Does Squirrel Repellent Work?

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If you want to solve a squirrel problem, your first instinct may be to seek a squirrel repellent. After all, they are sold at Home Depot and Lowe's and all over the internet, so they must work, right? Here are some examples of the most popular squirrel repellents currently marketed and sold:

  1. Moth Balls (napthalene) balls or flakes
  2. Coyote urine, liquid or powder form
  3. Ammonia (soak in rag or tennis ball)
  4. Flashing or strobing lights
  5. High pitch ultrasonic sound machines
  6. Secret blends sold by reputable retailers!
Many people want a squirrel repellent for the attic, because that's the most common area of squirrel problems. Removing squirrels from the attic is a difficult project, and usually involves a nest of baby squirrels. Read about it in my guide to getting squirrels out of an attic - repellents will be of no use to you!

There is no such thing as an effective squirrel repellent. Period. Companies will always try to sell you products, and magic cure-alls. In the field of wildlife control, you'll often find many bogus products for sale. Squirrels are mammals. They are similar to you and I, and there is no particular scent that magically works to make them leave an area, such as an attic. The internet is full of squirrel deterrent products, but none of them work. Some of these products include fox or coyote urine, which is a nice idea in theory, but it isn't effective on squirrels. Other products are simply made of napthalene - moth balls - which some companies sell as an end-all be-all in wildlife repellant. Sorry, it simply doesn't work. I've seen people dump up to 50 lb. of mothballs in an attic squirrels are living, and they don't care in the slightest. They keep using the area. Devices such as ultrasonic sound emitters that make a high-pitched noise are completely useless. I've been to so many properties over the years in which people have spent time and money on silly gimmicks like these, and then they hire a real wildlife control operator, and then problem is correctly taken care of.

There is no magic spray or powder or anything else to keep away squirrels. (Squirrel-Repel brand deterrent spray keeps 'em away! Guaranteed!!) Most marketed squirrel repellents are some variant of mothballs or coyote urine. The idea with moth balls is that they make such a bad smell that the animal can't stand to live in the area. The problem is that once a squirrel has found a home, it will work hard to keep it, just to survive. Squirrels are territorial, and it's hard for them to just pack up and leave and find a new place to live. The odor doesn't make them leave. In fact, in attics, there's a lot of ventilation that makes the odor barely noticeable. And the coyote urine is supposed to scare them away, but I've never seen it work. How many coyotes catch squirrels - and since when does just the smell of a predator's urine guarantee that it'll keep the animal away? In short, it just doesn't work, and the FTC has issued warnings against the effectiveness of many repellant products, because these products don't work as advertised.

Above we see a photo of a squirrel caught properly in a trap, as it exits out of a large round gable vent of an apartment attic. The best way to get rid of squirrels is to find out how they are getting into a building (if that's the problem) and trapping the squirrels at the source. If you have a squirrel problem and you wish to get rid of them, they should be physically trapped and removed from the habitat. After all the squirrels are removed, the entry points that they chewed open should be completely and permanently sealed.

What about a squirrel repellent for cars? If you have squirrels in your car, keep the automobile in the garage! I know that's probably not an option for you, or you would have done it by now. If your problem is squirrels chewing on the wires of the car, your most effective option, outside of squirrel trapping and removal, is to spray or baste super hot sauce on the wires with a paintbrush or toothbrush. That should slow or stop the chewing. But there is no squirrel repellent for cars that will simply prevent them from entering.

Squirrels cause a number of problems for people. The most common conflicts that occur with squirrels involves their desire to live inside of buildings. Like all members of the rodent family, squirrels are excellent chewers, and they will chew their way into your home or commercial building. Once inside, they may even chew on wires or pipes! People often hear the squirrels running about in the attic or ceiling. They often bring in nesting debris, and can create a fire hazard, not only due to the debris, but also by chewing electrical wires. Squirrels will also chew on the woodwork of a home. Everyone knows about how squirrels steal food from birdfeeders, but that problem can be solved by buying squirrel-proof feeders. Squirrels have two litters per year, and reproduce quickly, like all rodents. This means that at times the squirrel population can grow to high numbers, and extra pressure is placed on buildings. Squirrels will move into attics or chimneys, or even places like drier vents. Most trained wildlife control professionals have excellent experience in solving squirrel problems, so if you need squirrel control, click the links on this page to find a wildlife removal company in your neck of the woods, and get rid of those squirrels once and for all.

AAAnimal Control is a professional nuisance wildlife control company located in Orlando, FL. We offer solutions to wildlife problems throughout the Greater Orlando Florida area, including squirrel control. Wildlife services include animal trapping, capture & removal, plus animal damage repairs and preventative measures. We also offer biological cleanup and many other services. Give us a call at 407-729-6946 any time to discuss your wildlife management issue and schedule an appointment. You can always browse this site for more details and info, and you can even check out prices ahead of time. If you live elsewhere in the US and have found this site and need a local trapper in your area, click here for a nationwide list of 100's of professional squirrel removal experts.

Example squirrel problem email: David, I've been hearing some noises in my attic, and I'm concerned that I may have squirrels or some other rodent up there. The reason I think it may be squirrels is that I have a few very large trees in my yard that I see squirrels in. The noise I hear in my attic is sporadic. I seemed to notice it the most around dawn yesterday. I heard something around 11pm last night as well. I also hear an occasional knocking type noise during the day. My house is brand new. I've only lived here for 6 months. Today I looked up in the attic from both entry points, and I don't see any visible disturbances in the blown in insulation up there. Would the untrained eye even notice anything out of the ordinary? I'd appreciate a bit of advice on this. I cannot find any way a squirrel could be getting in my attic except to climb from under the house up the iron vent vipe for my plumbing which exits out through the attic. I've only found a few droppings but they are right there @ that pipe. Also is it possible the squirrel would be coming in to steal insulation for a tree nest site and not actually nesting in the attic? There's no sign of a nest ( I have a very small attic and can all of it) but there is insulation being drug around near the pipe. Is there some kind of squirrel powder or squirrel spray that I can use in my attic to make them go away? Thanks. Julie

My answer: Julie - If you hear the noises at dawn (and dusk) or any time during the day, it's almost certainly caused by squirrels. Many people do not notice disturbances in the attic, because squirrels tend to stick to the edges of the attic, or even tunnel under insulation. It may take a good trained professional to find out how the squirrels are getting in and out. And no, there is definitely no effective squirrel repellent that will make them leave. They must be trapped and removed from the attic. - David

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