cat. They also don’t have teeth, so their bites won’t pierce your skin.
While some people are not bothered by their presence, as they catch insects and stay out of the way, others are. Depending on how big the problem is, you have a few options we’ll discuss below.
The Best Way to Get Rid of Geckos on Your Patio/Porch/Yard
There are multiple tactics you can use to rid your yard of geckos. We’ll go over each one in detail.
1 – Catch and Release
This option will work if you only have a couple of geckos hanging around your patio. Before they get the chance to go and invite their friends over, just catch them and release them somewhere else where they won’t bother you.
Just get a bowl or a box and a flat piece of cardboard, then try to corner the gecko and guide it into the box. Then you can invert it and cover it quickly with the cardboard sheet.
You can also use small rodent traps, which are cages that the gecko can enter but not leave. This can be helpful if they’re hanging right outside the house, or if you don’t think you can outrun them.
Just spray some insect pheromones inside the trap to get the gecko to enter. You can also catch a fly and leave it there so the gecko will find it alluring.
If you’re a bit adventurous and would like to put on a pair of gloves and catch the gecko with your hand, avoid holding it by the tail.
Geckos can detach their tails when frightened or startled. So, the best way to hold a gecko is with the forefinger and thumb between the fore and hind limbs without too much force.
Proceed to find a new home for the gecko, maybe in a nearby wooded area. And to prevent this from happening again, you can employ some of the tips in the following section.
2 – Make the Patio Unwelcoming for Geckos
If you had a gecko visitor that you showed the way out, or if you’re trying to prevent geckos from invading your yard, you can use one or more of these household items for the job.
This might be an old wives’ tale, but some people swear by eggshells as a spook tactic for geckos and lizards.
The method behind the madness is that lizards (and geckos) are egg-laying reptiles, so if they find an eggshell broken in half, they’ll think the place is unsafe for them.
Another possible explanation is that chicken eggs resemble the eggs of large birds that prey on geckos, so they steer away from them fearing the presence of a large predator nearby.
Either way, you can use this cheap and easy method to scare the geckos off your patio. Just make sure you change the eggshells every 3–4 days to keep the effect fresh.
Hot Sauce or Cayenne Pepper
Hot sauce and cayenne pepper have a lot of capsaicin, which is the compound that makes them spicy. Capsaicin is a strong irritant to geckos among a host of other annoying small animals.
Just dilute the hot sauce or pepper with water and spray it along the edges of your patio. Any creepy crawler that gets the mixture on their limbs will be irritated and scared off.
Avoid over-spraying this mixture in the air if you don’t want a coughing fit that will last you a good 5 minutes until the mist settles. You’re trying to scare geckos away, not bring about an asthma attack.
Lemon and Vinegar
Lemon and vinegar might be tasty in salad dressings, but geckos hate their smell so much they’ll run in the other direction!
You can use lemon juice or vinegar alongside cayenne pepper in a homemade gecko-repellent pepper spray. The combined effect will make a difference in how cozy your patio seems to them!
Garlic, Onions, and Shallots
Another culinary staple that geckos can’t stand is alliums. Garlic cloves or pieces of onion and shallot can be placed around the patio to release their aromatic compounds into the air and scare off geckos and other lizards.
Just make sure you change them up every couple of days, as the smell of rotting garlic or onion will mostly drive you away from your own patio!
Coffee and Tobacco
This one’s a bit more serious since the mixture of coffee and tobacco won’t repel geckos, but kill them. If the infestation is not small and you run out of options, you can utilize this technique.
Mix damp coffee grounds with tobacco powder and ball them up into small pellets. You can put them around toothpicks for easy placement.
Once a gecko takes a bite of the mixture, it’ll get sick and die after a few minutes, since tobacco is extremely toxic to them.
Just think of this as a last resort after everything else fails to ward off the geckos.
Cultivate Plants That Geckos Hate
As we mentioned earlier, geckos and lizards are sensitive to certain aromatic compounds that can be found in some plants.
If you’re not inclined to have an onion or garlic plant in your garden because of their pungent smell, try one of the following options instead:
3 – Cut Off the Geckos’ Food Sources
Geckos feed on insects, which have certain preferences when it comes to living spaces. If you take a few steps to make your yard unlivable for bugs, geckos will have to find their dinner somewhere else.
Here are a few steps you can take to minimize the insect population in your yard:
Get Rid of Clutter
If you have a lot of unnecessary junk in your yard, like children’s toys, plastic containers, or packing materials, they might trap water from rain and yard sprinklers.
This is a double threat, since geckos like fresh water to drink. And once the water sits and stagnates, it attracts insects that geckos feed on.
Remove any item you don’t frequently use and put it in a shed or in the garage. You can also donate any item that’s in good enough condition so other people can make use of it.
Use Yellow Lights at Night
Insects gather around light sources at night, and geckos gather around insects. While it’s better to minimize outdoor light sources, we understand it’s not always feasible.
If you have to have a light on, make it a sodium vapor or yellow-tinted LED light. Insects don’t gather as much around them, so geckos won’t have much to eat.
Trim Your Hedges and Bushes
Another great hiding place for insects (and geckos alike) is overgrown bushes and hedges. Keep those trimmed and get rid of the clippings on a regular basis to reduce the number of places geckos can shelter in.
You should also be wary of shrubbery near HVAC system vents, as those can invite geckos to the inside of your home really easily. The last thing you want is a rustling sound at 2 AM from a new lizard addition to the household!
Clean Up After Cookouts
Food bits and debris attract ants and other insects in a matter of hours, especially when you’re outside in a green area.
When you have a cookout or a barbecue, just clean up after you’re done to avoid bugs gathering, because geckos soon follow suit.
4 – Use Lizard Repellent Products
If you want a faster approach, you can use lizard repellents that are available online. While not as many as pesticides, there are a few products that can help with your problem.
Make sure to use products that are safe and non-toxic to pets if you have one. If the problem is too big and you need to use something stronger, keep your pets inside the house at all times.
Some insecticides can help you with your gecko/lizard issue as well, as they’ll greatly limit the food source they depend on and they’ll soon leave.
The trick with these products is patience and persistence, as most of them don’t work from a single use. Just keep at it and you’re most likely to see results after two or three uses.
5 – Call a Professional
While most of us would like to think the situation is under control, unfortunately, it sometimes isn’t. Calling a professional when you’ve exhausted all your options, or if you don’t want to take on the project yourself, is perfectly okay.
Professional exterminators have a lot at stake when they’re doing their job since they want to have your business and enjoy a good reputation. This is why they’ll make sure your gecko problem is solved.
Most extermination services also provide follow-up visits to see how the job is holding up. Just make sure to use a professional with lots of good reviews so you’re setting yourself up for success.
Things to Avoid When You’re Trying to Get Rid of Geckos
As you can see, there are many ways to rid your patio of geckos. However, some people still resort to inhumane ways of solving this problem.
Sticky traps such as flypaper can be effective in catching geckos, but they kill them slowly by dehydrating them to death. This is not necessary and can be avoided by using other kinds of traps that cage, not kill the geckos.
Some people also allow their cats to chase down and kill geckos, even though cats don’t prey on reptiles. If your cat is inclined to chase them, gently but firmly prohibit it by saying “No” or spraying it with a water bottle.
Geckos can be annoying, but they are an important part of the food chain. Compromising their population can lead to a surge in insect numbers that will definitely be felt around your garden and patio.
Geckos are pesky little lizards that can be found everywhere around the globe. In fact, they’re on every continent but Antarctica!
If you find your patio their new choice of lodging, don’t panic. There are many ways you can ward them off and keep things that way for some time.
From catching and releasing them to cutting off their food resources, you can make your yard and patio unwelcoming enough to avoid sharing the next barbecue meal with a reptilian guest.
However, it’s important to know when the gecko problem has gotten out of hand and needs the experience of a professional. Once you can no longer control it, call an exterminator.
Just remember that an inhumane method isn’t really how you should get rid of geckos on your patio.
Ben has a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies, you can find him at home with wife and two daughters. Outside of family, He loves grilling and barbequing on his Big Green Egg and Blackstone Griddle, as well as working on projects around the house.
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