How to keep squirrels from eating your pumpkins

  • This clever squirrel wondered if the orange globe he discovered might be edible. Determined, one bite led to another and he feasted. A Happy Thanksgiving! MiantaeMcConnell

Detroit Free Press
Published: 10/26/2018 2:52:13 PM

Every Halloween is disappointing in the same way. You carve up a stunningly creative pumpkin, possibly even your best one yet, and within a few hours, a furry creature has gotten to it.

Below are five ways to keep the critters — especially squirrels — away from your masterpiece. One final tip: Horticultural educator Mary Wilson suggests rotating the type of repellent every few weeks, as animals become less sensitive to the effects over time.

Strategy #1: DIY hot sauce concoction

Mix about a gallon of water, one small bottle of hot sauce, and a teaspoon or so of soap. Put it in a spray bottle and coat the pumpkin inside and out. Feel free to add pepper flakes — squirrels can’t handle the heat.

Strategy #2: Pet hair

If your pet sheds a lot, it’s time to put it to use. Gather a layer of pet hair and put your pumpkin on top, or arrange the hair around the pumpkin. It will remind squirrels of a predator.

Strategy #3: Windex + Pledge

Spray first with Windex, then finish off with Pledge. It’s not a nice smell, for you or the animals.

Strategy #4: Deer repellent, or general animal repellent

Same deal: you can find various animal repellents at local garden stores. Most of them have ingredients like peppermint, garlic or eggs.

Strategy #5: Blood meal

This one is the most Halloween you can get. Blood meal is a garden fertilizer made from, well, blood. Squirrels don’t like it because they’re vegetarians. Sprinkle some around your pumpkins, but keep it limited to less than 4 ounces per square yard. Look in hardware or garden stores.

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