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While squirrels mean no harm to humans, their loud and consistent chattering can become a nuisance to a homeowner, especially when there’s more than one. Many people over the years have found many different repellants to be the solution for keeping these noisy animals far away, but the question is “Are these repellants really effective?” Although repellants can seem tempting in running the squirrels away, not a single product has been demonstrated to actually work, and scents don’t last very long and you have to keep reapplying them every so often, and even then, it's futile, because they don't work. This means more money spent for products that don't even provide temporary evictions. Long term solutions require that you catch and remove the squirrels. For an actual effective approach, read my 10-step guide for How to Get Rid of Squirrels.
I do understand that you want a cheap and easy solution. Of course! That's always the best first approach. But when you find that is was ineffective, and you need to properly solve the problem with the correct tools and techniques, you may want to hire professional help. It is more expensive, but it works. We now service over 500 locations! Click here to hire us for wildlife removal in your town. Natural homemade squirrel repellent also sounds environmentally friendly, and I wish there was a better one. Sometimes hot sauce can prevent chewing.
Substituting food sources
If you have a garden that the squirrels just love to get into, you’re probably fed up with it. Instead of removing your garden, consider setting up a feeder for the squirrels that contain peanut butter or corn. The idea is based on the fact that if you substitute your garden with another easily accessible food source, chances are that they’ll leave your garden alone. The feeder should be placed in a spot that has had the most activity so that the squirrels will see it quickly. This could actually work for a while, but it will require that you continuously fill the feeder. Not to mention, now that you’re giving away free food, they’re more than likely going to invite their friends over for supper and we’re not just talking squirrels! Even if you install a feeder, it doesn’t guarantee that they’ll leave your garden alone completely. You might also want to read my Squirrel Prevention Tips.
Liquid and Powder Based Repellants
For many years, people have been trying to use repellants to keep animals from ruining their yard, garden and crops. They are even sold at Home Depot, Lowe's, Amazon, Walmart, etc. Yet, the effectiveness to keep these repellants around is ridiculous. It’s not true that repellants inside an attic actually repel squirrels; they've been proven time and again in the field to be totally ineffective. I myself have been inside attics with over 50 pounds of mothballs, but the squirrels don't care. And as far as repellents set outside, it's even worse, because if there is a heavy rain, you will have to reapply the repellents repeatedly. This can be frustrating for someone with a big yard considering they’ll be spending a great deal of money just to keep the squirrels away for a while. Repellants are designed to be sprayed on plants and around the perimeter of your home. They can be bought as powder, liquid or in capsules for your convenience. However, repellants can be harmful to pets including other, non-targeted, animals. They can be harmful to your family, pets and your crops. They can even leave a taste in your vegetables making them bitter even after thoroughly washing them. While this is not true for all repellants, it still doesn’t offer you a permanent solution to your problem.
Seal Them Out
The real best form of squirrel repellent is prevention. Look at the below photograph. I'm sealing shut an open hole leading into the attic! That'll keep squirrels out for good. No deterrent products needed, just a good old fashioned soffit vent cover and a couple of screws.
The technology of the “Evictor” is another tool used for repelling squirrels. The Evictor is marketed as a safe and harmless to any animal that comes in contact with it. It consists of a flashing probe light that is especially high strength. It flashes 90 times per second while attacking the sensitivity of a squirrel’s eyes. This light is unbearable for squirrels and supposedly sends them on their way within two days. The Evictor is said to be more effective when placed along a squirrel’s regular route to get food and water. The only problem with this is that it has to be used inside of the home in places like an attic or basement, and it just doesn't work, even if you use several of them. There’s also no guarantee that the squirrels will leave your home, especially if they have a family with them. The squirrels don't seem to care, or they just go down soffits, walls, or insulation.
If you think zapping these critters will keep them away, installing an electric fence around your garden or yard might serve your purpose of keeping the squirrels away. That is if you have no tree limbs that hang over in your yard. If you have trees in your yard, installing a fence may seem pointless considering squirrels can live in trees in openings that are not accessible to human beings. Installing a fence may actually keep some squirrels out while locking others in; however, electric fences can be harmful not only to the squirrels, but to other animals and even humans as well and is not advised.
What’s The Truth Behind Squirrels; Mothballs A Repellent Or No?
When you get squirrels in your home they stop being the cute fluffy-tailed animals that they were and they enter the same category as rats, mice and other annoying pests. They can damage your home, defecate inside and if they die inside that can mean that your home will stink for more than a few days. A lot of people use repellents, but for the most part they are very ineffective and you end up spending money for nothing. Others will tell you, don’t give up because there is something that you can try with squirrels; mothballs. There are many pests that can invade your home like mice, rats, squirrels; mothballs are thought to be effective in getting all of them out. In truth you may see some positive effect when you spread the mothballs in the locations where the squirrels are, but it often will not be your final solution. Keep in mind also that mothballs are toxic and should be kept away from your kitten and your pooch because they can ingest them and get in trouble. You are better off to stick with a few high quality traps.
Here are my other squirrel guides:
how to get squirrels out of the attic - for advanced tips and advice
squirrel removal page home page with basic information
squirrel trapping tips page, bait, trap types
squirrel repellent analysis of whether it works or not
how to kill squirrels should you use poison?
how to catch squirrels methods to catch them safely
how to keep away squirrels prevention techniques
how to handle cage-shy squirrels information on catching squirrels
squirrel trapping & legalities what you need to know about trapping legalities
what to do with orphaned squirrels a guide to handling orphaned squirrels
will poisons work on squirrels? which poisons are most effective?
are pros the best? a guide on using professionals for squirrel removal
will county/animal services remove squirrels? a guide to pro animal control
do all squirrels have rabies? a guide to handling squirrels safely
symptoms of sick squirrels tips on identifying sick squirrels
using a snare pole to catch a squirrel other methods of trapping squirrels
what to do with trapped squirrels guide to handling squirrels after trapping
squirrels under the porch what to do if there's a squirrel under your porch
wildlife rehabilitators and squirrels what happens to squirrels next?
Chipmunks chipmunk guide
There are a lot (and we mean a lot) of repellents out there to help move squirrels away from an area that you don’t want them to be in. Sadly, just as wildlife repellents rarely work for the likes of rats, mice, raccoons, skunks, snakes, and opossums, many of the ones that are designed for squirrels don't work either.
Here are a few of the repellents for squirrels that you may come across:
PAIN REPELLENTS are generally designed to make life uncomfortable for the animal when it ingests or inhales the substance, and usually consists of items that are quite hot or spicy, such as chilli pepper, citrus fruits, or menthol-based scents. Although relatively inexpensive when you're buying just the one bottle, repellents that are liquid or taste/smell-based are often expensive when you consider the long-term costs. If it rains, you’ll need to reapply the squirrel repellent. After a few days, you'll need to reapply the repellent. If you don't know where the squirrel is, you'll need to use a lot of repellent to make sure you've covered all invaded areas. If you don't get rid of the squirrel using the first bottle, you'll need a second bottle, and then perhaps a third or fourth too. If that's a twenty dollar bottle of squirrel repellent, it’ll become $60 or $80 after just a couple of weeks, and maybe even more than that too.
And it might not even get rid of the squirrel at all. (Bad news, right?)
TACTILE REPELLENTS are designed to be uncomfortable when the animal touches the repellents, and for squirrels, this could be a gooey substance. Petroleum jelly, for example, is often advised for use on bird feeders to avoid invasion from squirrels. Sadly, the gooey substance often does more damage to the birds than it keeps away the squirrel — once the feathers of the animal are coated in the stuff, the bird is unable to fly and protect itself from predators.
FEAR REPELLENTS can come in many forms. One of the most popular forms is using the scent of another predatory animal to scare the original animal away. Raccoon eviction fluid, for example, is made up of the urine and other secretions from male raccoons. A female raccoon will want to protect a nest filled with kits from a passing male because they may prey on her babies. In the same way, you can use the scent of predatory animals to scare away a female squirrel with youngsters.
SOUND REPELLENTS use sound to get rid of the animal, just as the name would suggest. One of the most common repellents is an ultrasonic sound device that is designed to omit high-pitched noises that animals don’t like.
Squirrel Repellents: Are They Worth Your Money?
In short, no. In fact, that isn’t strictly true because using eviction fluid can help to move squirrels along a little faster. That’s the only one, however; the only repellent that we can recommend for getting rid of squirrels.
Squirrel repellents are usually the most expensive option, and the one that takes the most time too. Three or four weeks down the line, when you realise your repelling methods aren't working, you're still left with a problematic squirrel that won't go away. The method just isn't hands-on enough, although, we don't exactly recommend getting too hands-on with an animal that can pass you a number of different diseases. There are many approaches that you can take for squirrel removal, but using repellents isn’t one of them. Do yourself a favor; don't waste your cash. Use the money for better and more effective approaches instead.
Go back to the Squirrel Removal page, or learn tips to do it yourself with my How to Get Rid of Squirrels guide.