Pest expert shares four natural smells ‘squirrels hate’

There are millions of grey squirrels in the UK, with many of them responsible for £40 million worth of damage to British forestry each year. For gardeners experiencing problems in their own outside space, there are several humane and effective methods to deter squirrels. Jordan Foster, a pest control expert at Fantastic Pest Control shared his tips exclusively with 

“It is usually easy to spot squirrels,” Jordan said, noting how most are active during the day when they’re on the hunt for food. 

Signs of squirrels in your garden

  • Foods such as fruits, nuts, seeds, buds of flowers, and vegetables have been eaten
  • Taking eggs from birds’ nests and raiding bird feeders
  • Digging in lawns and flower beds
  • Plastics such as hosepipes, plant labels and plastic netting are gnawed on.

How to get rid of squirrels 

Some 2.5 million grey squirrels live in the UK, and whilst it’s almost impossible to eradicate them completely, gardeners can try several things to put them off visiting their outside space. 

Jordan explained: “Squirrels are rather picky about their odours, and they simply cannot tolerate some smells. 

“Spread coffee grounds in your borders or add mint pots to your patio squirrels hate the smell of both. 

“Peppermint oil and water can also be mixed and sprayed on areas in the garden where they’re causing problems.” 

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He added: “Due to their skittish nature, squirrels are generally on high alert for predators. 

“A loud noise will startle them, causing them to run away. The repellers now available on the market emit ultrasonic vibrations when they detect movement.” 

“Decoy owls are very effective,” Jordan continued. “Since squirrels are small, they are naturally inclined to scamper when threatened.

“You can use vinegar to deter squirrels just like it can get rid of weeds and prevent them from spreading. 

“You can soak rags in apple cider vinegar and place them in your shed or loft or spray a diluted solution over hard surfaces in your garden. 

“Be careful not to get it on your plants – although it can obliterate weeds, it can also ruin your plants.” 

If gardeners have tried coffee, mint and vinegar, and they still have squirrels, consider adding strong chilli powder or pepper sauce – Tabasco for example – onto bird food. 

Birds are not bothered by chilli, the RSPB claims, but most squirrels cannot cope with the burning sensation and will leave the food alone. 

Once you’ve deterred squirrels from your garden, it’s a good idea to prevent them from coming back. 

  • Use squirrel-resistant bird feeders rather than putting out loose food.
  • Cover bulbs with a wire mesh to allow the plants to grow and stop squirrels from digging them up.
  • Removing a tree or branch containing an empty squirrel nest 

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