Rabbits can wreak havoc with landscaping feeding particularly on young shoots and posing a particular nuisance to new planting. Most people do not want to harm rabbits and in some instances they can be deterred by introducing natural repellents that they do not like the smell of for example; plants such as lavender or catnip. They can be year-round pests; the European Rabbit causes an estimated economic loss mostly in agriculture in excess of £100 million a year. Estimates put the total population at around 40 million. The population is currently increasing by 2% annually due to mild winters and fewer outbreaks of myxomatosis.
The best time to introduce rabbit control is between November and March ahead of the next breeding season. Numbers will be at their lowest at this time. It is estimated that as many as 90% of young rabbits will have died by the winter time without the need for human intervention.