There's one lesson of homeownership many quickly learn and loathe:...

There's one lesson of homeownership many quickly learn and loathe: Raccoons love garbage. And, if you don't follow the rules to keep them out of it, you'll sweep up egg shells, chicken bones and coffee grinds daily. Credit: IStock

There's one lesson of home ownership many quickly learn and loathe: Raccoons love garbage. And, if you don't follow the rules to keep them out of it, you'll sweep up eggshells, chicken bones and coffee grinds daily. Below, 11 ways to keep wily raccoons at bay, as advised by Mary Ellen Laurain, director of communications and health education at the Nassau County Department of Health, and Bill Fonda, a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Conservation:

1. Never feed raccoons

Health officials don't recommend the public's feeding any wildlife because it teaches the animals to become dependent on you for survival. In addition, you could be bitten.

2. Feed domestic pets inside your house and store pet food inside, too

If you keep pet food in a bag on your porch, for instance, you'll attract raccoons and other wildlife.

3. Store right

Keep garbage bags in a shed or a garage, and in a metal can.

4. Purchase locking or tightfitting lids for garbage cans

If necessary, use a bungee cord to secure the lid to the can.

5. Wrap particularly stinky garbage in double plastic bags

Did you know that melon rinds and corn on the cobs are raccoon favorites?

6. Repel the critters with an offensive odor

For instance, place mothballs, spray a small amount of ammonia or leave an article of human-scented clothing around the cans. These scents will mask the inviting odor of ripe garbage.

7. Dust the trash can lids with baby powder

Raccoons don't like the feel of dust on their paws.

8. Use motion detection sprinklers or lighting near the trash can area

Since raccoons are nocturnal animals, they don't like bright lights and will avoid them when possible.

9. Consider enclosing the trash bin area with fencing

There must be no gaps between boards or gates. Think Fort Knox.

10. Place a heavy object on top of the garbage can

The heavier the better - try a brick or a cinder block.

11. Play a portable radio near the garbage area at night

Tune into an "all-talk" station. Keep the volume low if neighbors are nearby.