- How to Get Rid of Squirrels
- DIY Squirrel Repellent
- Keep Squirrels Away From Birdfeeders
- Protect Your Grill
- Keep Squirrels Out of Your Garden
- Plant Mint to Repel Squirrels
- Another Great Squirrel Repellent
- Part 1. Do You Have Squirrels?
- Part 2. Habitat Modification
- Part 3. Physical Barriers
- Part 4. Squirrel Repellents
- Part 5. Squirrel Deterrants
- Part 6. Strategic Planting
- Part 7. Get Rid Of Squirrels
- 7 Garden Plants That (Really Do) Repel Squirrels
- Problems caused by squirrels in the garden
- Let’s look at some Natural Squirrel Repellent Ideas
- Other Natural Squirrel Repellent Ideas
- Pin this post on Natural Squirrel Repellent Ideas
- Stopping Squirrels and Chipmunks
- Squirrel Control
- 8 Effective Ways To Keep Squirrels Off Your Bird Feeders (2020)
- 8 Tips To Keep Squirrels Off Your Bird Feeders
- Tip #1: Invest in a Squirrel-Proof Bird Feeder Pole
- A. Buy a pole that is manufactured specially to prevent squirrels.
- B. Squirrel-proof your existing pole by attaching baffles.
- Tip #2: Place Your Bird Feeders Wisely
- Tip #3: Invest in a Squirrel-Proof Bird Feeder
- A. Weight Sensitive:
- B. Cages:
- C. Battery Powered Feeders That Spin:
- Tip #4: Offer foods that squirrels don’t like
- Squirrels don’t eat everything!
- Here are three foods you can use that squirrels don’t like:
- Tip #5: Keep Squirrels Away With Hot Peppers!
- Birds can eat capsaicin all day long and feel no ill effects.
- But is it safe to feed birds capsaicin?
- Tip #6: Feed them at a separate feeder
- Tip #7: Have Fun With Your Squirrels
- Tip #8: Don’t Hurt Squirrels!
- Here are some things to avoid:
- How do you stop squirrels from eating your bird food and away from your bird feeders?
- What are the best ways you have found to deter and repel squirrels?
- Related posts:
How to Get Rid of Squirrels
DIY Squirrel Repellent
If squirrels are getting into your garden, keep them away with a homemade pepper spray. Take a cup of your favorite hot sauce, add a spoonful of cayenne pepper and a capful of Murphy’s Oil Soap, and mix together. Spray the mixture in whatever areas you want the squirrels to steer clear of, like the borders of your garden. Squirrels don’t like the texture or the smell, and will stay away.
Keep Squirrels Away From Birdfeeders
Wondering how to keep a squirrel off a birdfeeder? If it’s held up by a pole or metal arm, grease it up with petroleum jelly. Squirrels can’t hold on with the slippery substance, and won’t be able to reach the birdseed.
Protect Your Grill
Make sure squirrels and other rodents don’t chew through the rubber pipeline that connects your propane tank with your grill—reinforce the entire thing with duct tape by applying duct tape in rings around it. This is a good idea for anything else in your yard made out of rubber, as this is a favorite chew toy of rodents!
Keep Squirrels Out of Your Garden
Squirrels can be one of the trickiest garden pests to deal with. They chomp on flower bulbs and other leaves, dig up your favorite plants, and otherwise love to wreck your garden. Protect it by grating some Irish Spring soap around your plants. Squirrels can’t stand the smell of it and will stay away.
Plant Mint to Repel Squirrels
Squirrels hate the aroma of mint, so plant mint (which grows easily) around gardens and trees that squirrels like to frequent. It smells great (at least, to you) and you can even pick it and use it in drinks like iced tea and mojitos.
Another Great Squirrel Repellent
If you’ve ever bitten into a shred of foil that had gotten stuck to a piece of candy, you know how unpleasant the sensation is. Rodents hate the feeling of foil between their teeth, too, so placing strips of foil in your garden mulch will help deter squirrels and some bugs. If squirrels are eating the bark of your tree, you can also wrap the trunk in foil.
For more ways to get rid of pests from all around the internet, check out our Bug and Pest Natural Remedies board on Pinterest. And don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter and follow us on Facebook for our Tip of the Day!
Although you may enjoy watching the antics of these little aerial acrobats, you probably don’t want squirrels snacking in your backyard.
Here is my big list of strategies you can use to keep squirrels out of the garden.
Grey-Squirrel-On-Garden-Fence-UK-Side-View by Ibonzer is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
Part 1. Do You Have Squirrels?
Unlike some other garden pests, squirrels are diurnal, like humans, meaning they are wakeful and feeding during the day and sleep at night.
Therefore, if you have a squirrel problem it is very likely you have seen active squirrels in your yard.
Even if you haven’t yet caught them in the act, there are a number of clues you can look for to tip you off to a squirrel’s presence in your yard.
Squirrel droppings are oblong pellets about the size of a small bean.
They are brown to reddish brown and their color will lighten as the droppings age. They will most likely be scattered but may be found in piles in areas near common feeding spots.
Squirrel droppings are similar to those of rats but a bit bigger and more barrel shaped than the more cylindrical shape of rat droppings.
Squirrels are rodents, and rodents are defined by their continuously growing teeth. Rodents are constantly driven to chew things in order to keep their incisors chiseled and to prevent them from growing to unwieldy lengths.
Unfortunately for the homeowner, squirrels sometimes decide that a wooden deck, garden structure or house makes a nice chew toy. Particularly when squirrels do not have access to nuts or other hard food sources to keep their growing teeth in check, they will resort to chewing whatever they can get their little mouths on.
Squirrels have also been known to chew through plastic garbage bins and will chew the bark off an unsuspecting tree.
Squirrels are driven by instinct to store nuts for the winter. During nut harvest season a single squirrel can bury over a hundred nuts a day!
It’s a rather clever reciprocal relationship between the squirrel and the nut tree. The tree provides food and in turn, the squirrel plants trees for the future because there is no way those little guys will remember to dig up every single nut they planted each year.
If you see squirrels digging in your yard they are most likely either burying food for the winter or digging up food they previously buried (or perhaps just trying to remember where they hid their stash!).
Sciurus carolinensis -near St Pauls Cathedral, London, England by Son of Groucho is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Okay, now onto how to keep squirrels out of the garden…
Part 2. Habitat Modification
If you have large trees around your yard, you might need to consider pruning back a few long branches to strategically reduce squirrel’s access to your home.
First, spend some time observing the squirrels in your yard. If you are concerned they may get inside your house, cutting back the branches they use to get to your roof might ease your worries.
Keep in mind that squirrels can leap across a distance of up to ten feet and some species of squirrels will nest in trees.
Grey Squirrel in a Tree – geograph.org.uk by Jeff Buck is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
Secure Roofs, Chimneys and Other Structures
In order to prevent squirrels from making their home in your house or shed you’ll need to make sure they cannot access your buildings, even from the roof or chimney.
A chimney guard or cap may be necessary if squirrels are entering through the chimney. If squirrels are accessing your roof via power lines you can cover the lines with plastic tubing so that squirrels cannot balance on them. Update: Art left this important comment in the discussion area: “Don’t cover your power lines with anything! Don’t go near them. Some power lines have cracked insulation and can be dangerous. Most are 220V in residential areas, but some are 440V. Talk to the power company for better info. Your spouse doesn’t want to be a widow(er)”
You’ll also want to make sure your garbage cans are securely closed to avoid attracting squirrels and other animals. Metal bins will be more secure than plastic if squirrel chewing is a problem in your yard.
Brick chimney, Fryšták by Pavel Ševela is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0
Remove bird feeders if squirrels are able to access them or if the birds tend to drop seeds on the ground.
If you simply must feed the birds, then you may want to invest in a squirrel-proof feeder, but squirrels have been known to outsmart some of the cleverest designs.
Using safflower seeds in your feeders may help as squirrels don’t favor them or mix cayenne pepper with your birdseed (apparently it doesn’t bother the birds).
Bird enthusiasts may have to learn to compromise, either take down the feeders to reduce squirrel (and bird) activity in your yard or keep them up and tolerate the furry critters along with the feathered ones.
Squirrel eating from bird feeder by Grimmcar
Some people suggest setting up a squirrel feeder near the garden to distract squirrels from digging in or nibbling on the garden, but this tactic is likely to backfire.
If you start deliberately feeding them you’ll only invite more squirrel problems to your yard and your neighborhood. In the absence of other food sources, squirrels may also feed at dishes of dog or cat kibble left outside, so keep these indoors or well protected.
In summer, a bird bath may also draw in parched squirrels from the neighborhood in search of a water source.
quirrel-animal-spring-meal-garden by Oldiefan is licensed under CC0 1.0
Remove Attractant Plant Matter
Squirrels most commonly feed on nuts and seeds. Consequently, the more you can keep your yard free of these, the less attractive it will be to squirrels.
If you have nut trees, keep your yard raked and free of fallen nuts. Cut back any plants that are about to go to seed or cover seed heads with paper bags if you are saving seeds.
If you have berries you’ll want to stay on top of picking them as soon as they are ripe, or cover them with netting.
Drinking squirrel in the garden of the Menthenberg patio houses near Hoge Erf at Arnhem-Schaarsbergen – panoramio by Henk Monster is licensed under CC BY 3.0
If you have a container garden on your patio you might find signs that squirrels have been digging and feeding.
Many of the tactics discussed below will work well with containers. The simplest solution may be to just keep squirrel resistant plants in your patio garden.
But if that’s not enough, or if you really want those tasty cherry tomatoes right outside your door, then try a wire mesh barrier or some of the deterrents listed below.
Part 3. Physical Barriers
If squirrels have been chewing on your house, deck or trees they will often return to chew at the same spot. Prevent further damage by covering the affected area with wire mesh.
During nut harvest time wire mesh can be laid on top of the soil in a garden bed plagued by squirrel digging. Wire mesh can also be used to make cages for garden beds or containers to protect your most valued plants.
Quarter inch galvanized mesh will keep squirrels out effectively, but keep in mind that squirrels do dig, so you may need to bury your mesh at least a few inches if you’re using it to cage a bed that doesn’t already have a frame.
Leaves Behind Wire Mesh by Lynn Greyling is licensed under CC0 1.0
Visit your local hardware store and pick up some aluminum flashing to protect the vulnerable edges of decks, houses and other wooden structures from squirrel damage.
This method can also be used to protect trees from chewing damage by squirrels. Flashing is available in a wide variety of sizes, shapes and colors.
Rigid L-shaped pieces are best for edges whereas larger flexible sheets will work better for tree protection.
Eaves-lining is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
Fencing and Netting
Unfortunately, fencing is not nearly as effective with squirrels as it is with some other common garden pest animals.
Squirrels are notoriously skilled climbers and scaling a sturdy fence is a walk in the park for a squirrel. Squirrels may also drop from overhanging branches or wires into a fenced area.
Wildlife-Squirrel-Outdoors-Squirrels-Park-Animals is licensed under CC0
However, some gardeners swear by a simple fence made from very fine plastic mesh. It is so flimsy that squirrels seem to have great difficulty climbing up it.
For best results, dig it into the ground at least a few inches to prevent them from squeezing under the fence. However, squirrels can chew through plastic, so this may or may not be effective in your yard.
P1000458 by Jim’ll is licensed under CC0 1.0
Alternatively, if you already have a more sturdy fence in place and the area is not too large, you could try covering the top of the fenced area with netting.
Secure the netting along the edge of the fence to prevent squirrels from squeezing through. Just make sure you leave yourself enough head space so you can get in to do your weeding and watering!
Applying a thick layer of leaf mulch or other organic materials on top of your garden soil will not only insulate the soil from moisture loss, it may also discourage squirrels from digging.
But some gardeners find mulching has the opposite effect and squirrels seem to relish digging in their mulch. By experimenting with different types of mulch you may find one that keeps the critters at bay. Adding a sprinkle of cayenne pepper on top of your mulch may also help.
Alternatively, a layer of wire mesh underneath will keep them from getting too far into the soil. This could be a good way to protect your bulbs over winter when squirrels go digging for nuts.
Cypress Mulch Spider Plants Green by Christopher Sessums is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Part 4. Squirrel Repellents
Next, what keeps squirrels away? Repellents can be applied in a variety of ways such as sprays, powders or soaked rags. You can use squirrel repellent to combat squirrel chewing activity in any area you’d like to protect but don’t necessary want to cover with wire mesh due to aesthetics.
Generously spray the affected area with your chosen repellent and remember to reapply often. Placing a chew decoy nearby, such as a solid log or branch, you will give the squirrel a handy alternative.
No matter which repellent you choose to use, you will need to add more periodically, especially after a rainfall. Don’t spray repellents on any plants that you plan to eat, at best the taste will be unpleasant, at worst there may be some toxicity.
One of the most effective things to spray to keep squirrels away is hot chili pepper. Squirrels like an unexpected mouthful of hot cayenne about as much as most humans, so they will not want to revisit the site of a close encounter with the burning spice.
But if you’re concerned about squirrel welfare this may not be the kindest method. Once a squirrel gets hot chili on its paws it can easily transfer to its eyes causing painful irritation or temporary blindness.
If you’re willing to risk a little squirrel discomfort for the sake of your garden, there are a number of ways to apply hot chilies as a natural squirrel repellent.
Sprinkle cayenne powder or chili flakes in your garden beds to reduce digging and protect bedding plants. Squirt some hot chili sauce on wooden structures that have been subjected to chewing damage to prevent further offenses.
You can also make a homemade repellent spray by simmering some cayenne powder, chili flakes or some fresh hot peppers in water. You could also add some onion or garlic for a more potent deterrent.
If you have a problem with squirrels climbing poles to get to your bird feeder, try mixing some cayenne pepper with vaseline and smearing it over the pole. If the vaseline doesn’t make it tricky enough for the little critters to keep their grip, then the cayenne should turn them off that tactic entirely.
There are many other suggestions for squirrel repellent out there, but none seem to be as effective as hot chili pepper.
Some commercial deterrents rely on scare tactics with predator urine from foxes or coyote, but these products don’t seem to be particularly effective. Similarly, bone meal or blood meal don’t seem to do much to keep squirrels away from the garden.
Mothballs have very limited effectiveness and are toxic to other animals and humans so should be avoided anyway.
Castor oil does seem to have some effectiveness with squirrels, voles and moles. Try making a spray with castor oil and dish soap diluted in water. Spray over vulnerable plants for protection.
Apple cider vinegar is also used by some gardeners either in a spray or by soaking rags and leaving them in containers with holes poked in them in high squirrel traffic areas.
Part 5. Squirrel Deterrants
Noise and Movement
The movement of garden pinwheel decorations, old compact discs or pie plates in the wind may deter squirrels from digging in your garden beds.
Noise deterrents seem to have limited impact on most squirrels, but motion activated sprinklers can provide some startle effect. However, squirrels can become accustomed to all kinds of sounds, noise and movement.
Rotating your use of these deterrents may prolong their effectiveness.
Flower Pinwheels by Doug Hay is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Fake owls, snakes and other predator decoys may help to deter squirrels from your yard, at least for a little while.
Look for decoy models that involve some movement, as these will look more threatening to potential prey animals. Frequently changing the location of your decoys may also make them more effective.
Owl Decoy, Broomfield Park, London by Christine Matthews is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
Probably one of the most reliable ways to reduce squirrel problems in your yard is to keep a dog or cat outside as much as possible during the daylight hours.
Some dogs and cats will chase squirrels away, but even if they don’t, squirrels will instinctively want to keep their distance from any animals they see as potential predators.
The lingering scent of pet urine will also help to deter squirrels and other garden pest animals.
Part 6. Strategic Planting
Squirrel Attracting Plants
We know that squirrels love nuts, seeds and berries, but their menu doesn’t stop there.
Squirrels will eat almost any fruit or vegetable. They love tree fruits, tomatoes, corn, sunflower seeds, grapes, kiwis and all manner of berries.
Squirrels spend a lot of time in trees, so the more trees you have the more you invite the squirrels to live and play in your yard.
Fruit Plum Tree Harvest Fruit Tree Plums Ripe is licensed under CC0 1.0
If you have a problem with squirrels in your fruit trees there are a few things you can try. A special “squirrel baffle” is designed to fit around the trunk of a tree and make it difficult for squirrels to climb the tree.
The problem with this method is that squirrels will very easily hop from one tree to the next even if the branches are a few feet apart. You’d have to baffle every tree in the area for this to be even remotely effective.
Another option is to try hanging objects like wind chimes, old pie plates or compact discs that will flash and move in the breeze.
Or simply plant more trees than you need and surrender to sharing some with your fluffy tailed visitors.
Daffodil Flowers by Petr Kratochvil is licensed under CC0 1.0
Squirrel Resistant Plants
In your flower beds there are a number of plants that squirrels are less likely to munch on.
Try planting allium, crocus, lily, marigold, hyacinth, daffodil, impatiens, geraniums or columbine if you’ve had a problem with squirrels eating your flowers.
Garlic and onions are some of the only veggies squirrels won’t touch.
I haven’t come across any squirrel repellent plants that actually cause the squirrels to want to go elsewhere.
Part 7. Get Rid Of Squirrels
If there is a squirrel nest in a tree, in your yard or in your shed or attic, you’ll need to carefully consider how to deal with it.
If there is any possibility of babies in the nest you may be required by law (depending on the laws in your area) to leave the nest alone until the babies have moved on.
Once the babies have left the nest you can make efforts to give the squirrel family a permanent eviction notice. Do this by placing some rags soaked in apple cider vinegar in a container with a few holes punched in it.
Place the container in the nest to stop squirrels from returning. Add more vinegar as the rags dry out.
Grey Squirrel Drey by Rosser1954 is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
Squirrels in Your House
If you have squirrels living in your attic or another part of your home, you will need to evict them promptly before they can cause too much damage.
This can be a tricky problem to deal with and you may need to call in a professional pest control service to ensure it is handled properly.
If you already have squirrels living in your attic, you can get a one-way door that will let the squirrels out, but not allow them to return. However, this may mean a nest of abandoned babies is left in your home, so this is really best left to the professionals.
Squirrel on the Fence by Peter Trimming is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
Hopefully you’ll find the right combination of the techniques above that will help to keep your squirrel problems manageable.
It would be really helpful to people if you would post down below what has (and hasn’t) worked for you with keeping squirrels out of the garden. Thanks!
- Get rid of moles and voles
- Get rid of rabbits
- Get rid of slugs and snails
Rarely does a subject in the gardening world attract more vitriol than that of grey squirrels. When Guardian Weekend gardening columnist Alys Fowler answered a question about how to protect fruit trees from the “furry terrorists”, plenty of you came forward with your own suggestions. Only one reader felt compelled to stand up for the squirrels. Uma Moorthy wrote:
“I know squirrels dig up bulbs and raid bird tables, but they do need to eat to survive. Red squirrels and hedgehogs were once plentiful all over the country, but are now threatened species – what is there to say that grey squirrels, however robust and plentiful now, might not go the same way?”
It is not, however, illegal to kill a squirrel: in fact several readers pointed out that under the law trapped grey squirrels cannot be released alive, as they are classed as a damaging non-native species. As Elizabeth Cook pointed out, “The only ‘humane’ part of the humane trap is that you get to chose between beating the squirrel to death or shooting it.”
An air rifle was the chosen method of dispatch for several of you, including Laurie Taylor, Julian Malein and Paul Jennings. Norman Barker recommends “a .22 air rifle (with the correct slugs) and a steady hand”, pointing out that as well as protecting the fruit, “the cadavers feed the magpies and crows and buzzards and foxes, which helps to take their attention from the smaller species of birds”. Unless you’re Peter Maitland, who says: “Surely no problem with trapped squirrels. They casserole very satisfactorily. Very green.”
If you’re not such a good shot, Graham White dispatched squirrels with a spring trap from Solway feeders. “I managed to kill one a day for eight days, and now I rarely see a grey squirrel in the garden,” he writes.
If a non-lethal method is more in tune with your ethos, there seem to be two approaches: distraction techniques or physical barriers. Many of you simply feed squirrels separately, on the grounds that they won’t bother with more tricky targets when tasty food’s laid on for them. Liz Lyall also suggested growing a cobnut tree, which will provide a far more attractive food source.
If feeding squirrels seems like a bridge too far, Jenny Storry swears by chilli flakes sprinkled liberally around trees, Maggie Dann places prickly prunings such as brambles, berberis or gooseberry bush prunings in the branches of her trees, and Rachel Atkinson suggests putting a fake owl in the branches. The “tree skirt” method Alys suggested also seems like a good one, provided you use the right material. Margaret Symonds made hers out of chicken wire, “about 15 ins. In diameter, with the edge turned up so that all the sharp bits were sticking out”.
It’s perhaps not a great reason to get a dog, but John Nancollis finds his pet a great anti-squirrel device. “In our garden we have two apple trees and in our house a dog who loves chasing squirrels. Result = 40l of cider.”
Are grey squirrels welcome visitors to your garden or a curse? Have we missed out any tactics to deter them from stealing your harvest?
Congratulations to Richard Young, Jill Tung, Suzi Day, Ruby Homawala and Andy Maxwell who all won a £50 voucher in our recent competition.
7 Garden Plants That (Really Do) Repel Squirrels
Image source: .com
I remember being devastated one spring when, as a new homeowner and a new gardener, I found all my carefully planted tulip bulbs unearthed and eaten. Squirrels were the culprits. Those furry, chattering creatures were not content with the plentiful supply of acorns from nearby trees, and they went after my new bulbs instead.
Squirrels certainly can be a nuisance to the gardener. They are avid foragers. In fact, they spend most of their time gathering food and either eating it or storing it for the future.
Squirrels are also quite persistent and will dig holes and chew through almost anything that gets in the way of their pursuit of a tasty meal. Instead of nibbling on flowers or shoots as deer and rabbits do, squirrels will dig down to pull up and devour bulbs.
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However, there are some bulb plants and other plants that squirrels usually avoid. Here are seven garden plants that repel squirrels.
Daffodils and other members of the Narcissi family can deter not only squirrels but also deer and rabbits. Squirrels do not like their taste or their smell.
Although I am a fan of the bright sunny yellow daffodil, these blooms come in orange, white and combinations of bright colors as well. Daffodils are hardy in a range of climates. They are lovely border plants and can provide an early spring burst of color between your shrubs or around your trees.
Image source: .com
Squirrels also are not fond of alliums, which are relatives of the onion family. The ornamental varieties of these plants have large, round flowers that come in white, purple, pink, yellow and blue. Edible alliums include garlic, scallions and onions. These varieties produce a strong odor that repels squirrels. Alliums are hardy perennials in many climates.
In addition to the interesting colors and patterns of their blooms, fritillaries, which are part of the Liliaceae family, have a strong scent that squirrels avoid. Fritillaries are hardy in zones 5 through 9.
These plants do well in rock gardens or as border plantings. Look for Fritillaria meleagris, which has single or double blooms in a checkboard maroon and or a red-purple or red-white pattern.
The strong scent from Galanthus bulbs may keep squirrels from foraging in your garden. There are many species of Galanthus, including perennial bulb varieties that bloom from spring well into fall.
The giant snowdrop (Galanthus elwesii) variety has large statement flowers that add drama to your garden.
Although I love the deep blue hyacinths best, these plants come in many shades of reds, purples and whites, too. These spring-flowering bulbs look impressive when planted in groups of 10 or more plants.
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Hyacinths have fragrant flowers that bloom in dense clusters, and squirrels do not like them.
What’s great about these pretty plants is that they can thrive in shady areas of your garden. The plant stems are covered with dainty bell-shaped flowers that have a strong scent that squirrels dislike, as well as bright green, sword-shaped leaves.
These plants are easy to grow and they thrive as perennials in many zones.
I know I can count on geraniums to withstand cool temperatures of spring and fall as well as plenty of hot sun in the summer. In addition, these workhorses of the flower garden have a scent that repels squirrels.
Geraniums like moist, well-drained soil. Pinch spent blooms for more color.
In conclusion, it’s a good idea to think with your nose when trying to keep squirrels away from your garden. You also might want to try sprinkling hot spices, such as chili powder or cayenne pepper, around areas they frequent in your flower or vegetable beds.
Peppermint is another natural squirrel repellent. You can plant peppermint plants or spray a mist of water with a few drops of pure peppermint oil added to it.
How do you keep squirrels out of your garden? Share your tips in the section below:
Bust Inflation With A Low-Cost, High-Production Garden. Read More Here.
Dealing with squirrels has been an ongoing problem for me in one way or another for several years. Do you have a problem with squirrels? If so, these natural squirrel repellent ideas may prove useful to you.
If you read my blog often, you may remember reading about the squirrels in my vegetable garden a few years ago. Suffice to say, it was a nightmare all around. I was at my wit’s end trying to keep them out of my home grown vegetables.
Problems caused by squirrels in the garden
Animal lovers are charmed by the acrobatic maneuvers of squirrels and find them delightful.
But when a gardener walks out into their vegetable garden to find their corn in a mess and their tomatoes scattered over the ground with exactly one bite out of each, they are anything BUT charmed.
Squirrels are a constant source of frustration for any vegetable gardener and I, for one, am always looking for new, and natural, ways for keeping squirrels out of my garden.
I am an organic gardener by nature, but when my 1000 foot vegetable garden was destroyed by squirrels two years ago, I was prepared to try anything and everything to get rid of them.
I made some squirrel repellents but was never happy with the idea that they contained moth balls, which are quite toxic, so I discontinued the use of them and started looking into other natural squirrel repellent ideas.
Even if you never see squirrels in your yard, there are lots of signs that they have been visiting your garden.
Look for shallow digging and holes around plants, small bites on vegetables (particularly tomatoes), seed heads that hat been nibbled, whole plants that have disappeared (!) and digging evidence in your plant containers.
These are all signs that Mr. Squirrel has been paying you a visit and that it might be time to take action to control him.
Let’s look at some Natural Squirrel Repellent Ideas
Keeping squirrels out of the garden is a challenge for sure, but these ideas should help.
Hot Pepper Plants and Cayenne Pepper
Hot peppers are the most often used ingredients in natural squirrel repellent remedies, it seems. You can use them in a variety of ways:
- Sprinkle crushed red pepper flakes on the ground near the plants that seem to be attracting squirrels.
- Sprinkle a light dusting of cayenne pepper right on the leaves of squirrel tempting plants. Low lying leaves are the most important ones to sprinkle.
- Mix cayenne pepper and petroleum jelly and spread it on the stems of plants at the base. Also spread it on fences, poles and other solid things near plants that squirrels like.
- Make a cayenne pepper spray to spray on the leaves of tempting plants. To do this, mix a small bottle of your favorite hot sauce with a gallon on water. Place in a spray bottle and use it directly on the leaves of the plants that the squirrels are going after.
Note: all of these remedies will need to be reapplied periodically, especially after it rains.
Squirrels also dislike the smell and taste of garlic. Make a concoction with chopped up garlic, water and vinegar.
Let the mixture sit for a few days to give the flavors a chance to combine well and spray it on plants, fences, and stakes in your vegetable garden.
Apple Cider Vinegar Spray
The acrid taste and smell of apple cider vinegar is a real turn off to squirrels. Use it as a spray on hard surfaces and fixtures in squirrel infested areas.
Note: This spray is for use on hard surfaces, and it can be sprayed 100%. If you use it on plants, it should be diluted with water first. (10 ounces to 10 gallons of water.)
Squirrel Repelling Bulbs and Plants
Use bulbs as a way of keeping squirrels out of the garden. Some of them are actually unappealing to them.
There are some bulbs and plants that squirrels really avoid due to their taste and smell. Planting this type of bulb near your vegetable garden can do a good job of keeping the squirrels away.
A few ideas for squirrel repelling bulbs are daffodils, hyacinths, allium, lily of the valley, peppermint and geranium.
Squirrels aren’t the only thing that plants will repel. Lots of plants are great at repelling insects. See my list of mosquito repelling plants here.
Peppermint Essential Oil is a Natural Squirrel Repellent
Squirrels don’t like the strong scent of peppermint. In the same way that a live peppermint plant will deter them, peppermint essential oils also can be used.
Soak cotton balls in peppermint oil and place them here and there on jar lids around plants in your garden that the squirrels like. The baits will need to be re-soaked periodically.
You can also make a peppermint essential oil spray with the ratio of one drop of peppermint essential oil to one ounce of vinegar and use it to spray on plants.
Other Natural Squirrel Repellent Ideas
If the remedies don’t work at keeping squirrels out of the garden, then it might be time for some more drastic measures.
Motion detecting lights, scarecrows, high frequency sound machines, owl decoys, and other tools are used to scare squirrels. Some friends of mine have a huge farm property and Randy has a vegetable garden which gives her prizes every year at the State Fair.
When I visited recently, I asked Randy how she keeps the squirrels away from it and she said it was this amazing sculpture that she had made.
The sculpture is huge, has lights that come on when anything approaches the garden and does a great job of keeping the squirrels away from it.
Using Cats and Dogs
The last few dogs that we had love to chase squirrels and this is one behavior that I don’t discourage.
If you have a dog or cat in your yard that chases the squirrels every time they visit, it is unlikely that you will have much of a squirrel problem.
Not all dogs deter squirrels. When I had my squirrel invasion, the dogs I had then had no interest in the squirrels! Other times (and other dogs) proved just the opposite!
Sometimes the answer to a squirrel problem is simply to trap them and remove them to another location.
Place sunflower seeds, small pieces of corn on the cob or other threats that squirrels like in a squirrel trap. Place the trap near the area where you know the squirrels visit.
Once the squirrel gets trapped, release it in some far away place (or they will just return if you release near your home!)
Remove things that attract squirrels
You may be unknowingly attracting squirrels in your attempt to bring other wildlife into the garden. The bird seed that the birds love is also a favorite food of squirrels.
Place bird feeders away from your vegetable garden area if possible, and be sure to clean up around them. The smell of seeds and bits of fruit can really be attractive to squirrels.
Also, make sure that your garbage bins are closed to keep temptation away. There is no sense in sending out a welcome mat if you want to keep squirrels at bay!
Give them an alternative food choice
This may seem like an oxymoron, but sometimes giving the squirrels their own food supply can be the answer.
If you have tried everything to keep squirrels away and they still keep returning to your garden, try setting up a distraction station somewhere in your yard that is some distance away from your veggies.
Set up a food station with squirrel tempting treats like sunflower seeds, nuts and other treats. This will attract the squirrels away from your vegetables and to other areas of the yard.
Just be sure the station is [positioned well away from your edible vegetables. Don’t forget to keep water here too. My entire crop of tomatoes each had one bite out of them and I am sure the squirrels were mainly thirsty that day.
Cages for Vegetables
Squirrels love vegetables, in particular corn. (My squirrel problem was never a problem until I decided to plant corn in the vegetable garden.)
If all else fails, cages may be your only option.
Photo Credit: Flickr: Hardworkinghippy
One of the best natural squirrel repellent ideas is simply to keep them out! The squirrels cannot eat when they can’t get into the vegetable area. Think about making tall wire cages.
Be sure the garden beds have tops (bird netting works well) as well as sides, or the squirrels will just climb up and in. Row covers also work for smaller veggies.
A note on Predators.
Both hawks and owls love to prey on squirrels. My husband is convinced that our squirrel population is so much higher because wooded land near by has been built up with houses and the owls are less plentiful.
Find out what you can about attracting owls and hawks to the area to see if this helps.
If you don’t have live owls living nearby, think about investing in some owl decoys. They are designed to scare away squirrels and other rodents.
Have you found other natural methods effective at keeping squirrels out of your garden? Share your natural squirrel repellent in the comments below!
Pin this post on Natural Squirrel Repellent Ideas
Would you like a reminder of this post for keeping squirrels out of your garden? Just pin this image to one of your gardening boards on Pinterest.
Admin Note: This post first appeared on the blog in April of 2017. I have updated the post with additional tips, more photos, a printable check list and video for you to enjoy.
Active Time 30 minutes Total Time 30 minutes Difficulty easy Estimated Cost $10 – $50
- Cayenne Pepper
- Peppermint Essential Oils
- Squirrel Cages
- Motion Detectors
- Vegetable Cages
- Print out the check list below to help plan for dealing with squirrels this year.
NATURAL SQUIRREL REPELLENT IDEAS
- Hot pepper plants
- Cayenne pepper on the leaves of plants.
- Peppermint essential oil on cotton balls in the garden
- Garlic and vinegar spray with water
- Apple cider vinegar spray on leaves of plants
- Motion detector lights
- Large statues in the garden
- High Frequency sound machines
- Cats and Dogs will keep squirrels away
- Squirrel traps to trap and move squirrels
- Move bird feeders away from vegetable garden
- Keep garbage bins away too
- Set up a squirrel feeding station for their own food supply
- Grow vegetables in cages.
- Plant bulbs that deter squirrels such as daffodils, hyacinths, allium, garlic, lily of the valley, peppermint and geraniums.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
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- Premium Bird Repellent Fake Owl Decoy for Garden 16 in. Tall – Motion Activated & Solar Powered Scarecrow Diverter – Flashing Eyes & Frightening Sound – for Birds, Mice, Squirrels, Rabbits & More
- ZOVENCHI Solar Ultrasonic Animal Repeller, Waterproof Solar Animal Repeller Rodent and Pest Repeller Cats, Dogs, Mice, Squirrel Repellent, Motion Activated with Flashing LED Light
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission from the sale, but the price is the same for you. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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Stopping Squirrels and Chipmunks
Every single gardener likely has a story about squirrels and chipmunks that have eaten their bulbs or dug up their treasured plants. I have gone into battle with these mischievous creatures plenty of times. One year, I had a large container of annuals on my doorstep, and every night when I came home from work, two or three of the plants would be dug up, lying on the ground withering. I’d plant them again, and the squirrels would dig them up the next day. This went on for some time. Finally I decided to try sprinkling the soil with cayenne pepper, and it worked. Normally you’d have to keep applying the pepper after each rain or every time you water the container, but I found that my squirrel lost interest after that and went on to bother someone else.
As exasperating as these furry neighbors can be, there are a several things we can do to coexist on more friendly terms. First of all, think about why squirrels and chipmunks do what they do. The critters eat nuts, leaves, berries, roots, and seeds. Generally there is enough food for them in our backyard habitats, and they don’t become pests. Squirrels spend much of their day burying little stashes of food in multiple places around their territory. That’s why they are digging into the nice, soft soil you’ve just prepared. Chipmunks commonly store their food in one place and are delighted when they happen across a squirrel stash or your bulbs. As you can imagine, when one of these animals finds your bulb plantings, they think they’ve just arrived at an all-you-can-eat buffet.
In hot, dry summers, squirrels and chipmunks be looking for water, too, and this is when they might get into the birdbath or vegetable garden. I learned about this firsthand one summer evening when the little devils harvested my nice, ripe tomatoes. They climbed a tree to dine in peace, and then dropped the half-eaten red bombs on my dinner guests! I have since made sure there is a clean supply of water for all of the wildlife in my garden, and they’ve left my tomatoes alone.
Knowledge is power, and daffodils can be your first line of defense. Squirrels and chipmunks do not like the smell or taste of daffodils. Planting them together with your other bulbs can help mask the scent of tulips and help protect them. Bulb cages, bought or homemade with chicken wire, work well for small plantings. If you have a large area to protect, try covering it with chicken wire after your fall planting is done. Tack down the wire and cover it with a thin layer of mulch to hide it. Remove the barrier in early spring as soon as you see your bulbs coming up.
Also, you can help hide your bulbs by spreading an even layer of mulch over the soil after you plant. Squirrels and chipmunks recognize freshly dug soil, so without that mask of mulch, they can see right where you did your bulb planting.
A number of repellents on the market today are not harmful to your family or other backyard wildlife. One such product is Woodstream Get Away Squirrel, which uses capsaicin (the chemical that makes chile peppers hot) as a deterrent. Many gardeners have luck by drenching the soil in plant containers with castor oil repellent, sold for mole control. Other repellents use predator urine to frighten rodents away. All of these products need to be reapplied after a time and certainly after a rain. If you find that squirrels and chipmunks are eating berries, tomatoes, or anything else you had hoped to harvest, covering plants in heavy-duty netting might be your best bet.
- By Peggy Anne Montgomery
While we normally think of squirrels as nut and fruit lovers (or those critters that habitually empty your bird feeders) they are also particularly attracted to several vegetable crops: corn, tomatoes, mushrooms, pole beans, and chard. They prefer sweet crops, so anything ripe and ready for the picking is fair game to squirrels.
Due to their capability to cross tree limbs or climb fences with superb agility, they can be tricker to keep out your vegetable garden than unwanted visitors like rabbits or deer. However, it can be done and there are a number of humane ways to do so. Trap and release is effective, but if you are squeamish in that respect, try methods that target their senses.
Tastes that attract or repel squirrels
As mentioned, squirrels love sweet corn. A strategically placed large feeder, one close to a squirrel’s home area, might be enough of a deterrent to keep your garden intact. Make sure the feeder is far from your bird feeders, too, to give squirrels a place of their own.
An easy-close 10-pound bag of Wagner’s Cracked Corn is available for under $10. Amazon customers remark on the brand’s excellent quality and product “freshness,” and they attest to the fact that squirrels “love this stuff.”
One customer indicated her squirrels preferred pumpkin seed, another squirrel favorite that could deter them from munching on your crops. One of the cheapest pumpkin seed packages on Amazon received 4.5 out of 5 stars; you’ll get a pound for $5 plus shipping. Try mixing the two products.
What tastes do squirrels dislike? Dust your crops with anything hot and spicy: cayenne pepper, capsaicin, black pepper, or Thai spices. You’ll need to reapply after the rain or watering.
Scent Based Squirrel Repellents
If alternative foods don’t work or you don’t want to encourage squirrels more than necessary, add a scented repellent to your garden. Plantskydd sells an organic small critter repellent that lasts year-round and is safe around your vegetable crops. It will cover up to 4200 square feet.
At $40 for 7 pounds, it’s not cheap and it doesn’t seem entirely effective against rabbits. But all customer reviews indicate success at keeping squirrels at bay. One customer even updated her review 13 months later, indicating her garden remained squirrel-free.
You will have to re-apply the product after new growth. Luckily, the packaging is extra easy: just turn using the handle on the bottom of the bag and sprinkle.
Ultrasonic Sound to Repel Squirrels
Ultrasonic devices have been designed that aim to repel squirrels, mice, and rats. The $40 T3-R alternates frequencies to deter pests at 135 decibels. The frequency emitted is inaudible to humans, but also inaudible to dogs and cats, as they hear at a lower frequency than squirrels and rats. The unit claims to work within 1-2 weeks.
The drawbacks? The device only has a 6-foot cord, so an extension cord may be required to reach your vegetable garden. Also, the device is rainproof but the manufacturer advises to keep it sheltered. A simple tarp would seem to be effective.
Although not many customers have reviewed it yet, the ones who did indicated the unit’s three speakers did an effective job of keeping out vermin. Customers are especially pleased with the manufacturer’s customer service, pest advice, and money-back guarantee. We plan to keep an eye on this unit.
Motion-activated sprinkler to keep squirrels away
For $50, this #1 Amazon best-selling motion-activated sprinkler with over 2000 consumer reviews may do the trick. The Contech CRO101 Scarecrow will briefly squirt any critter, regardless of whether or not it was invited, when it enters the surrounding territory. Therefore, if your outdoor pets frequent the garden area, they will also be a target. This unit will provide coverage for up to 1000 square feet.
The Contech device uses a 9-volt battery and comes with a two-year limited warranty.
Garden cages to fence out squirrels
If these sensory methods fail, you may have to enclose your garden. Regular fence perimeters will not work well, given squirrels’ ability to scale and climb with ease. Instead, you’ll need a full enclosure. This method will be incredibly effective, but will also present a burden to the gardener, who will need to find his/her own way in.
One flexible option is to use a spool of bird netting. You can easily wrap this lightweight netting around oddly shaped plants or drape it atop the entire garden. For permanent garden structures, a wooden frame can be built with netting enclosing the structure. A well-placed door grants easy access to humans, but not squirrels.
At $20 for 7×100 foot netting, Easy Gardener netting is an economical way to protect your vegetable garden from all pests except insects. While consumers agree this product does its job, beware that it is a thinner material than metal mesh and may tear easily.
Creative Commons Flickr photo courtesy of BenGrantham
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Squirrels can very often find their way inside the home or business where they like to set up home making nests for their young. It is normally the attic, loft or roof void where squirrels have chosen to inhabit and where they are being a problem, such as causing a fire hazard by chewing at electrical wiring.
Outdoors, squirrels are often a nuisance as they steal and eat bird food or they make a mess in the garden foraging for food in borders or vegetable plots.
We supply indoor Electronic Repellers and outdoor mains electric or battery operated Ultrasonic Repellers that will drive squirrels out of the home, business or garden. We also stock a Water Jet Spray Repeller to scare off squirrels with regulated blasts of water as well as a squirrel smell Repellent and Deterrent Spray which will drive away these rodent pests.
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8 Effective Ways To Keep Squirrels Off Your Bird Feeders (2020)
It’s incredibly challenging to keep squirrels away from bird feeders!
I know this statement is obvious, but whether you love ’em or hate ’em, at some point, almost every backyard birder has to deal with squirrels trying to stage a hostile takeover of their bird food.
I like squirrels and want them in my backyard. I enjoy watching them, and they are as much a part of nature as birds.
I only want to see ONE squirrel at a time (maybe two), and they need to be ON THE GROUND. Unfortunately, these ravenous rodents can quickly become a nuisance for many reasons, including their voracious appetite, feeder dominance, amazing athletic ability, and ability to chew through almost anything!
Do you see any squirrels on my feeders?
Below is a LIVE look at my bird feeding station. We have at least eight squirrels that commonly visit our backyard and periodically one of them can be observed on my bird feeders. Unfortunately, I violate Tip #2 below, and it’s relatively common to see a squirrel leap from the trees!
- *Watch all of our LIVE bird feeder cameras HERE.*
Seriously, how do you keep squirrels off your bird feeders?
After doing lots of research and experimenting at home, I have put together eight strategies that can help prevent and stop the carnage that squirrels can wreak on your bird food supply.
And the best news?
None of the tips below hurt squirrels. I do not agree with or recommend any strategy that puts these small mammals in danger. As I said before, I want to feed the squirrels, just not from my bird feeders. 🙂
8 Tips To Keep Squirrels Off Your Bird Feeders
Tip #1: Invest in a Squirrel-Proof Bird Feeder Pole
By installing a quality squirrel-proof bird feeder pole, you can eliminate most squirrel problems.
It’s pretty simple. If squirrels can’t climb up to the bird feeders, then they are stuck eating the food that falls to the ground.
When it comes to squirrel-proof bird feeder poles, you have two options:
A. Buy a pole that is manufactured specially to prevent squirrels.
For example, I used to own the Squirrel Stopper Pole, and not one single critter EVER got past the attached spring-loaded baffle. (This year I built a more heavy-duty bird feeder pole due to the high number of bird feeders I was using. 🙂 )
A squirrel baffle is merely a contraption that prevents squirrels (and other small mammals) from climbing up your bird feeder pole. Check out the spring-loaded baffle on the Squirrel Stopper pole below:
Squirrel Stopper Pole Check Price on Amazon
Not only is this pole great at preventing squirrels from climbing up, but it holds up to 8 bird feeders and looks “classy” in my backyard.
- RELATED: The Best Bird Feeder Poles – Squirrel-Proof, Sturdy, & Stylish
B. Squirrel-proof your existing pole by attaching baffles.
If you like your current bird feeder pole and want to keep it, but it wasn’t designed to stop squirrels, I have great news!
Squirrel baffles can be purchased separately (or made) and attached to your existing pole.
In general, there are two different styles/shapes of baffle you will encounter:
Torpedo Baffle Pictured Above (Also referred to as Stovepipe or Cone): Audubon Steel Squirrel Baffle
Both of these baffles are designed to attach below the bird feeder. As squirrels climb, they are not able to get around the baffle and therefore can’t eat your bird food!
*Squirrels can jump vertically up to four feet high! Make sure to attach a squirrel baffle high enough on the pole that they can’t just jump over and on top of it.*
For everything you need to know about squirrel baffles, check out this article:
- The BEST Squirrel Baffles For ANY Situation (11 Ideas!)
Tip #2: Place Your Bird Feeders Wisely
Did you know that squirrels can jump as far as 10 feet horizontally?
Don’t believe me?
Here is a video I created of the squirrels jumping onto my bird feeding station!
Unfortunately, my bird feeding station will never be 100% squirrel proof, and it’s because my feeders are too close to the trees you see in the above video. Because of this fact, I have to rely on the other strategies discussed in this post!
As you are deciding where to place bird feeders in your backyard, remember that they will be subject to an aerial assault from squirrels!
To prevent squirrels from making the jump, find a suitable area that is at least 10 feet away from any trees, tree branches, houses, decks, power lines, or anything else that they can climb to use as a launchpad. My feeding station is only about 5 feet away from the nearest trees, and the squirrels make that leap easily!
It will probably be the most fun to place the feeders just a bit out of the squirrels reach, this way you get to observe them TRY to make the jump but miss, which can provide some entertainment. 🙂
Tip #3: Invest in a Squirrel-Proof Bird Feeder
If you are not able to stop squirrels from reaching your bird feeders, it may be time to turn your feeders into Fort Knox.
Luckily, many different bird feeders allow birds to eat but cut off the food supply for squirrels. Some work great; some fail miserably.
Here are the THREE most popular strategies used by different styles of squirrel-proof bird feeders:
A. Weight Sensitive:
Access to the bird food is denied if there is too much weight on the perches of the feeder. Most birds are MUCH lighter than squirrels, and they can eat comfortably. But when a squirrel jumps on, typically a door closes, and they are not able to eat the food!
For example, here is a short video of the weight-sensitive perches in action on my Absolute II hopper feeder: Check Price on Amazon
Some feeders will be surrounded by a metal cage to stop squirrels. The openings in the enclosure are large enough for small birds to fly through but too tiny for squirrels to fit inside. Cages also work great to keep blackbirds off your feeders.
- RELATED: 3 Proven Ways To Get Rid of Starlings TODAY
C. Battery Powered Feeders That Spin:
These may be the most fun! When a squirrel climbs on the feeder, the motor kicks in to start spinning, which tosses them off!
For a list of my favorite squirrel-proof bird feeders, check out the following article:
The 6 Best Squirrel Proof Bird Feeders (Finally Stop Wasting Your Food!)
Tip #4: Offer foods that squirrels don’t like
There may be locations you want to place your feeders that are almost impossible to keep squirrels away from, such as on a deck, window, or near a tree.
In this case, it may be necessary to be very selective about the foods you are going to offer.
And here’s the good news:
Squirrels don’t eat everything!
Squirrels go crazy over nuts, peanuts, sunflower seed, corn, and fruit. They love these foods! You can’t blame them for trying to get to your feeders.
But can you believe there are a handful of foods that will attract lots of birds AND prevent squirrels at the same time?
Here are three foods you can use that squirrels don’t like:
A. Safflower Seed:
Cardinals, chickadee’s, titmice, and many finches love this small, white seed while squirrels don’t. Blackbirds (starlings and grackles) also don’t eat safflower seed, which makes me think this may be a miracle food!
- Related: Safflower Seed 101: Everything You Need To Know!
B. Nyjer Seed:
Goldfinches can’t get enough, but squirrels don’t bother with nyjer seed.
C. White Proso Millet:
I think it’s too small for squirrels to mess with, but doves, juncos, and sparrows will undoubtedly be happy it’s available.
Tip #5: Keep Squirrels Away With Hot Peppers!
When I first learned about the strategy of stopping squirrels with hot peppers, it sounded strange to me but made a lot of sense once I learned more.
Have you ever eaten a hot pepper? If so, you know that it can make your mouth a bit uncomfortable.
The “heat“ that you feel in your mouth after eating a hot pepper is caused by a compound called capsaicin. The reason we feel pain, discomfort, and burning after eating hot peppers is that capsaicin messes with specific nerve endings in our mouth.
Here is the exciting part: Only mammals are affected by capsaicin! Squirrels included.
Birds can eat capsaicin all day long and feel no ill effects.
So to take advantage, many bird foods add capsaicin as a powder coat, liquid coat, or as part of a suet mix to stop squirrels from eating.
Time and time again, it has been shown that having capsaicin-treated bird food is one of the best squirrel repellants you can utilize. All it takes is one smell or taste, and they will start looking elsewhere. 🙂
But is it safe to feed birds capsaicin?
Products that contain capsaicin have been on the market for a long time now, and there are no reports of any birders or ornithologists that have spoken to the adverse health consequences for birds.
Here are a few capsaicin bird food products to try:
Cole’s Hot Meats Sunflower Seed View Price – Amazon
C&S Hot Pepper Suet View Price – Amazon
Tip #6: Feed them at a separate feeder
This tip runs counter to almost everything else on this list.
To prevent and deter squirrels from accessing and eating all of your food and scaring away birds, try feeding them at a separate feeder just for them!
For example, underneath my bird feeders, I have a tray that is always filled with sunflower just for the squirrels!
Woodlink Tray Feeder: View Cost – Amazon
By providing an unlimited supply of food for squirrels in a separate feeder, you are hoping they won’t even bother going through all the extra work to reach your bird feeders.
This tip works well as a squirrel deterrent. I use this same strategy to help control House Sparrows too!
- RELATED: 6 Proven Tips to STOP House Sparrows From Taking Over Your Feeders
Make sure the feeder is in an easy spot for the squirrels to find and fill it with an inexpensive food they love, like corn and sunflower.
- RELATED: 6 Feeders That Help Distact Squirrels!
Tip #7: Have Fun With Your Squirrels
We have already established that squirrels will do about anything to reach bird food, and they are incredibly determined and acrobatic.
Knowing this, try having some fun and make them work hard for their meal!
There are numerous squirrel feeders designed with human entertainment in mind. One of my favorites is a large wheel that features cobs of corn on the ends. If the squirrels don’t balance themselves right, it the wheel starts to spin around. The squirrels eventually get to eat, but it’s not easy!
- Woodlink Squirrel-Go-Round Feeder View $ on Amazon
Here is a spinning squirrel feeder in action:
Tip #8: Don’t Hurt Squirrels!
Unfortunately, out of frustration, many people have come up with ways to keep squirrels off their bird feeders that hurt or even kill them.
I don’t agree with these methods. There are too many effective strategies that work as squirrel deterrent and repellant AND keep squirrels safe.
So my final recommendation is to avoid anything that will injure squirrels. I know these pesky rodents can be overwhelming, but please resist any temptations to eliminate them permanently.
Try to appreciate squirrels as part of nature and remember they are just trying to survive like the birds that visit your feeders!
Here are some things to avoid:
Not only will you be sentencing the squirrels to a painful death, but what if your dog accidentally ingests some?
Glue or anything else sticky on your bird feeder pole:
It not only has to be incredibly painful to have their fur ripped out, but it’s almost impossible for squirrels to remove the glue, and they may ingest some as they try to groom themselves.
Petroleum jelly or grease on your bird feeder pole:
Similar to glue, this is incredibly difficult for squirrels to get off their coat. They might ingest some and get sick, or their fur will clump together, leaving them susceptible to cold weather.
There is nothing you can shoot at a squirrel that will not hurt it, except a camera.
Letting your cat outside to kill the squirrels:
Cats LOVE to prey on and kill birds. If you want to see more birds at your feeder and fewer squirrels, do you think letting your cat outside is a great idea?
Killing the squirrels in your backyard is a classic example of treating the symptom and not the problem. Squirrels breed quickly, so you can always expect more to arrive. Using a combination of Tips 1-7 above will work much better as long-term solutions to your squirrel problems than murder.
By utilizing some of the tips listed above, it is entirely possible to repel, deter, and keep squirrels off your feeders and stop them from eating all of your bird food!
I have had the best luck by combing tips #1, #2, and #4 together.
Most importantly, try to learn to appreciate squirrels and enjoy the challenges they provide.
Who knows, once you get the squirrels under control and off your bird feeders, you may end up enjoying their crazy antics. And just so you know, The Squirrel Lover’s Club is always looking for new members!
Before you go, I want your help to make this article even better. Can you help answer some of these questions in the comments below?
How do you stop squirrels from eating your bird food and away from your bird feeders?
What are the best ways you have found to deter and repel squirrels?
Thanks for reading, and good luck!