Whether you own a small garden in your yard or a prize-winning one that is the envy of your neighbors, no one wants their garden taken over by squirrels.
Squirrels can cause a big mess in your garden. They can also wreak more havoc in your house if they gain entrance.
Squirrels are pretty destructive. Apart from eating your entire vegetable garden, they also dig holes that can ruin the plants’ roots. Keeping them out of your property is very important. But it is not always an easy task. Sometimes, it can even be frustrating. You may have tried several squirrel repellents without seeing any positive results.
Below are some of the most effective natural means of getting rid of those nasty nutcrackers.
12 Natural squirrel repellents
Here are the top 12 items you can use to help keep squirrels away.
Cat and dogs
The use of cats and dogs to control squirrels’ infestation or even other rodents is a common practice among vegetable farmers. The presence of dogs and cats creates a fearful environment for the squirrels.
Some dogs are natural predators of squirrels. Cats are natural predators and will likely give the squirrels a hot chase the next time they visit your garden. So, you should consider getting cats or dogs to keep the squirrels away from your garden.
Use of traps
Occasionally, the best way to respond to squirrel problems is to set a trap for them. However, you may want to be careful with this option. For example, some regions prohibit the use of traps.
There are various types of squirrel traps. Some of them are lethal, while others are non-lethal. When setting the traps, you will need squirrel bait to attract the squirrels. Nuts (any kind of nuts) and anything sweet are good baits.
As a gardener, you should consider trapping the squirrels. The non-lethal ones would do. That way, you can carry the squirrels and release them in a place far away from your garden. Else, these hairy nutcrackers would be back before long.
Apple cider vinegar
The smell of Apple cider vinegar spray repels squirrels. You can spray apple cider vinegar on hard surfaces. However, it is better to spray it on old towels or other materials that can retain the smell for long periods. Simply place the towels where you would usually find the squirrels.
The smell of the apple cider vinegar on the towel will keep them away. But it is advisable not to try this outdoors as it can damage the plants you are trying to protect.
The use of peppermint oils is another natural squirrel repellent idea that works. It is one of the most reliable ways to get rid of those squirrels. The squirrels dislike the odor of peppermint oils.
However, for the peppermint to be very effective, you can make the peppermint oils into sprays. To make peppermint sprays, add 10 to 15 drops of peppermint oil to a cup of water. You can use the sprays directly on surfaces or crops.
If you have a pet, you should confirm with your veterinarian that peppermint oils will not harm them. Also, you should limit using peppermint oil if you have kids.
Cayenne pepper burns the mouths and noses of squirrels. Hence, the smell of cayenne pepper frequently discourages squirrels. This method might be the way to go if you have tried some other repellents and it is not working.
When you spray cayenne pepper on your crops, it acts as a natural repellent to the squirrels. You need not worry about your plants/vegetables. The pepper won’t harm them in any way. If the smell does not drive them away, just a taste of the pepper and their noses and mouths are flaming.
A way to ascertain that your bird seeds are for the birds and birds alone is to sprinkle/spray cinnamon in your bird feeders. Do not worry. Birds do not mind the extra spice as it does not harm them. The squirrels, on the other hand, definitely mind.
Squirrels have a great sense of smell. The smell of cinnamon, when inhaled by squirrels, irritates them. This irritation causes the squirrels to stay away from the bird seeds and other areas where you may have sprayed cinnamon.
Continue to spray it at intervals (a couple of days) because winds can reduce the smell and the overall effect of the cinnamon spray.
Put garbage bins away from the garden.
The smell of food in your garbage bins attracts squirrels, raccoons, and other rodents. A way to deal with this is to put the garbage bins away from your garden or bird feeders.
Another tip that can be helpful here is to use a thicker bag (or double the bags) in your trash cans. Doubling the bags limits the tempting smells that attract the squirrels.
Doing this helps reduce the sources of attraction to squirrels in your garden or the house.
Some common predators of squirrels are owls, hawks, and eagles. These predators instill a measure of fear in squirrels. You can take advantage of this fear by using scarecrows.
These scarecrows can be in the form of an owl or hawk decoy. One of the advantages of this method is that it puts your plants and pets at zero risk. There are several decoys available in the market. They vary in size and have designs that look like different species of predators.
Grow squirrel deterrents
There are several plants that squirrels dislike naturally. The dislike is primarily due to their smell, tastes, etc. you can plant some of these plants around your garden to keep the squirrels at bay.
Examples include; Daffodils, Alliums, common snowdrops, Hyacinth, Lily of the valley, Geraniums, snake’s head, Marigolds, Goldenrods, peppermint, etc.
Planting any of these in/around your garden may help repel squirrels from your garden.
Squirrels use their sharp sense of smell to protect themselves from danger. As a result, squirrels dislike the odor of spices. Another spice that repels squirrels is garlic. Garlic themselves is not in any way harmful to the squirrels.
The garlic bulbs can be made into sprays to prevent these nasty rodents from feasting on your vegetables. Just add a cup of water to one or two (depending on how concentrated you want it to be) already crushed bulbs of garlic.
Boil the water before pouring it on the garlic. Leave it overnight. By morning, your garlic spray is ready. Be sure to remove the particles of the garlic in the water. Removing the particles prevents the clogging of the spray nozzle.
Alternate food source
You have tried several repellents. However, you keep seeing these nutcrackers around your garden (or you continue to see signs that they have visited your yard). You might want to try a different approach. “What is left to do?”, you wonder.
You can set up a food station for the squirrels far away from the garden. You can put nuts, fruits, and other irresistible treats there for them. The food station helps divert their attention from your garden and vegetables.
While I am on the subject of food tables, I do not recommend using a bird feeder near your home. Instead, these attract squirrels and other rodents.
Keep them out!
This method of controlling squirrels should be your last resort. That is when all else fails? How does this method work exactly?
The squirrels can not eat where they cannot reach, right? Yes, that is it. Instead, you grow your crops/vegetables in a cage and keep them off-limits to squirrels.
They can not destroy your crops when they can not even gain entrance into your garden. So, keep them out using the cages.
The control of squirrels is no mean feat. It is not easy to deter squirrels!
On the subject of scarecrows mentioned above, you might want to consider inviting actual predators (that is, hawks and owls). And before you do that, consider your pets.
For instance – cats are an incredible squirrel repellent!
When you try some of the options above, your squirrel problem will be a thing of the past. Finally, when using traps, you should only use live traps.