Squirrels have started stocking up on their stash for the long winter ahead, and they’re making a mess of my deck as they forage through my trees! But a little untidiness is A-OK with me. I’d much rather have squirrels gathering goodies from the trees than stealing the last of my garden harvest. So how do I keep them away from my veggie patch? It’s easy: the color red.
For a lot of squirrels, red means stop. Unlikely as it sounds, many of these mischief makers tend to avoid the color red. Scientists speculate the reason may be that, in many places, squirrels and certain redheaded woodpeckers compete head-to-head for the same resources. And the woodpeckers’ sharp beaks may have taught the furry rascals not to be too pushy in claiming territory. Now, I can’t guarantee that the squirrels in your backyard are red-a-phobic, but it sure can’t hurt to test the theory. So whether the little gluttons are dining on your flower bulbs, your plants, or the contents of your bird feeder, try some of these simple ways to say to squirrels, “Restaurant closed”:
- Set out red lawn furniture.
- Hang red balloons, banners, or ribbons in any trouble spots.
- Set containers of bright red flowers among your vulnerable plants.
- Hang up a red bird feeder, or paint your current one a nice, bright red.
If it’s nuts or fruit you’re trying to stop squirrels from stealing, spray your trees with this spicy Squirrel Beater Tonic:
Mix 2 tablespoons each of cayenne pepper, hot sauce, and chili powder, 1 tablespoon of Murphy® Oil Soap, and 1 quart of warm water in a bucket, then pour the mixture into a hand-held sprayer bottle. Shake well, then coat all of your fruit- and nut-bearing trees and bushes from top to bottom to let bothersome critters know they’re not welcome!