Do Mothballs Deter Squirrels?

In the quest to keep gardens undisturbed by squirrels, gardeners have tried many different methods to repel these rodents. One of these methods is using mothballs. But, do moths deter squirrels effectively?

Yes, mothballs deter squirrels effectively thanks to their strong odour. However, they are very bad for the environment so you should try to use natural deterrents first and foremost.

Do Mothballs Get Rid of Squirrels?

Mothballs have a distinct odour, and it is one that squirrels greatly dislike.

Many people use mothballs to repel squirrels as they work both indoors and outdoors. To use these mothballs to repel squirrels, all you have to do is place them in corners of your house or in plant pots or bedded plant areas.

You may need to use quite a few if you want to keep squirrels away from every inch of your garden, as their smell works mostly in smaller areas.

Do Squirrels Like Mothballs?

No, mothballs have a repulsive smell to squirrels which is why they can work well at deterring them from your flower beds. They can, however, be harmful to the wider environment.

Will Mothballs Keep Squirrels Out of Attics?

Mothballs can keep squirrels out of attics when placed in gaps that they may enter through. You do need to consider whether using mothballs is legal in your state or country, however.

After a few weeks, the smell of these mothballs will become less obvious, so you are advised to keep checking up on them and replace them when they no longer have a strong smell.

Do Mothballs Repel Other Pests?

There are a lot of animals that mothballs are supposed to get rid of, these include mice, rats and pigeons.

However, a lot of people have cited that they are not actually very effective at this job, and instead of repelling them, they simply bring a new smell to your garden.

That being said, their original design was to repel moths, and the vapours from mothballs are actually effective at killing moths. But moths are very beneficial to the environment so you should not do this.

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Are Mothballs Toxic to Squirrels?

Mothballs are actually very toxic to squirrels and many other animals.

Sometimes, squirrels may eat a mothball after mistaking it for a different kind of food, and this will sadly kill them.

The reason for the toxicity is that mothballs contain a chemical called naphthalene. This chemical is said to be a deterrent, and people have argued its effectiveness, but there is no denying that mothballs are toxic to many animals because of the chemical they contain.

Are Mothballs Bad for the Environment?

Mothballs are very bad for the environment, which is why many people no longer use them and look to natural and less dangerous methods of repelling pests.

The reason they are so bad for the environment is because of the vast number of animals that can be killed by their presence.

Killing insects, rodents and birds disrupts the ecosystem and has a negative impact on all the surrounding wildlife. They can also affect the surrounding flora if the chemical spreads through the soil, so the costs of mothballs outweigh the benefits.

Squirrels might be driving you mad, but harming other wildlife is not worth it!

Are Mothballs Illegal to Use?

This is dependent on where you live, but many areas have banned the use of mothballs because of their highly negative effects on the environment. They also pose a risk to human health, which is why they were banned by the EU in 2008.

As well as this, the EPA (environmental protection agency) is in charge of regulating the use of mothballs, and currently, they are illegal to use in your garden in the U.S.

Even if you live in an area where mothballs are legal to use, you should not use them because they are most effective at killing pests rather than simply deterring them and right now, we need to do everything we can to help protect the environment.

What Smells Can Use Instead of Mothballs?

Mothballs might not be the best thing to use when deterring squirrels but there is a range of smells that can work well at deterring squirrels thankfully:

  • Garlic – The strong smell of garlic (and other plants in the allium family) is enough to deter squirrels. Garlic works particularly well when interplanted with crops that often get dug up.
  • Coffee Grounds – One of the best things you can use to keep squirrels away is coffee grounds. Coffee grounds are a waste product of making coffee but, sprinkling them around your garden can deter squirrels whilst improving your soil quality.
  • Pepper – Black pepper, white pepper and cayenne pepper can simply be sprinkled on the ground to keep squirrels off it.


So do mothballs deter squirrels or not? Mothballs have been used to repel squirrels and other pests because of their smell. Mothballs are toxic to a wide number of animals, and this includes squirrels.

Using mothballs is very bad for the environment, which is why many people do not use them, and they have been banned by certain organisations such as the EU.

Fortunately, there are a number of other smells that can be used to deter squirrels from flower beds and your garden including coffee grounds sprinkled on the ground, many types of pepper and garlic plants.

Where possible, we would highly recommend avoiding the use of mothballs – especially outside!

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