Squirrels. Adorable little boogers. But the cuteness factor quickly erodes when you watch them damage plants, gnaw on the new decks, or steal all the birdseed.
What’s a humane, earth-conscious person to do? Well, I’ve learned you can stop the unwanted behavior without introducing expensive, toxic chemicals.
All it takes is a little time and cheap ingredients to make 2 different repellents: one spray version and one granules version. This 2-pronged approach is the perfect double whammy because the spray gets into tiny spaces, and the granules get more potent with every rain. Nice!
These 2 recipes, along with instructions, tips and precautions will repel ground squirrels including the eastern gray and the red squirrel.
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Squirrel Repellent: Liquid Spray
- 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon hot sauce
- 1 tablespoon dish soap
- 1 gallon of warm water
- 1 Large container with secure lid
- Disposable gloves & Eye Protection
- Mixing spoon or spatula
- Lawn Sprayer or Spray Bottle
- Tape or Labels
- Protect Yourself: Put on gloves and shield your eyes
- Mix the Ingredients: In a large container, mix together the cayenne pepper, hot sauce, and dish soap.
- Add Water: Gently pour the gallon of warm water into the container and gently stir to combine all the ingredients.
- Steep: Allow the mixture to sit for at least 24 hours. This steeping is what allows the natural oils to infuse the water and become a repellent.
- Strain: To avoid clogging your sprayer, strain the repellent through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth.
- Transfer to Sprayer: Once ready, pour the solution into a 1 gallon lawn sprayer for easiest application that won’t cramp your hands. If you don’t have a garden, use smaller spray bottles and quarter the recipe.
- Label: It’s critical to label your repellant. I put the day I made it, ingredients and DO NOT DRINK.
- Apply to Affected Areas: Spray the homemade repellent onto surfaces or areas where squirrels are causing trouble. Focus on areas like bird feeders, fence posts, potted plants, fruit trees, garden beds, entry holes, or anywhere else you’ve noticed unwanted squirrel activity.
Additional Spray Tips:
- While any dish soap can be used, Mrs. Meyer’s or Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint will enhance the repellent. Use it if you’ve got it!
- Avoid shaking the repellent, this causes bubbles.
- Don’t strain through a coffee filter. (I learned that all the oil will stick to the paper)
- Do not use a hot sauce with lots of sugar or you could attract sweet loving insects.
Squirrel Repellent: Solid Granules
These granules are easy to make and help provide a long-lasting deterrent against squirrels when combined with the above spray repellent.
This makes 6 cups and lasts me nearly a year. Adjust quantities to suit your needs.
- 2 cups crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 cup cayenne pepper
- 1 cup garlic powder
- 1 cup onion powder
- 1 cup powdered mustard
- 1 Large mixing container with secure lid
- Gloves and Eye Protection
- Protect Yourself: Put on gloves, eye protection and wear a mask to avoid irritating your lungs.
- Combine the Ingredients: In a large container with a secure lid, combine the crushed red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and powdered mustard.
- Shake Gently: Use easy, gentle motions and move the container back and forth until the ingredients are well mixed.
- Let it Settle: Wait several minutes before opening. You want the dust to settle before opening.
- Check: With mask on, check to see everything is incorporated.
- Apply: Sprinkle the homemade granules around the perimeter of your garden, near plants, or in areas where squirrels are active and unwanted such as cars or boats..
Additional Tips for Granules
- Don’t use a blender or food processor. It will come out way too thin and becomes a horrible irritant
- Got Pantyhose? If you need to protect at-risk trees, fill pantyhose with a little of the granule repellent. Then wrap the pantyhose around the base and securely tie. Pantyhose also work great if you need a squirrel repellent for your balcony. Just weave it it between the spindles.
- Think about the container, you probably have something perfect laying around the house that can be repurposed.
- Large Spice Bottles: Empty spice shakers or containers with sprinkle lids make excellent vessels for dispensing granules.
- Empty Rock Salt (Ice Melt) Jugs: These are the perfect size and shape, but you might have to tape off some of the shaker if it lets too much through.
- 2-Liter Soda Bottles: Perfect if you’re trying to sprinkle granules alongside a house or shed perimeter. Or if you want to fill little holes.
Warnings & Considerations
Remember, homemade does not mean “danger-free.” Both the spray and granule repellents become hot pepper irritants and they are very, very potent. You must take care not to cause harm to yourself or others.
- These mixtures can burn eyes, skin and throats on humans and animals (1): use gloves, masks and eye protection.
- Never spray or dust a squirrel directly with either of these repellents.
- Use common sense, don’t apply these where your kids play or where your pets walk.
- Mind the wind conditions.
- Apply good labels, mark these “Dangerous”, treat them like you do pesticides.
- Avoid spraying the mixture directly onto plants that you intend to consume, as the hot pepper may affect the taste.
- Test the repellents on a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure it doesn’t cause damage or discoloration to surfaces.
- Do not use on cushions or where it will come into contact with skin. Use this patio furniture spray instead.
There you have it. This is how you make homemade squirrel repellents. The combination of a spray and powder will work in harmony to provide longer-lasting effects that keeps squirrels away.