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Keep Squirrels away with These Repellents

These DIY Squirrel Repellents were easy to make and did a pretty good job of keeping them out of my vegetable patch.

The squirrels have made a mess of both my crop of tulips, and my vegetable gardening attempts, this year, in a big way.  I decided to see what I could come up with to keep them away.

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.

It appears that the squirrels were also proud of my efforts and decided to help themselves to the fruit.
DIY Squirrel Repellents

My family’s favorite vegetable is a ripe garden 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 comments below.**  I feel that it is important information that should go along with this article.  Many thanks to readers who took the time to write their comments!

In hind sight, the idea 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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Friday 21st of July 2023

I had squirrels who killed my chickens and then it was war. Moth balls degrade in outdoors very fast. I put some old socks with them in their burrow and they moved the socks. I grew the hottest peppers I could find to create chili spray that I surrounded vegetables and bulbs to bug them this worked but you have to reapply every couple days. Be super careful not to rub your eyes wear goggles. Chop or grate the chilis in a 5 gallon bucket - a cup to a gallon of water and cover with screen to keep out other pets. I also used rose trimmings and thorny bush cuttings with a six foot perimeter. Then netting with stakes and upside down pots to hold in place. The stakes worked but you must put them back every day. I read about making organic poison from baking soda sugar and peanut butter balls. I put these where other pets could not access. The theory is the base ph in the baking soda kills them because they cannot burp. This did kill a few and also mice. Problem with trapping them is the transition from being in the wire trap to lifting and moving they escape very fast and then they return mad. I read that trap and release is same as slow death because it is hard for them to adapt so I don't suggest trapping. They are too smart for the metal tunnel trap and the plastic ones I bought online. Feel free to contact me and pick up the twenty so gadgets I bought or made. C G Caroline Gerardo


Monday 12th of June 2023

I’d like to try these under my bird feeders…will they bother the birds?

Carol Speake

Monday 12th of June 2023

I don't think I would place them were birds are plentiful.


Wednesday 3rd of May 2023

Save the cayenne. They actively eat my hot peppers (jalapeno, serrano, habanero). Good luck w the mothballs.


Tuesday 24th of January 2023

Look up Squirrel Maze on YT. The maker is an engineer named Mark Rober. He's also the guy who made the glitter bombs.

I am fighting squirrels as well. They eat my honeycrisp apples b4 they are even ready. I tried exclusion bags, but that didn't work. The neighbors don't keep their side of the fence maintained, so they just jump across the fenceline to my tree. I am wondering if I hange a jug in the tree with holes drilled and mothballs in the jug, would that help. I do sorta need to be careful because I have chickens.


Monday 4th of July 2022

Human hair and dog hair sprinkled around the plants. Haven’t had a problem since. And it didn’t cost me a dime and it isn’t harmful to anyone.

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