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Keep Squirrels away with These Repellents

The squirrels have made a mess of my vegetable gardening attempts, this year, in a big way.  I decided to see what I could come up with to keep them away. These DIY Squirrel Repellents were easy to make and did a pretty good job.DIY Squirrel Repellents

I must admit that I have been so proud of my vegetable garden this year.  It doubled in size of it from the one I had last year and it is now over 1000 square feet.

My family’s favorite vegetable is the tomato and I wanted to make sure I had enough to last until the frost which is about late October here in NC. So, I planted 18 tomato plants thinking that would be more than enough.

And it was, until a few weeks ago.  You can read about my squirrel disaster here.

After losing all my corn and much of my potential tomato harvest, I decided I had to do something.  I researched, and asked on my gardening page on Facebook for tips on how to keep the squirrels away.

Suggestions for dealing with squirrels

Suggestions ranged from:

  1. Get a BB gun or air rifle
  2. “Feed them something else so they won’t get your vegetables”
  3. “I love my squirrels and they know and never eat my veggies.”
  4. Put out water for them. They are thirsty.
  5. Put out mothballs – they hate it
  6. Put out cayenne pepper – they hate it
  7. Make a spray of cayenne pepper – they hate it.
  8. Trap them and relocate them. (check your state laws first. This is illegal in some states.)

You get the idea.

I contacted a good friend of mine who also writes a garden blog. She told me I was lucky it was not a drought year, or I would have NOTHING left in my garden now that the squirrels have discovered it.  She voted for #1.

I decided to try a combination of #5 and #6 for these squirrel repellents, but I have reservations about them as listed at the end of the article.  Please read the whole article. Moth balls are dangerous in many ways.  Be sure to consider this if you are an organic gardener.

DIY Squirrel Repellants.

Please note:  The comment section below should be used in conjunction with this article.  I am also learning as I experiment with gardening.

****Please be aware that these squirrel repellents are, by no means, an organic gardening method.  Mothballs are chemical in nature.  Also, this is not to be tried if you have animals or children in your garden.  Moth balls can look like candy and children might be tempted by them.**** Check out this article for natural squirrel repellents.

DIY Squrrel RepellentsYou will need these materials:

  • Plastic condiment trays
  • Glue Gun
  • Glue sticks
  • Moth Balls
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Bamboo Skewers
  • Scotch Tape
  • Hole punch

Materials for squirrel repellants

Start out by punching holes all along the outer sides of the condiment cups.  This allows the smell to escape which is what the squirrels supposedly do not like.

Punch the condiment cupsNext, use the glue gun to attach the bamboo skewers to the bottom of the condiment cups and allow them to set. This part takes a while. Use a lot of hot glue and be patient.

Cuts with bamboo skewers attachedAt this point, your trap is ready.  Take the moth balls, cayenne pepper and tape outside to your garden.    If you have a problem with the moth balls being used, you could try just the cayenne pepper in the squirrel repellents to see if this will work.

It is easier to do this when they are in the garden than to put the stuff in the cups inside.  Plus not so smelly!  Add three or four moth balls (if you wish to use them)  and a liberal dose of cayenne pepper to the cups when you get to the place where you want to put them.

Adding the repellent ingredients

cups filled with mothballs and cayenne pepper

Tape the lid with scotch tape so it stays put.

closed squirrel deterrant cup.Place the finished squirrel deterrents near the plants you think the squirrels might go after about every 8 feet or so.   I put mine in a new patch of summer squash, since I know they like them.

Sqruirrel deterrents in the garden.That is all there is to it.  Very little cost (less than $5 for as many as you could use). The hardest part for me was trying to find the condiment cups without buying 5000 of them at Sam’s club.   A very nice person at a bar that my husband likes to go to with his friends took pity on him after three days of searching and gave him some for me to use.  Thanks to the English bar maid at O’Malley’s Pub in Raleigh, NC.

Will these work? Time will tell.

Are these squirrel repellents safe for use? 

I am concerned about this. The smell of the moth balls was just horrible.  I only opened the box of them and could smell them for HOURS afterwards in the house.

Since they don’t actually sit near the vegetables themselves, I felt they would probably be okay, but am still undecided.  I am going to make sure that I wash anything I bring in that is anywhere near them just to make sure.

If you have used something like this to deter squirrels, please leave your comments below and particularly your thoughts on the mothballs.  I have heard of people who actually fill socks with them and leave them in the garden, so I assume a few moth balls will be fine, but be careful. I’ll add more info on this as it comes to me from research and comments.

UPDATE:  **Please read the main large comment below.**  I feel that it is important information that should go along with this article.  Many thanks to Dawn who took the time to write the comment!

In hind sight, the idea of #7  – a cayenne pepper spray, is perhaps the best idea and I will write another article on how to make this and use it.  

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Squirrel Damage in a Vegetable Garden.
Victoria crowned pigeon
Victoria Crowned Pigeon


Thursday 30th of July 2020

Squirrels are driving me crazy! They are digging in my new mulched beds and nibbling on my hostas. I’m going crazy and invested so much $$ in professional landscaping. So frustrating


Monday 15th of July 2019

In the past I had problems with them digging up my tulip bulbs and was told that they don't like daffodils so I planted them in with the tulips. They left them alone after that but I could not get them to stop digging holes to bury their nuts that our neighbour insisted on feeding them. I have used cayenne pepper to keep raccoons out of my garbage bins(sprinkled on the lid) and the works well. They only did it once and never came back!

Joanne Hallis

Thursday 9th of May 2019

I have be to the dollar store and have found red pepper powder. There are lots of spices you can get there. I use cinnamon and garlic powder. And rocks in my patio plants. I keep them off the deck with cyan pepper put right on the rails. It all works for me sorry for you who it doesn't.


Tuesday 15th of January 2019

I saw a device on amazon that looks interesting. You hook up your garden hose to it. It has a motion sensor so when it detects movement it will send out a blast of water. We also have deer in our yard. I bought some Irish Spring body wash that we will mix with water and spray around our plants. Don’t know if it will work but I will let you know!


Tuesday 15th of January 2019

Now that sounds like a GREAT idea!


Thursday 20th of September 2018

The squirrels took every strawberry last year. The previous year I had 26 pounds. This year I bought 8 rat traps, and killed 16. I know this sounds mean, but I am surrounded by forest, and not willing to give up my families food for these rodents who have plenty of their natural food supply around. Next year the first time I see evidence of squirrels in my food supply, I will put out the traps again. The lrge basic wood ones are the best.

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