Some years ago I was chatting to an American gardener on a forum about my cat problem and he told me about a popular product they had over on that side of the pond known as The Contech Scarecrow that sprayed a jet of water at animals whenever it detected movement within its range.
It sounded like a great tool but being for the American market I imagined it would cover half an acre of land rather than your typical English garden so I never went as far as trying to find a UK supplier.
I then found the PestBye jet spray repeller which was made for the UK. it covered up to 100 square metres and you could adjust the range.
Mine arrived and I quickly got it set up easily enough. It comes with a spike so you can put it into the ground and then you simply attach your hose pipe and turn on the water.
The motion detector runs on 4 AA batteries and when it detects movement the sprayer is activated and a jet of water arcs out in front of it covering an adjustable angle.
The water lasts about 5 seconds and then it resets itself waiting for the next movement.
If it sounds too good to be true thats because it is. It certainly works and cats would definitely keep well out of its way. The trouble was that plants moving in the breeze set it off, neighbours cutting the grass or setting up the BBQ set it off (oh how they laughed – not), the wife set it off putting out the washing, our baby daughter set it off, birds set it off and last but not least, I set it off!
I lost count of the number of times I walked down the garden forgetting it was on only to get a cold soaking.
The other problem with it was that the jet spray repeller is not well made. The sales pitch says it is robust and designed for outdoor use but the one I had soon split where the hose connected.
I had to customise it by doing away with the spike and the section that had the hose connector and attach it at a different point. Then the tube at the bottom split at the first sign of cold weather so I had to scrap that and attach the hose directly to the unit as shown below in the picture. I then made a new leg for it from wood and screwed it to the side of some decking.
Does It Work
I guess for £30 I was expecting something a bit better made and it’s a shame it isn’t ‘robust’ like they claim because yes it really does work. Those critters jumped 6 foot in the air and shot for the nearest exist like they had a lead role in a Tom and Jerry cartoon.
Update: Since I did this review the price has dropped considerably.
The sensitivity settings are a bit fiddly but if you persevere you can get it set up pretty accurately.
If you do get a Jet Spray Repeller be sure to keep it away from any boundary fences and point it down the garden rather than towards your neighbours garden. Switch off the water and disconnect the hose so it drains empty if frost is forecast otherwise it will split all over the place like mine did.
Also, if you are anything like me it might be an idea to stick a note on your back door reminding you to switch it off otherwise you may get more than you bargained for when you head out for a spot of gardening.
- No good for confined spaces
- You may forget its on and get a soaking
- A cheap copy of the much better made Contech Scarecrow
- With hindsight I should have stored it away once frosts were likely
- All cats hate these type of deterrent so results won’t vary
- Ideal for larger lawns or gardens
- Currently selling for less than £20
Buyer Reviews Updated
With half the 800 or so reviewers giving it 5 out of 5 it seems PestBye have improved the quality or at least brought the price point down to lower expectations.