Essential oils are often used by gardeners to deter pests. But can you use this method to deter squirrels and in particular, can squirrels be repelled using peppermint oil?
Do Squirrels Like Peppermint?
Squirrels do not like peppermint.
The reason for this is because, as with most things that squirrels dislike, the strong odour is very unattractive to squirrels and it will drive them away from any area in which it is present.
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So, knowing that squirrels dislike peppermint, how can we use this to keep squirrels off of our gardens?
Will Using Peppermint Oil Get Rid of Squirrels?
Yes, because of their dislike for the smell of peppermint, peppermint oil can be effectively used to get rid of any squirrels. There are several different ways in which you can do this.
Applying with Cotton Wool
If you are simply looking to protect one small area, this method is the best one.
Soak some cotton wool balls in some peppermint oil. Then you can place the minty scented cotton close to plants to deter squirrels from going near them. Burying them just a tiny bit in the soil will stop them from being blown away but it will still be strong enough to get rid of the pesky rodents.
Make a Peppermint Oil Spray
For trying to protect the whole of your garden, this method is more effective and efficient.
You can buy some peppermint sprays, or you can simply make one yourself. To make one yourself, mix one drop of peppermint oil per ounce of vinegar into a spray bottle. Shake and stir the mixture then you can apply it to any hard surfaces in your garden.
It should be noted that some plants are quite sensitive to the presence of essential oils. To prevent any harm from coming to your plants, it is always a good idea to do a test with any sprays you make before applying them throughout your garden.
Simply apply the spray in a small area and check back in a couple of hours before applying it everywhere. If there is no damage, then you are good to go.
Do Peppermint Plants Deter Squirrels?
If you want to steer clear of using essential oils, then you can simply plant peppermint instead. It is not as strong and therefore will only work in the small area around where it is planted.
But if you have a select few plants that are being constantly disturbed by squirrels then interspersing some peppermint between these plants should keep the squirrels away from this area.
You can also plant other strong-smelling herbs to keep squirrels away, such as garlic.
Will Peppermint Oil Harm Pets?
Essential oils can be harmful to pets so if you have pets it may be best to avoid using essential oils.
Peppermint oil is included with this, it is toxic to dogs and cats whether ingested or applied to the skin. If you do want to use peppermint oil, then make sure to create the mixture in a room separate from your pets.
You should also wait several hours after applying the spray before letting your pets out into the garden.
Even then you should keep an eye on them to make sure that they don’t start licking or eating plants where the peppermint oil has been applied.
To summarise what we have learnt, squirrels dislike peppermint because of its smell and this can be used to repel squirrels.
You can use peppermint oil to get rid of squirrels either by placing small amounts of cotton soaked in peppermint oil around your garden, or you can make a spray using peppermint oil and vinegar to apply to all areas of the garden.
Peppermint oil is bad for pets so make sure to always prepare it in a different room. If you don’t want to use oils, you can also plant mint in areas that are frequently disturbed by squirrels.
Ryan is a keen gardener from the UK who’s spent years dealing with countless, common pests over the years so knows the ins and outs of how to deal with pests in the garden