Squirrel Deterrents – The Best and Worst Types

You can protect your bird feeders from hungry squirrels. Before selecting a strategy, you’ll need to figure out what type of deterrent will work best with the environment and the situation. Here are some tips on what kinds of squirrel deterrents work best for specific conditions.

How to Deter Squirrels

Squirrel Deterrents – The Best and Worst Types

The two best types of deterrents to using are sound-producing devices and visual distractions. Electrical or battery-powered sonic devices produce ultrasonic waves that annoy the squirrel but do not harm it. If set up correctly, these can be very effective because squirrels will be scared away for hours, even when humans are not around to witness the tactics.

Light or lasers can be helpful as a visual distraction, but squirrels will adapt after a few days of the light being on. The animal will eventually get used to it and return to its intended food source. One way around this is to change what type of light you use every day so the animal cannot get used to it.

These are not the only types of deterrents that will work either. There are other options for people who do not wish to use light or sound emitting devices. Some primary deterrents include:

  • Using tightly woven bird feeder nets or place squirrel guards on poles and branches so they cannot reach the food source
  • Trying to hide any food sources in or around your backyard by keeping them out of sight
  • Using round cages for bird feeders that are too large for squirrels to enter
  • Hanging pie tins with coins in them over the area where you typically see squirrels. The noise scares the animals away, but people do not need to be around for this tactic to work.
  • Any type of atypical or irregular shaped bird feeder can be effective because it is harder for squirrels to manoeuvre on them.

Related read: Protect Your Bird Feeders from Squirrels

The Worst Types of Deterrents

The worst types of deterrents are those that do not deter the animals and those that harm the squirrels. For instance, many people try repellants like garlic or pepper spray to keep rodents away from their bird feeders and gardens. These products will not work because the squirrels’ sense of smell is much stronger than a human’s; however, it may leave stains on whatever you spray it on, such as vinyl siding.

Another tactic that does not work and can even cause harm is using hot pepper sauce on poles around your garden and backyard. This substance makes the area smell bad, but it cannot deter the animal from returning if food is available. To make matters worse, squirrels will scratch at anything covered in this substance, such as window screens, thus causing damage to the screen. The animal may then get stuck trying to escape and injure itself even further.

The Best Types of Deterrents

The best types of deterrents are sound-producing devices and visual distractions because these tactics work on all animals at any time of day or night, not just when there is someone around to witness them in action.

Dealing with Squirrels Around the Bird Feeder

Some people have issues with squirrels getting into their bird feeders, but this problem is easily avoidable. One of the best deterrents for this situation is a tightly woven net hanging over the entire feeder and allowing only birds to get inside it. You can also purchase a built-in net for your feeder that attaches right to the feeding ports.

You may also read: Set Up Your Rat Trap for Your Own Garden

However, these methods are not 100 per cent effective because squirrels can still figure out ways around them if they want to get into the feeder enough. Another option is to hang pie tins with coins in them over the area where you typically see squirrels hanging out. The noise scares the animals away, but people do not need to be around for this tactic to work.

This situation can also be prevented by taking all feeders in at night because most squirrels are out looking for food. If you have a problem with raccoons getting into your feeders, installing a motion-activated sprinkler can provide an extra layer of protection.

Another type of deterrent for this situation is to make all food sources around your backyard as difficult to access as possible. Put bird feeders on poles or attach them to branches that are too small or high up for squirrels to climb. You could also use tightly-woven nets to cover the areas where you put your bird feeders and food to keep them from getting into those spaces.

Dealing with Squirrels in the Garbage Can

Squirrels will roost in garbage cans, so you need to use a different deterrent if this is an issue for you. One way to do that is to attach a rod above the can and hang metal springs from it. When disturbed by the animal jumping on them, the Springs make loud noises and send the squirrels running away in fear.

Another option is to keep a low-wattage light in or near your garbage can at night to keep rodents away. You could also try sprinkling some cayenne pepper around the can or hanging up a large plastic owl near the trash.

Dealing with Squirrels in the Garden

Squirrel Deterrents – The Best and Worst Types

If you have an issue with squirrels digging up your garden, one way to deter them is to use wire fencing that sticks out one inch above the ground. This tactic will keep animals out because they do not like walking on solid objects or feeling anything touching their feet.

Another option is to keep a tall fence around your garden with small holes near the bottom so other wildlife can get in but not squirrels. You could also hang up an orange string scarecrow near the garden, as it will move when touched and frighten away any animal except birds.

How to Keep Squirrels Out of the Bird Feeder With a CD

An easy way to repel squirrels around bird feeders is to attach shiny CDs at various angles on stakes in front of the feeding port. The reflection scares them, which will keep them away from your feeder. You could also try wrapping aluminium foil around the pole where you hang your food source. The squirrels are less likely to try to climb up the pole if they cannot see it.


If you have issues with squirrels getting into your bird feeders, any of these deterrents could work for you. You need to choose one that fits your situation best and invest time implementing it around your home.

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