Homemade Squirrel Repellent

The average squirrel may only be 8 to 12 inches long and weigh in at 14 to 25 ounces, but they can wreak enough havoc in your yard to make you feel like you're dealing with the Tasmanian Devil. From robbing your bird feeders to stripping the bark from your trees to gnawing their way through your newly planted garden, squirrels can become an ongoing source of aggravation if they are not properly dealt with. Luckily, there are a number of simple squirrel repellents you can make at home that can help to keep them off your property.


Begin by evaluating your yard. To remove the squirrels, you'll have to determine what's drawing them in. Squirrels tend to be attracted to obvious sources of nutrition such as birdseed, water, berry bushes and pet food. When these sources are removed, they will make use of flower bulbs and tree bark, particularly the bark of deciduous trees. While it may not be possible to remove all these items, do what you can to limit the accessibility and make note of areas you are unable to render "squirrel proof."


Cayenne pepper is a common ingredient in store-bought squirrel repellents. The capsaicin in the pepper gives off a tremendous amount of heat when ingested, a sensation which squirrels find unpleasant. To make your own hot pepper spray at home combine one small bottle of pepper sauce such as Tabasco or hot wing sauce, one gallon of water and one tablespoon of liquid soap. Stir these ingredients until they are well blended and then transfer the mixture to a spray bottle. Spray any vulnerable plants and trees with a liberal coating of the repellent. It will keep the squirrels away, but it won't harm the plants. You can also sprinkle crushed cayenne pepper in with your birdseed. They birds will still show up for dinner, but the smell will keep the squirrels at bay. Pepper spray needs to be reapplied at least once a month, or after watering or rainfall, to remain effective.


If squirrels are taking up residence inside your home or if you prefer something other than cayenne pepper, give mothballs a try. Find some old socks and fill them with mothballs. Then place the socks in areas you'd like the squirrels to vacate or stay out of. Additionally, you can dip strips of cloth in ammonia and tie the wet rags to nearby tree branches to help deter the squirrels. If your methods seem ineffective, feel free to try the repellents in combination, but remember, most squirrel repellents must be used consistently for at least two weeks to be effective.

Lisa Parris

Lisa Parris is a writer and former features editor of "The Caldwell County News." Her work has also appeared in the "Journal of Comparative Parasitology," "The Monterey County Herald" and "The Richmond Daily News." In 2012, Parris was honored with awards from the Missouri Press Association for best feature story, best feature series and best humor series.