Do Mothballs Keep Squirrels Away

Do Mothballs Keep Squirrels Away


Do Mothballs Keep Squirrels Away: Mothballs have long been a popular household item used to protect clothing and other stored items from moth infestations. However, their pungent odor and chemical composition have led some to wonder whether they might serve another purpose. Keeping squirrels away from gardens, attics, and other unwanted areas. This intriguing idea has sparked numerous debates and discussions among homeowners and gardeners looking for humane and cost-effective ways to deter these persistent rodents.

Squirrels are known for their resourcefulness and adaptability, often causing a nuisance by raiding bird feeders, digging up gardens, and nesting in attics. While there are various commercial repellents available, the notion of using mothballs as a squirrel deterrent has gained attention due to their accessibility and affordability. Potential efficacy of mothballs as a squirrel repellent, we will delve into the science behind mothball composition, the sensory perceptions of squirrels, and anecdotal evidence from homeowners who have tried this method. We will also examine any potential risks or ethical concerns associated with using mothballs in this manner.

While mothballs contain chemicals like naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene, which emit a strong odor intended to deter insects and other pests, it remains uncertain whether these compounds are effective at deterring squirrels. Squirrels rely heavily on their keen sense of smell to navigate their environment and locate food sources. Thus, the strong odor of mothballs may theoretically discourage them from approaching treated areas. However, the actual impact of mothballs on squirrels and the extent to which they might deter these animals remain areas of debate within the scientific community.

Do Mothballs Keep Squirrels Away

Are moth balls good to keep squirrels away?

Will mothballs help repel squirrels? Mothballs should not be used to repel squirrels – nor should they be used to control anything other than clothes moths.

There is a lack of scientific research demonstrating the efficacy of mothballs in repelling squirrels specifically.

Health Concerns: Both naphthalene and paradichlorobenzene, the active ingredients in mothballs, are toxic to humans and animals when ingested or inhaled in large quantities. Using mothballs outdoors could potentially pose risks to pets, wildlife, and the environment.

Short-Term Solution: Even if mothballs initially deter squirrels, they may become accustomed to the odor over time, rendering the repellent less effective.

Physical Barriers: Install barriers such as wire mesh or netting to protect gardens and vulnerable areas like attics.

Trapping and Relocation: Live traps can be used to capture squirrels, which can then be safely relocated to a more suitable habitat.

Natural Repellents: Some natural repellents, such as cayenne pepper, predator urine, or commercial squirrel repellent products, may be more effective and less harmful than mothballs.

What smell do squirrels hate the most?

They’re said to dislike the scent of coffee grounds and peppermint, or you could make up your own recipe with vinegar, garlic and onions or peppermint oil to spray in the garden. Chilli flakes and pepper might put them off, so try a sprinkling of these – it’s often used to keep squirrels off bird feeders.


One scent that squirrels dislike is peppermint. The strong and minty aroma of peppermint oil can overwhelm their sensitive noses. To use this as a deterrent, you can create a peppermint oil spray by mixing a few drops of peppermint essential oil with water. Spray this solution around your garden or on areas where squirrels are causing problems. Just be sure to reapply it regularly, as the scent can fade over time.

Hot Pepper

Squirrels have a strong aversion to spicy scents, such as those found in hot peppers. Capsaicin, the compound responsible for the heat in peppers, can be used to deter squirrels effectively. You can make a homemade squirrel repellent by mixing hot pepper flakes or hot sauce with water and a bit of dish soap to help the mixture adhere to surfaces. Spray or sprinkle this concoction in areas frequented by squirrels to keep them at bay.


Garlic is another scent that squirrels find unpleasant. You can crush garlic cloves and scatter them around your garden or plant garlic bulbs near vulnerable plants to deter squirrels from digging them up. Additionally, you can create a garlic-infused spray by steeping crushed garlic in water and spraying it on plants and areas prone to squirrel activity.


Vinegar is a versatile household item that can serve as a natural squirrel repellent. The strong, pungent odor of vinegar can help deter these critters. Simply mix equal parts water and white vinegar and spray it on surfaces where squirrels are causing problems. It’s an effective way to keep them away without harming your plants or the environment.

Predator Urine

Squirrels are naturally cautious animals and are always on the lookout for potential predators. Using the scent of a predator’s urine, such as that of a fox or a coyote, can make them think twice about venturing into your space. You can find predator urine-based squirrel repellent products in stores or online, which can be applied around your garden perimeter.

What is the most effective squirrel repellent?

Scents like white pepper, black pepper, and garlic are naturally unpleasant to a squirrel. The same goes for sweet smells such as peppermint. Try spraying your plants and flowers with water and then sprinkling on pepper or peppermint oil to deter squirrels.

Several commercial squirrel repellent sprays are available in stores and online. These products typically contain natural ingredients like capsaicin, garlic, or predator urine to deter squirrels. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for best results.

Electronic Repellent Devices: Ultrasonic devices emit high-frequency sounds that are unpleasant to squirrels, driving them away from your property. These devices are safe for humans and pets but may take some time to show results.

Motion-Activated Sprinklers: Motion-activated sprinklers are a humane and effective way to keep squirrels out of your garden. They activate when squirrels approach, spraying water to deter them.

Squirrel-Proof Feeders: If you’re trying to protect bird feeders, invest in squirrel-proof designs that are difficult for squirrels to access. These feeders often have mechanisms that close off access to the seed when a squirrel tries to climb on.

Repellent Granules and Pellets: Some commercial products come in the form of granules or pellets that you can spread in your garden or on the ground to create a barrier that squirrels find unpleasant.

What is a simple squirrel repellent?

You can mix apple cider vinegar with its equivalent in water and a few drops of lemon-scented soap to create a squirrel spray for your plants and flowers. This spray won’t harm them, but you might need a lot of it and must re-apply concurrently to maintain deterrence.


Mothballs emit a strong and unpleasant odor that squirrels find offensive. To use mothballs as a repellent, simply place them strategically around your garden or in areas where squirrels are a problem. Be cautious, though, as mothballs contain toxic chemicals and should be kept out of reach of children and pets.


Squirrels dislike the smell of garlic. You can crush garlic cloves and scatter them around your garden or near plants you want to protect. This simple method can help deter squirrels from digging up your plants.

White Vinegar

White vinegar can be an effective and safe squirrel repellent. Mix equal parts water and white vinegar and spray it on surfaces or plants that squirrels are targeting. The strong odor of vinegar can discourage their presence.

Predator Urine

Squirrels are naturally wary of predators. You can purchase predator urine, such as that of foxes or coyotes, and apply it around your garden or property to create the illusion of a predator’s presence. This can deter squirrels from approaching.

Physical Barriers

Simple physical barriers, such as wire mesh or netting, can also be effective in keeping squirrels away from plants or areas you want to protect. Ensure that the barriers are secure and cover the vulnerable areas.

What animals hate the smell of mothballs?

Mothballs sometimes are used illegally to repel pests not listed on labels. Some of these “off-label pests” include: squirrels, skunks, deer, mice, rats, and snakes, among others animals. Use mothballs pesticide products to control the pests listed on the label only!


Mothballs were initially designed to ward off clothes moths and carpet beetles, and they remain highly effective for this purpose. The primary target of mothballs is, unsurprisingly, moths. The scent of naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene, the active ingredients in mothballs, repels moths and prevents them from laying eggs on clothing and fabrics.

Rats and Mice

Rats and mice are known to be sensitive to strong odors, including that of mothballs. Placing mothballs in areas where these rodents are likely to enter, such as attics, basements, or crawl spaces, can deter them from making your home their nesting ground.


While mothballs are not a foolproof snake repellent, some snake species may avoid areas with a strong mothball odor. This can be particularly useful if you have concerns about venomous snakes in your vicinity. However, keep in mind that some snake species may not be affected by mothballs, so it’s essential to take additional precautions.


Squirrels are known for their resourcefulness, and they often find their way into gardens, attics, or crawl spaces. The smell of mothballs can deter squirrels from these areas, helping protect your property from their intrusions.


Groundhogs, also known as woodchucks, are notorious for digging holes and burrows in lawns and gardens. Mothballs placed near their burrow entrances can discourage them from returning to those locations.

What animal are squirrels most afraid of?


A dog or cat may keep squirrels out of your yard, particularly if your dog chases squirrels. If you don’t have a cat or dog, you can place plastic owls around your property on elevated surfaces such as fence posts or the roof to frighten squirrels away.

Birds of Prey

Squirrels are highly alert and cautious creatures, and they are acutely aware of the presence of birds of prey, such as hawks and owls. These raptors are skilled hunters that pose a significant threat to squirrels. Squirrels will often remain vigilant and seek cover when they detect the shadow or silhouette of a bird of prey soaring above.


Squirrels have a natural aversion to snakes, which are known for their stealthy hunting techniques. When a squirrel encounters a snake, it will usually emit loud warning calls, flick its tail, and attempt to keep its distance. Snakes like rat snakes and pythons are potential predators of squirrels.

Domestic Pets

Household pets, such as cats and dogs, can instill fear in squirrels. Squirrels will often flee to the safety of trees when they spot a dog or a cat in pursuit. While many pets may chase squirrels for fun, the actual hunting instinct varies among individual animals.

Coyotes and Foxes

Coyotes and foxes are natural predators of squirrels. These canids are opportunistic hunters and are known to catch squirrels when given the chance. Squirrels are particularly wary of the scent of fox urine, as it indicates the presence of a predator.


Although not direct predators of squirrels, humans can also cause squirrels to experience fear and anxiety. Activities like gardening, construction, and habitat disruption can make squirrels feel threatened and drive them away from their usual territories.

Do squirrels hate the smell of lemon?

Lemon: Lemon juice or lemon essential oil can be used to create a strong scent that discourages squirrels and chipmunks. Mix lemon juice or oil with water and spray it around the garden or near the plants you want to protect.

Squirrels’ Sensitivity to Smells

Squirrels have an acute sense of smell, which they rely on for various aspects of their lives. Their keen olfactory abilities help them locate food, identify predators, and communicate with other squirrels through scent marking. Due to their sensitivity to smells, it is theoretically possible that certain scents could deter them.

Lemon as a Squirrel Repellent

Lemon-scented products, such as lemon essential oils or lemon peels, are sometimes natural squirrel repellents. The idea is that the strong citrus odor of lemon may overwhelm squirrels’ sensitive noses and discourage them from entering an area or damaging plants.

Limited Scientific Evidence

While there is anecdotal evidence to suggest that squirrels may be deterred by the smell of lemon, there is limited scientific research specifically addressing this issue. Most natural squirrel repellents are based on trial and error or traditional rather than rigorous scientific studies.

The Effectiveness of Lemon as a Squirrel Repellent

The effectiveness of lemon as a squirrel repellent can vary from one situation to another. Some individuals report success in deterring squirrels by placing lemon peels or spraying lemon-scented solutions around their gardens or homes. However, the results are inconsistent and may depend on various factors, including the specific squirrel population and the availability of other food sources.

What colors are squirrels afraid of?

As for nuisance squirrels, it may be useful for safe and humane wildlife abatement. You see, there is a theory that squirrels are afraid of the color red, and therefore, steer clear of anything resembling the crimson hue.

Lack of Scientific Evidence

First and foremost, it’s crucial to that there is no scientific evidence to support the idea that squirrels are inherently afraid of specific colors. Squirrels’ perception of color is similar to that of humans, with the ability to see a range of colors. However, their color vision may not be as detailed or vibrant as ours.

Squirrels and Camouflage

Squirrels have evolved to be excellent at blending into their natural surroundings, which often include shades of green, brown, and gray. This natural camouflage helps them avoid predators and stay hidden while foraging or seeking shelter. While they may not be afraid of specific colors, they are instinctively cautious of any unusual or conspicuous objects in their environment.

The Role of Unusual Objects

Squirrels are known for their curiosity and vigilance. When they encounter something new or unfamiliar in their territory, they tend to approach it cautiously. This behavior is a survival instinct that helps them assess potential threats or opportunities.

Bright and Unusual Colors

In some cases, people may observe squirrels behaving skittishly or avoiding brightly colored objects or decorations in their yards. However, this behavior is not due to a fear of color itself. Instead, it is likely a reaction to the sudden appearance of something unusual or out of the ordinary. Squirrels may avoid these objects initially, but they tend to habituate to them over time and may resume their normal activities.

Do Mothballs Keep Squirrels Away


We considered various factors, including the sensory perceptions of squirrels and the chemical composition of mothballs. While it’s plausible that squirrels might be repelled by the intense odor emitted by mothballs, there’s no solid scientific consensus on whether this method is consistently successful in deterring these agile and resourceful rodents.

Anecdotal evidence from homeowners has produced mixed results. Some individuals claim success in using mothballs to keep squirrels at bay, while others have found that these creatures appear undeterred by the pungent odor and continue their activities undisturbed. This variation in outcomes suggests that the effectiveness of mothballs as a squirrel repellent may be unpredictable and dependent on various factors, such as the local squirrel population, the specific odor sensitivity of the squirrels, and the environment in which the repellent is used.

Mothballs contain toxic chemicals that can be harmful to humans, pets, and the environment. The use of these substances in a manner not intended by the manufacturer may pose health and safety risks, making them an imperfect and potentially hazardous solution for squirrel deterrence. In light of these uncertainties and potential risks, homeowners and gardeners seeking to manage squirrel-related issues should explore alternative, proven methods for deterring these creatures. Options such as securing trash cans, using squirrel-proof bird feeders, and employing exclusion techniques to prevent access to attics and gardens have demonstrated greater reliability in addressing squirrel problems while minimizing harm to the animals and the environment.

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