Tips for Repelling Squirrels

Squirrels are the second-most commonly sighted mammal in North America, falling just under human beings. Our species have been intertwined with each other for centuries. In urban areas, squirrel populations are ten times that of the neighboring countryside, and it’s no wonder. Humans provide squirrels with so much food and shelter, but if you thought you just had to accept these bushy-tailed freeloaders and the damage they cause, think again.

"Due to construction in my neighborhood, several gray squirrels recently relocated to a maple tree that abuts my deck. The squirrels have been very problematic: coming onto the deck, scurrying around on railings, and testing my dog and me to the limits. I was not encouraged by some of the reviews on this product, but decided to give it a try.

This product has been very successful in keeping the Maryland gray squirrels off of my deck, out of the lower branches of the maple tree, and off of the railings. The effects last at least two weeks, but if there is a heavy rain, I do need to re-apply. I only apply about 12 squirts around the railing, about 12 squirts to the trunk of the tree and some more squirts to lower branches that are accessible to the deck. This has been a great solution. No more dog scratching the door trying to get out to chase squirrels."

repel squirrels

No doubt about it—squirrels can be quite clever but also quite troublesome. Sometimes, they feel like a nut. Sometimes, they don't. And when squirrels don't “feel like” food found in the wild, they may start eating your plants, your buds, your flowers. That's when it's time to take action!

A Little Bit About Squirrels

A squirrel’s diet is primarily composed of the tree nuts that it spends most of its time foraging and hoarding. However, they will readily eat flowers, fruits, vegetables, twigs, and insects. Nature has made squirrels opportunistic. They will chew just about anything put in front of them to see if it might be edible; and, like all rodents, a squirrel’s sharp front teeth constantly grow throughout their lives, enabling the constant gnawing of their environment.

They are, of course, prolific climbers. A squirrel’s hind legs are double-jointed. Their feet can rotate 180-degrees, making squirrels the only animal capable of climbing downward face first. This allows them to race at full speed up and down a tree trunk, utility pole, or the side of your house. Additionally, squirrels are incredibly nimble, pulling off high-speed, death-defying stunts, using their tails as a counterbalance.

They are also very clever. A full 20% of squirrels don’t even forage their own nuts but simply steal from other squirrels. So, to thwart potential robbers, squirrels will go through the motions and pretend to bury a nut to fool other animals watching them.

At one time, squirrels were popular pets. In fact, 29th US President Warren G. Harding had a pet squirrel named Pete, who he gave free reign of the White House. When squirrel populations in urban centers declined in the mid-1800s, a movement arose to re-introduce squirrels to city parks, and feeding them was a popular pastime. Many generations later, the squirrels living in your neighborhoods have very little fear of humans. Today’s squirrels are accustomed to seeing us and our homes as abundant food sources.


stop squirrels from eating

What Good Are Squirrels

Even with squirrels’ best effort to keep their caches hidden, other animals will eat the nuts they store. This helps many birds and mammals who don’t hibernate survive the winter. It isn’t a problem for the squirrels either, who hoard far more nuts than they can eat. The nuts that don’t get eaten grow into new trees. In this way, squirrels promote the health of woodland areas

Problems Caused by Squirrels

As natural foragers, squirrels are constantly on the lookout for anything that might be food, and your garden has plenty of sweet treats for them to eat. But squirrels can cause plenty of damage to things they can’t eat – your deck, patio furniture, planters, garden hoses – pretty much anything kept outside.

If they are able, squirrels will gnaw their way right into your home as well. Your attic can provide squirrels a more appealing shelter than the average tree trunk. There is better climate control, more protection from predators, and sometimes even food.

Especially in cooler climates where your car’s engine can provide warmth during winter months, squirrels may gnaw the wires of your car’s electrical system. They might even attempt to nest in your engine block. Repairing the damage that they cause your vehicle can cost thousands of dollars.

However, as frustrating as that may be, it isn’t the worst electrical damage that squirrels cause. A 2015 study found 137 blackouts caused by squirrels across the United States, making them the number one cause for all power outages in the country.

How to Control Squirrels

It may seem impossible to protect your property from squirrels, with their speed, determination, and acrobatic skill. Frustrated homeowners might feel pushed to extreme measures. Some of these methods are arduous and others ineffective, but it is possible to persuade your local squirrel population to leave your home alone.

Ultrasonic Devices

While many ultrasonic devices exist on the market claiming to repel all manner of pests, including snakes and moles, no research shows them to be effective. The science behind using sound waves may make sense in theory, but trial after trial shows these devices just don’t work.

Dog on Guard

Most squirrels will stay well away from a yard with a dog in it, but not all. For instance, the fox squirrel, largest squirrel native to North America, shows no fear of dogs and will happily forage in your yard regardless. In any case, if you don’t want to keep your dog standing watch over your yard at all hours, you may be better off with a squirrel control method that works even while Fido sleeps.

I Must Garden Squirrel Repellent

“I have a Japanese maple that the squirrels have been destroying the bark. They would run up the tree to the roof. A few times they lay on the branches but have left the tree alone. They aren't on the tree anymore!”

Valerie Smith

Available as both a Ready-to-Use Spray and in Granular form, our I Must Garden Squirrel Repellent is the simple, effective, and cost-efficient method to protect so many aspects of your home from squirrel damage.

Protect your Plants

Spray the I Must Garden Squirrel Repellent directly on plant material to the point of run-off. Repeat every 2-3 days until under control.

For tomatoes, the best time to protect them is long before they set fruit. Spray the plants as soon as you set them in the ground or pot. Continue applications every 7-10 days until harvest. The smell and taste will make the squirrels lose interest early on. So, when the tomatoes ripen, the squirrels will be more inclined to leave your tomatoes alone.

Protect Your Bulbs

Use I Must Garden Squirrel Repellent as a bulb dip before planting. Set bulbs in a bowl, cover with repellent, and soak for 15 minutes. Remove bulbs from liquid and let dry. You CAN reuse the repellent in which you soaked the bulbs. So, pour it back in the bottle for later use. Our granular squirrel repellent can be sprinkled on top of the soil of already planted bulbs.

stop squirrels from eating your bulbs

Protect Your Trees and Nuts

Start spraying trees as soon as they start leafing out. Then, repeat the application every two weeks, continuing to harvest. While you may not be able to reach the top of your tree for total coverage, spraying as much as you can reach will at least protect a portion of your trees and nuts for you to enjoy.

Protect Your Home and Vehicle

Spraying one spot of your home’s exterior may send them to another, so broader applications will provide the most protection. Spray weekly to begin. Once you see results, gradually reduce the frequency of applications.

To protect wires and other targeted areas of your vehicle, spray I Must Garden Squirrel Repellent onto a cloth and apply it directly to the surfaces you want to be protected. Repeat weekly or as needed to maintain control. To discourage squirrels from returning to the car, spray the front tires, bumper, and undercarriage of your vehicle regularly.

Protect Your Patio Furniture and Planters

Spray the furniture and planters directly. Repeat a few days in a row, gradually decreasing the frequency. Generally, plastic and resin furniture and pots can be sprayed directly without staining. If unsure, test in an inconspicuous area and wait 24 hours to ensure there is no staining or discoloration.

To avoid staining fabric, apply I Must Garden Squirrel Repellent indirectly. Spray a paper towel thoroughly and leave it on the cushion overnight. Remove it in the morning. Repeat for a few nights in a row.

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