Saturday, November 19, 2011

To Repel a Squirrel

Let's talk about this guy.

The Squirrel

On a good day he provides comic relief.  
On a bad day he is gleefully enacting his nefarious plan of garden mayhem and destruction.

Now, I don't normally mind the squirrels.  Usually the amount of digging they do in the garden is of a tolerable amount.  Recently, however, two situations have come up in which squirrels are a Problem.

Problem 1:  Bulb Planting

Last year I planted dozens of crocus bulbs in the backyard, only to have them 'disappear' even though they were covered with a mesh.  In hindsight, I think the holes in the mesh were too large, and the squirrels were able to get their greedy little paws through and pull the bulbs out.  This year I'm taking a different approach.

Deer Off is made from what is basically rotten eggs, hot pepper, and garlic, so anything sprayed with this will not smell or taste good.  Thankfully it doesn't really smell strongly for people as long as you follow the directions and shake the bottle first.  (On the occasion that I forgot to shake it, even I didn't want to go into the garden for awhile!)  

I've used Deer Off successfully in the past for deer, and this year while searching for some sort of squirrel deterrent, I remembered its squirrel-repelling claim on the bottle.

For bulbs that squirrels will eat, I sprayed them well with Deer Off and let them dry before planting them.  (The official instructions are to dip the bulbs in Deer Off - I took a shortcut.)  After planting, I then sprayed the area with Deer Off so that the squirrels wouldn't dig there.  

So far so good - I haven't noticed any digging in those spots!  We'll see what comes up in spring.  It also probably helps that the squirrels are too busy with my new bird feeder to try to eat my bulbs.  Which brings me to my second squirrel problem.

Problem 2:  The Bird Feeder

I hung my new bird feeder from tallest pole I could find hoping that would prevent the squirrels from greedily gobbling up all of the birdseed.  At first it worked.  I wished I had gotten a video of the squirrels trying to climb the pole and then sliiiiddding back down to the bottom - it was quite humorous.

But then they called in the biggest, baddest, best climbing squirrel of the lot... 

 ..and my bird feeder was sadly no longer safe from squirrels.  

Time for a trip to the store.

Squirrel baffle!

The squirrel is effectively baffled - take that, Squirrel!  They'll just have to be satisfied now with the seeds that the birds drop.

Until next time, Squirrel..


  1. It is amusing watching squirrels try to access the bird feeder. Cute feeder!

  2. But they're so cute! (Written from a safe distance away in squirrel-free Australia)

  3. I will have to try the Deer Off. I wonder if it works with voles too? I find the squirrel baffles to work very well as long as the feeder is placed far enough away from trees that they can't jump onto the feeder. I have also sprayed WD40 on the poll and they slide right down. That works well until it rains and then they need to be sprayed again.

  4. I fought the battle, but now I have given in to the squirrels. I only plant bulbs that they won't eat, like daffodils. I eliminated any feeders they can destroy, like the cute wood ones they chew to pieces. I don't stress over their gluttony at the bird feeders, because they spill so much seed onto the ground that ground feeders like towhees and doves get to enjoy a good meal. Really our woodlands contain so many gazillions of acorns and hickory nuts, the squirrels don't depend on the feeders. They are all very cute, and very fat!

  5. Those pesky furry critters can be so annoying. I have more trouble with the raccoons getting in my feeders than the squirrels. They will gnaw them apart to get to the seed. Looks like your baffle has them wondering. LOL! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

  6. I wonder how long that baffle will work. I saw a program once that timed how long it took for squirrels to get to bird feeders. No matter what they did, the squirrels got to it. The longest time it took was four hours. Good luck!

  7. As Lyn said, here in Australia we can just enjoy squirrels for their cuteness, without having to live with them. I do hear similar complaints from friends about the possums, although they aren't a nuisance for me. Perhaps my garden isn't tasty enough!

  8. If you live in the country like I do, a good pellet gun with some coffee in the early morning warns them off. After a couple weeks they learn that pain free food can be gotten at the neighbors. They also are lots of fun for our 2 labs. The dogs can't catch them, but they get a good work out. Probably not much help to you, but it might console you knowing some people are relatively squirrel free.

  9. Squirrels can be such a nuisance! I bought my mother one of those bird feeders that spin and finally, she is getting some relief from their greedy seed-stuffing ways. She was always fretting over the vast amount of bird seed lost to the furry rodents. I think your baffle may well have them baffled for now, and I hope, for good!

  10. Sheila - I actually do enjoy watching the squirrels - they are so comical sometimes!

    Lyn - Ha! I'd be happy to send you some to enjoy...

    Karin - Good question about the voles. I'll bet it would help, but I am assuming that you would have to reapply to the bulb every year. Thankfully I haven't seen any signs of voles here yet (knocking on lots of wood). I'll bet that's a funny sight to see the squirrels sliding down with the WD40!

    deb - Thank goodness for daffodils! They work when all else fails, and there is such a variety. I love them!

    Lona - That's interesting about the raccoons! What do you do about them? Happy Thanksgiving to you as well!

    HolleyGarden - So far, so good! The feeder is a good distance from the nearest tree, as well, so they haven't been able to figure out a way around the baffle. It's kind of funny to watch them try, though! They keep climbing the nearest tree and looking at the feeder as if measure the distance..

    ignorant gardener - Ha, ha! I just had to laugh! I'm just imagining what some of our neighbors would think if I came out with a pellet gun...

    Karen - I've seen videos of those spinning feeders. Boy can those things go! Thankfully the baffle is holding good so far!

  11. Your post made me laugh :-)
    I always wonder HOW MUCH a squirrel can eat, it does not matter how much I add to the flat feeder, it always disappears (that is surely the reason I have fat squirrels in my yard LOL)


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