Does pepper spray on fruit and vegetables really repel squirrels? If not, is there ANYTHING that really works for these determined little guys? If not, I may as well just give up gardening. Thanks!
I have squirrel problems with bird feeders..even humming bird feeder. I have read that pepper spray works on bird seed. I assume it would also work on anything else they want to eat on.
Hot pepper flakes mixed in with bird seed, other than just Oiled Sunflower, can cause squirrels to leave that seed alone but in my experience hot pepper sprays are too dilute to affect squirrels.
I've not had a problem with squirrels eating the produce from the garden, except the Nectarenes and Apples, although other critters, rabbits, etc. will and these are usually easily kept out by good, tight fencing.
I had squirrels dig up all my cucumber sprouts last week. They will also eat tomatoes. There is not a fruit tree I have that they won't go after. Does bird netting work for squirrels too or do they just chew right through it? Maybe that could be a solution.
My neighbor grows veggies and he came up with a solution to keep cats from digging in his freshly planted seed rows, that might just work for this too. He got a roll of hardware cloth. Cut it in half lengthwise. Took each of the two pieces and folded them partly in half lengthwise. Shaped like a house roof. My guess from across the street, is each side is about 8 or 10 inches high..two sides tolal16 or 20 inches..so the roll would have been about 32 or 40 inches wide when purchased.
He stores them in his garage and brings them out to sit over his new seedlings whenever he plants something. Once the plants are up and growing, and the spot is being watered, the cats and birds no longer have any interest and the little roofs get stored again. Bet that would do the trick. Maybe a slight modification by closing off the ends of the roofs also. No idea if a squirrel would enter a wire tunnel or not.
This post was edited by plaidbird on Mon, Apr 29, 13 at 20:41
There is a multi-million dollar industry revolving around squirrel/rodent proof gadgets and repellants. We've tried all kinds of chemical and natural repellants and supposedly squirrel proof gadgets to keep them off the bird feeders and out of flower beds and pots planted with veggies or flowers and honestly, the only thing I have ever found that keeps rodents away is live trapping and relocating or shooting. Squirrels are smart and determined and they will find a way to get to what they want given the time.
Homechicken, wanna hear something funny? I live trapped a squirrel and relocated it. Then reset the trap. The next squirrel was so quick it took the bait and dashed out before the trap closed. Then I wired the bait to the trap. At least the squirrel didn't steal the bait after that but it was still too quick for the trap. I got some hot pepper wax spray for my fruit to squirrel proof them but I tasted it and the stuff is just weak, no where near the heat of Tabasco. I have also concluded that it is only helpful to have a "squirrel aggressive" dog if you are able plant all your produce well within the yard away from fence lines and larger trees which give squirrels an easy escape. Squirrels will not put themselves in a spot where they are trapped by the dog up a smallish fruit tree. Going forward, no fruit trees near a fence line or edge of the yard. Live and learn.
I have used vinegar soaked rags hung on small stakes around the perimeter of my small garden for 3 years now, and it works great.
A few important notes:
Don't let the vinegar touch anything you don't want killed- make sure you wring out the rags well before hanging them.
Also, place them at "squirrel level" each side- approx 6 to 12 in high.
Here s what I do :
I use the small metal flag markers that utility companies use when locating underground lines. You can use anything around the same height
Remove their flag
Take an old washcloth and cut it diagonally into 2 triangles
Soak each in a bowl of regular, white vinegar. Wring out, and run thru the top of the metal post, so each triangle makes one flag per post. If it doesn't stay in place, wrap some duct tape around the post just under the portion where you want the flag, so the tape serves as a base for the rag.
Then place them just around the perimeter of your garden. Watch the squirrels turn around when they catch a whiff of the vinegar!
My mom tried it with her potted flowers, and was amused at watching her regular visitor stop in his tracks and run the other direction.
Refresh after heavy rains or each week or however often necesary by taking a bowl of vinegar outside and just dipping the flag portion and wringing it out over the bowl, so you don't have to move them. As long as the bowl is wide enough, you won't spill over onto your grass or garden.
Would love to hear how it works out for you.
Greenleaf O that's funny. They are amazingly adept a figuring things out. Somewhere I have a picture I took on our deck of a squirrel on a "squirrel proof" feeder. I'd already shot several that attempted to get into it, but this one figured it out before I had the chance, and after I saw how she beat it I didn't have the heart to shoot her.
You can buy large cannisters of cayennne pepper powder at most supermarkets and membershjp stores. It's ideal for sprinkling into the bird seed before filling the feeder. Don't be shy about using plenty, especially at first.
I also use it to sprinkle on the soil of container plants which attract chipmunks in my neighborhood.
Plaid bird, the hardware cloth sounds like a great idea for my next planting of cukes, thanks. Jolia, I may try the vinegar cloth on a fence line that leads up to my fruit trees. Pepper spray did nothing, despite label claims to the contrary. Thanks.
Hi Green leaf,
Ya, I thought the little roofs were very clever. I just thought of more...he made them only about 4 feet long so they are sturdy, and do not flop around. Makes them easy to stack together and store. He can run two together lengthwise for his 8 foot long bed, or side by side for two short four foot, side by side rows.
It's turned out his one time investment has been used for oh..at least a decade now. Stored in a garage corner or top shelf they don't get weathered and are not a visual eye sore in the off season. Darn clever.
Good luck and I hope they work.
I made long "tents" of chicken wire to keep the birds from ripping out my seedlings. I think it was 24" wire, folded in half the long way.
After the plants are touching the sides it's safe to remove the tents.
Squirrels in our community garden love tomatoes. But I now get more of my tomatoes than the squirrels. As soon as my heirloom tomatoes start to turn red, I pick them and let them ripen inside my house. I read this tip several years ago and have followed it since. The tip-giver said that the flavor of the early-picked tomatoes would be the same as though they had ripened on the vine... and I think this is so. Another method I use to defeat the squirrels uses old knee-high stockings. When a large heirloom tomato is still green but large, I slide it into a stocking. Squirrels will not eat through the stocking fabric.
I use an electric fence but you have to wire it differently for squirrels. You run the wires about an inch apart and isolated from each other. Then you hook them up alternantly hot and ground. In other words you hook the hot to the bottom wire, then ground to the next, then hot, and so on up to three or four feet. The squirrel tries to squeeze through the two wires, completes the circuit and POW. If you use a small charger, it won't kill the squirrel, but they won't try it twice!
I have cages for most of my beds. 1" welded wire made into a box that fits on top of the bed in sections. I made a few taller ones with furring strips and chicken wire as well.
For peas and beans I just plant the seeds, cover with some mulch, then place 1/2" hardware cloth right on top of them. They grow right through and onto the trellis.
For the stubborn squirrels, the BB gun has worked pretty well with some well places shots on the hindquarters; scaring them more than anything; if I were to kill them, I'd aim closer to the head.
The vinegar cloth one I'm going to try this week.