Squirrel Repellants come in three basic categories–natural, chemical, electronic and physical barriers. I prefer the natural squirrel repellants since they are normally very effective and most don’t want to see the physical barriers in the backyard or garden.
Natural Squirrel Repellants
These are generally homemade, pepper-based recipes that you can spray onto plants and entry points. I’ve found them to be effective mostly on plants and small entry points where the smell can be centralized and contained. The downside is that they do not last that long (a couple weeks depending on the weather) and must be constantly re-applied. You can also use these sprays on bird seed since it does not bother the birds but definitely keeps away the squirrels.
Here’s one recipe I’ve used that was effective on squirrels in my garden (and was also very effective keeping away deer that were eating my plants).
Fill a large pot with boiling water and add one cup of crushed cayenne peppers. After adding the peppers, reduce the heat to simmer for approximately one hour. This creates a strong, spicy mix that you can add to a spray water bottle and apply liberally to the plants and entry points. You can also add a capful or two of Murphy’s Oil Soap after you put the concoction into the water bottle so that it will stick to the surface are better.
There are a wide variety of products for sale that keep squirrels and other animals away. Be careful to only use products meant as a repellant and don’t try to use something that might actually harm the squirrels or the environment. The most effective products I’ve found are Havahart Deer and Squirrel Repellents. They can be a little pricey, but a little goes a far way. Like the natural squirrel repellents, these will wear off after a few weeks (although they last much longer than the natural recipes).
Electronic Squirrel Repellants
These forms of squirrel control are plentiful in variety and hit-and-miss on efficacy. The most common types are ultrasonic noisemakers such as this one made by Yard Sentinel. I’ve tried it out once before on a roof entry point and it seemed to work; however, since it was up in the attic, it was a pain to replace the batteries on a monthly basis. Most of these ultrasonic devices are made to go off by motion detector and scare off the squirrels, birds or other animals (including your pets) from the area.
Another electronic option is a motion-activated sprinkler. These are not effective and annoying. Who wants to be sprayed by water as you’re walking across your lawn? Plus, squirrels are drawn toward water sources and you might actually bring in more squirrels this way.
Squirrels are very intelligent and resourceful animals. Putting up physical barriers simply challenges them to find new ways to get into your bird nests, attics or gardens. Keeping out squirrels in attic is probably the easiest though — you must block access points into your attic by making repairs or patches to any holes leading thru the soffit, roof or sidewalls.