Squirrels are cute when they’re scurrying around in the trees, but if they get into your garden’s fall bulbs or any of your bird feeders, they become outright menaces.
While actual mechanical traps and poisons are available, the low impact solution is making your own squirrel repellent.
Chemical products, household items, and even certain foods can all deter squirrels to a degree, but one ingredient seriously sends squirrels packing and won’t harm your garden or other animals. The squirrel kryptonite is cayenne pepper. Cultivate your own or raid your pantry, and you’ll be well on your way to making any of these proven repellents.
1. Wet Repellent
Fill a pot with 1 1/2 quarts of water, and bring it to a boil over the stove before adding 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, two chopped onions, and a single chopped jalapeño. Allow this mixture to boil for about 30 minutes, and then remove it from the heat. Let the mixture cool, strain out the vegetables, and pour the remains into a spray bottle using a funnel.
Congratulations, you’ve just made pepper spray. Spray it in all the spots where you want to deter squirrels from venturing, such as flower beds, screened-in porches, and around bird feeders.
2. Dry Repellents
If you are trying to keep squirrels away from bird feeders or flower beds, try this dry repellent. From your spice rack, gather paprika, cayenne pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. Sprinkle a mixture of these spices where you don’t want squirrels to dig or tread. You can even mix them in with your wild birdseed to keep the squirrels from eating it.
Don’t worry, about the spicy infusion irritating birds that use the feeder. They lack the same taste buds to actually transmit signals of heat, so for them it’s actually a treat that just makes the seed taste even better.
3. Location-Specific Repellents
Squirrels can be very destructive to your fall planting beds. Their foraging drive is in high gear during the fall because they are preparing for their winter hibernation. It is because of this that they search for bulbs and other fall seeds.
If you want to keep squirrels from digging up your expensive fall bulbs, mix a detergent with a few tablespoons of cayenne pepper. Pour the mixture around the perimeter of your flower beds.
Grease Is the Word
Squirrels enjoy feeding at bird feeders just as much as the birds do. However, they can be destructive and even drive your birds away. To keep squirrels away, place the feeder on a tall metal pole coated with cooking grease, like Crisco. Squirrels may try to climb the pole, but they will soon find that it is too slippery to climb and that their feet are covered in grease. They will avoid climbing the pole again because it takes too much work to clean their feet after touching the pole.
WARNING: Cooking oils can hurt other animals, such as household cats and dogs, when ingested. If you’re going to use this method, consider your placement carefully so that only the squirrels (or birds) can reach the cooking grease.