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What Smell do Squirrels Hate?

What Smell do Squirrels Hate
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    Squirrels are cute in the wild but not in your garden. They chew on plants and dig up bulbs, leaving behind quite a mess. You hate to call an exterminator, but how else can you keep them away? As it turns out, there may be a solution right under your nose: their sense of smell.

    Most animals are sensitive to smells, including squirrels. They’re particularly sensitive to spicy, sweet, or floral fragrances. They tend to avoid areas with these smells. Here are a few household items and things from the garden that you can use to keep squirrels away while being safe for kids and pets.


    Cider Vinegar

    Cider vinegar is a great tool for keeping squirrels away from your garden. It will also repel other animals, including birds, bees, and spiders. The vinegar smell is offensive to humans and can also repel spouses and kids. A few spritzes, and you’ll have the whole house to yourself!

    Vinegar has been used to deter pests for centuries, with the Romans using it against locusts in Egypt thousands of years ago. Because of this long history of use and effectiveness, it makes sense that vinegar would also be effective at deterring rodents like squirrels!



    Garlic is another herb with a strong scent most animals don’t like. It’s also extremely healthy for humans! Garlic in your garden can be used as an effective squirrel repellent because they won’t want to come near it due to the smell. You can either use garlic bulbs themselves in your garden or make a spray of crushed garlic and water to spray around the plants.


    Essential Oils

    essential oils to repel squirrels

    If you want to make your own natural squirrel repellent, try a few drops of essential oils in a spray bottle. Essential oils are natural and safe for use around pets and children when diluted. They can effectively keep squirrels away from your home because they have a very strong odor that is not pleasant to their sensitive noses.

    However, if you decide to use essential oils as an all-natural rodent repellent, there are some things you should know:

    • Essential oils like cinnamon and peppermint are very potent, so it’s important not to overdo them when applying them! Only use 3-4 drops per ounce of water when mixing with water inside your homemade spray bottle (you can also mix them directly into any other liquid solvent). Don’t underestimate how strong these scents can be! If you’re worried about using too much—don’t worry—the smell will dissipate after a few hours anyway.
    • Be careful where you place the bottles containing these mixtures; they may stain clothing or furniture if left out overnight.


    Chili Pepper or Red Pepper Flakes

    You can find red pepper at most grocery stores. It comes as the familiar spicy red chili peppers we put in our favorite dishes, as a powder or in granulated form, and it’s best to use it fresh. The smell is so potent that it may keep the squirrels away for weeks!

    If you want to keep them out of your garden, try sprinkling some of this substance around your plants. By using red pepper, you’ll also have the added benefit of protecting your plants from pests like moths, aphids, and beetles.

    If you don’t want to use red pepper as an all-around deterrent (or maybe if you don’t have any on hand), other items can be substituted, such as powdered cinnamon, cayenne, and coffee grounds. 

    Sprinkle around the areas where squirrels congregate (such as bird feeders). It will repel them effectively enough until its effect wears off. You will need to reapply every two weeks or so.


    Animal Urine

    Animal urine is a good deterrent for squirrels. Urine collected from predators such as coyotes and foxes can be used to drive away squirrels. 

    If you have a dog or cat, use their waste products similarly.

    If you’re unsure what animal urine to collect, several options are available at local pet stores (ensure it doesn’t contain additives). You can also try collecting your own. Dogs like to do their business in the same areas. Find your dog’s favorite pee spot and soak up some of the urine with an old rag.

    Once you have your animal urine, place it around the base of trees where squirrels are causing damage. The scent will deter them from returning to these areas again in the future when looking for food or shelter.

    Since animal urine is made up of living cells that break down over time due to sunlight exposure or rainwater dilution, it needs replacing every month, depending on how much rain falls.


    Plants & Herbs That Deter Squirrels

    The best plants for deterring squirrels are those that pose no risk to your family or pets; these include avocados (Persea Americana), bougainvillea (Bougainvillea spp.), camellias (Camellia japonica), hollyhocks (Alcea rosea).

    Plants & Herbs That Deter Squirrels


    The strong scent of lavender is said to drive squirrels away from your garden. You can plant lavender in pots or in the ground around your garden to keep squirrels away.


    Another strong-smelling plant, mint, is known for its ability to deter squirrels from gardens and yards because they don’t like the smell of it at all! Mint grows quickly and easily, so it’s a great option if you need something fast that works well as a natural pest repellant.


    Thyme is another herb that humans enjoy cooking with, but that is not very appealing to rodents and other pests like mosquitoes, flies, and ants! Thyme grows well in pots or directly in the ground around your garden as a way to naturally keep pests away from your plants. (Some gardeners have reported vermin eating thyme, so results may vary)

    Bay leaves

    Bay leaves often deter many animals, including squirrels and raccoons. This is a great option if you have a bay tree or bush in your garden. The leaves scent will help keep the squirrels away from your plants. You can either hang up whole bay leaves or crush them up and sprinkle them around your garden beds.

    Rosemary and lavender (fresh or dried)

    Rosemary and lavender are herbs with a strong scent that many people find unpleasant. This makes them perfect squirrel repellents! You can hang rosemary sprigs around your garden beds or crush up dried lavender flowers and sprinkle them around your plants.

    Plant castor beans around your garden; squirrels don’t like their smell either!


    Motion-Sensing Sprinkler System

    Another suggestion is to turn your sprinkler system into a motion-activated squirrel deterrent. Put a motion sensor in the garden area, set to turn on when the sensor detects motion. You can also just put a timer on it. After getting blasted with water a few times, they will probably avoid that area for a while.

    When to Call in a Professional?

    If you have tried everything, and nothing is working, it’s time to call in a professional. Hiring a professional exterminator is usually the most effective way to get rid of squirrels from your home. 

    A professional can assess the situation and devise an effective solution for your problem that doesn’t involve harming other animals or damaging your property.


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