Although squirrels are cute little animals, they are not welcome in our gardens!
These little deviants are constantly looking for food, so if you don’t have a nut tree nearby, prepare yourself for a long battle because they can completely ruin your fruit and vegetables. Squirrels often dig around plants and eat the seeds, and they also steal spring crops and delicious fruits.
To make things even harder, they breed quite quickly and multiply like crazy. Soon, you will be dealing with an entire squirrel population.
So, if you want to enjoy gardening properly, you have to find some ways to keep squirrels at bay. Keep reading to learn some handy methods on how to deter squirrels!
How To Deter Squirrels
It can be a hard task to get rid of squirrels, especially if they have multiplied like bunnies. Luckily, there are numerous methods that you can use to prevent squirrel damage and keep these critters away from your vegetable garden.
You can either buy repellents and apply them, or you can do research to find some natural ways to get rid of them. There are a wide variety of natural squirrel repellents.
So, without further adieu, let’s dive in!
1. Use Squirrel Deterrent
If you are having squirrel problems in your garden, the easiest way to get rid of them is to simply buy an animal repellent. There are various products specifically made for deterring squirrels.
These repellents are usually made of a liquid that mimics the urine of their natural predators — for squirrels, that would be coyote and fox urine. They are easily applied as they come as repellent sprays in spray bottles.
All you have to do is frequently apply them to your garden, roof, or attic. Carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions displayed on the packaging.
2. Plant Squirrel-proof Flowers
There are certain flowering plants that squirrels hate, and they can’t even stand being near them. You can use this information to your advantage and plant these exact flowers in your garden. Lucky for you, they are some of the prettiest flowering plants.
So, not only will you solve your squirrel problems, but you will also end up with the most beautiful and colorful garden that will immediately cheer you up!
There are different types of flowering plants that squirrels simply dislike, so you can try and combine different colors.
Some of these flowers include:
3. Remove Any Food Sources
Squirrels are just trying to survive, so it’s no surprise if you see them near trash cans and compost piles. However, they are also attracted to other food sources like bird seeds, sunflower seeds, grubs, nuts, fruits, and so on! This is also a great way to deter raccoons.
Let’s look closer.
I am aware that leaving your pets with a full bowl of food and refilling it as needed is the best approach to feeding them outside.
Squirrels, however, will take advantage of this and not only steal from your pets, but also wreck everything else.
The ideal option would be to bring them indoors at night or put them in your garage.
Use the lid and tightly close the bin if you are making compost in one. If you have a garage, you can place the bin there to keep squirrels out.
If you prefer compost piles, consider encircling the pile with an electric fence. However, keep in mind that these animals particularly enjoy climbing, so a regular fence is insufficient.
Squirrels will undoubtedly come by for a feast if they are in your area looking for food and see fruits or nuts on the ground, especially if you are growing trees like acorns.
Naturally, you won’t cut down your trees, but you can gather any nuts or fruits that are on the ground before nightfall.
They will also try to steal food and water from bird feeders. Squirrels are great climbers, so you will have to find ways to keep squirrel-proof bird feeders. Now, you can either place the bird food so it is out of reach from these critters — such as isolated poles instead of hanging them on eaves or trees; or you can use feeders that squirrels simply don’t like. For instance, squirrels find safflower seeds bitter, while birds rather enjoy them!
You can also add some cayenne pepper to your bird feeders to keep squirrels away as birds cannot taste capsaicin. This method is also very helpful in deterring magpies.
4. Use Strong Scents
Squirrels absolutely hate certain scents as well!
They can’t even stand being near these smells, let alone enter the garden and steal food. Luckily, there are many natural products that you can use to create a natural squirrel repellent.
Instead of using chili peppers to make delicious hot sauce, you can use them for a different purpose, which is getting rid of these annoyances. Dried cayenne pepper will do the trick. It should be dispersed in areas where these animals might gather. Alternatively, you can make a spray by combining a can of dried cayenne pepper (or any other spicy pepper) with a gallon of water.
Another natural way includes making your own DIY vinegar solutions. Spray the vinegar mixture—whether diluted or undiluted—wherever you believe squirrels might congregate. You can either spray them or soak a hardware cloth. However, make sure to avoid apple cider vinegar because its sweet scent attracts squirrels.
You can also add garlic to your vinegar concoction — just let it sit for a few days so that the flavors can combine.
If you want your garden to smell nice, you can always consider buying essential oils to keep these critters at bay. Spray your property with a few drops of peppermint oil mixed with water.
Pure peppermint oil is quite expensive, but there’s no need to use it when processed peppermint oil works just as well.
5. Install Fences Or Wires
For those of you who have vegetable gardens, I am aware of how challenging it can be to keep fruits and vegetables safe from these vile creatures. Therefore, covering your fruits and veggies would be a great solution!
The best approach to preventing squirrels from damaging your valuable crops is to install an electric fence around your vegetable garden.
Don’t worry, an electric fence will just deter squirrels; it won’t kill them or seriously harm them.
To keep squirrels out of your vegetable garden, install two strips of electric fencing, one at a height of about 6 inches and the other at about 12 inches.
If you don’t want to hurt these little animals, then you can consider installing chicken wire instead.
Using row covers can also be very helpful when dealing with squirrel problems, and you could even consider bird netting.
6. Get A Dog
If you get a dog, it will probably just end up chasing the little squirrels. A dog will hunt the squirrels and probably scare them so much that they wouldn’t even think of coming back to your garden.
You can also play another fear card — buying a decoy owl will scare the squirrels away!
7. Set Up Live Traps
One of the greatest DIY solutions for catching live squirrels and moving them to another location is a live trap. It is a more compassionate method of eradicating these cute animals without harming or killing them.
Purchase a squirrel trap from a nearby retailer and fill it with food that attracts squirrels, such as nuts and seeds.
They will come to eat the food and then get trapped. Don’t worry, you won’t do any harm to these sweet creatures — simply relocate them somewhere far from your garden, and make sure to bring enough food and water so that they can survive for a longer period of time.
8. Consider Motion-activated Sprinklers
Motion-activated sprinklers are primarily designed to keep rabbits and cats away from gardens, though they can be used for any type of animal that tends to jump around your backyard and steal delicious fruit from your garden.
You should place the sprinklers in locations where squirrels are most likely to go. If you notice squirrel damage in certain places, this is where you should put the sprinklers. As soon as they come back, the water will scare them away.
In case you are also having trouble with rabbits in your garden, consider adding coffee grounds because they will keep them away from your delicious crops.
9. Add Mulch
If the squirrels in your area tend to dig out planted bulbs, you should know that mulching is the best way to protect your planted bulbs.
Squirrels usually don’t like mulch, so they will stay away. However, if they are persistent, you can also try adding heavy stones that these little animals can’t move. This way, you will ensure that your planted bulbs grow and develop.
How To Tell If You Have Squirrel Problems
One of the biggest telltale signs that squirrels have been paying a visit to your garden is missing fruit. They simply love soft and juicy foods like squash, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and melons. In most cases, they don’t even finish eating them, so you end up with half-eaten fruit all over the place!
Another thing that they love snacking on are spring bulbs. During their autumn foraging, squirrels enjoy digging up spring bulbs, both to consume the bulbs and to use the resulting holes to store their foraged nuts.
We also mentioned that bird feeders can attract these little creatures because they simply need some refreshment and food. However, we then explained how to keep them away from bird feeders as well.
You might also see digging in the soil of the container if you’re planting flowers or veggies in containers. In their search for insects or other treats in the containers, squirrels and chipmunks are known to uproot plants. Additionally, if the weather has been particularly dry they can dig to reach the damp soil.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What natural smells do squirrels hate?
They hate the smell of vinegar (except apple cider vinegar), garlic, essential oils (especially peppermint oil), and also the scent and taste of hot peppers. You can use any of these for your garden in case you are having squirrel problems.
2. What is a non-lethal way to deter squirrels?
You can use any of the abovementioned natural squirrel repellents if you want to deter squirrels. This includes anything that has to do with strong scents because the squirrels will simply smell the garden and run away.
You can also install motion-activated sprinklers to keep them away, or you can plant squirrel-proof flowers. Removing any food sources from the garden is another great way because the squirrels won’t have any reason to come back.
Ultimately, you can use live traps — they will trap the squirrels without harming them so you can simply relocate them far away from your home, just make sure that you bring them some water and food!
To Sum Up
I hope that you found some useful ways for how to deter squirrels!
I always recommend first beginning with some natural methods, whether it is pest control or you are dealing with critters like raccoons, rabbits, or squirrels. If these natural ways don’t seem to be efficient, you can always try some products made specifically to keep certain animals at bay.
Whatever you choose, please try not to harm them because they are a part of nature and just trying to survive!
Even though they can cause serious damage, just remember that they are hungry and looking for food; so if you can, try and use methods that won’t harm them (applying vinegar and hot peppers are great for this!).
Until next time!
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