The Best Smells to Keep Squirrels Away from Bird Feeders: The Secret to Critter-Free Bird Feeding

Do you want to know what smells keep squirrels away from bird feeders? If you’re tired of those pesky critters constantly raiding your bird feeder, there is hope. Discover the odorous tricks that will leave squirrels scratching their heads in confusion and your feathered friends enjoying their buffet in peace.

What Smells Keep Squirrels Away From Bird Feeders - squirrel eating an orange

From spicy scents to downright stinky ones, we have the inside scoop on all the odorous tricks that will leave those squirrels scratching their little heads in confusion. So, gather round, fellow bird lovers, and let’s dive into the wild world of squirrel-repelling aromas!

Squirrels Dislike Citrus

If you’re tired of squirrels stealing bird food from your feeder, look no further than the magical powers of citrus! Squirrels absolutely despise the smell of citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and limes. By simply placing a few drops of citrus essential oil onto your bird feeder or hanging some citrus peel nearby, you can keep those furry bandits at bay.

Just imagine the scene: a squirrel approaches your feeder, thinking it’s his lucky day, only to be met with the strong scent of lemon. Surprised and perhaps a bit confused, the squirrel quickly decides to scurry away, leaving your bird friends to enjoy their buffet in peace.

What Smells Keep Squirrels Away From Bird Feeders

It’s not just the smell of citrus that deters squirrels. Some people have even found success by lining their bird feeders with citronella oil, which acts as a double whammy by also repelling pesky mosquitoes. Of course, not all animals hate the smell of citrus. Some cats, for instance, are inexplicably drawn to it.

If you want to keep squirrels from raiding your bird feeder, embrace the power of citrus. It’s a natural and safe way to deter those persistent pests. Just remember to clean your feeder regularly to avoid attracting any unwanted critters.

Garlic: Not Just for Vampires

Are you tired of squirrels stealing all of your bird food? Well, it turns out that garlic can be a powerful tool in deterring these furry critters from your bird feeder. The reason garlic is effective is because of its strong odor that squirrels dislike.

Squirrels have a highly developed sense of smell, and they are not fans of the pungent aroma that garlic gives off. Simply scattering some minced garlic around your bird feeder can be enough to keep those furry little critters at bay.

What Smells Keep Squirrels Away From Bird Feeders - garlic

But garlic is not just good for keeping squirrels away. It also has a host of other benefits, including being a natural anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal agent.

There are a few different ways to use garlic to keep squirrels away from your bird feeder, such as sprinkling garlic powder or using garlic-infused birdseed. You can even create a garlic spray by steeping minced garlic in water and then spraying the mixture around your feeder.

However, there is one downside to using garlic to repel squirrels – it may attract vampires! So, if you start noticing any strange nighttime visitors, you may need to switch to a different pest control method. But for keeping squirrels at bay, garlic can be a great natural solution.

Peppermint is Squirrel Kryptonite

If you’re tired of squirrels constantly stealing the food you’ve set out for your feathered friends, the solution is as simple as some peppermint oil. Yes, it turns out that peppermint is squirrel kryptonite.

Squirrels cannot stand the smell of the minty fresh scent, making it the perfect natural repellent to keep them away from your bird feeders. Not only is peppermint a great deterrent for squirrels, but it also has a variety of other benefits, such as aiding in breathing and congestion relief.

What Smells Keep Squirrels Away From Bird Feeders - peppermint

Birds, on the other hand, enjoy the scent of peppermint, so you can continue to enjoy watching them flock to your feeders without any interference from those sneaky squirrels.

To use peppermint as a squirrel repellent, simply scatter a few mint leaves or plant a pot near your bird feeder to drive them away.

The Offensive Odor of Onions

Are you an avid bird watcher and feeder? Do you find yourself getting annoyed by squirrels stealing your feathered friends’ food? Strategically placing onion slices or chopped onions around your bird feeder can deter squirrels from even getting close.

Squirrels have a strong sense of smell, and they’re not particularly fond of the smell of onions. Fortunately, birds aren’t bothered by the smell of onions, and some may even find it enticing.

What Smells Keep Squirrels Away From Bird Feeders - onions

The smell of onions can be quite pungent, so it’s best to place them in a spot that’s not too close to where you spend a lot of time. However, there are other ways to make sure your bird feeder stays squirrel-free, such as investing in a squirrel-proof feeder or adding some cayenne pepper or Flaming Squirrel Seed Sauce to the birdseed.

Herbs that Keep Squirrels at Bay

The secret to keeping squirrels away from your bird feeder might be simpler than you think – herbs! Sage, mint, rosemary, and thyme are all effective in repelling squirrels.


Squirrels despise the fragrant scent of sage, so leaving a few sage leaves around your bird feeder can do the trick. The smell of mint is also a great deterrent, and you can scatter a few mint leaves or plant a pot near your bird feeder to drive squirrels away.

What Smells Keep Squirrels Away From Bird Feeders - sage-thyme-rosemary
sage, rosemary, and thyme


Rosemary has a pungent scent that squirrels cannot handle, so break off a few sprigs and place them around your birdfeeders.


Finally, we have thyme. This herb not only smells fantastic but also has insect-repelling properties. Squirrels are a big fan of insects, so if you keep them away, there’s a good chance they’ll keep their distance from your bird feeders too.

So, whether you prefer to use garlic, peppermint, onions, or herbs, there are plenty of natural and effective ways to keep squirrels away from your bird feeders. Experimenting with different scents and techniques can be a fun and rewarding process, and you may even discover some new benefits along the way.

Just remember, while these methods are safe and natural, it’s still important to maintain good hygiene practices and regularly clean your bird feeders to prevent the spread of diseases.

No More Nutty Neighbors!

So go ahead and give these squirrel-repelling aromas a try, and enjoy the sight of your feathered friends feasting in peace. Who knows, you may even attract some new birds to your backyard and become the envy of all your bird-loving neighbors.

And for those of you who are feeling a little adventurous, feel free to experiment with some of those more unconventional scents. Who knows what kind of results you might get? Just be sure to keep a safe distance from any skunks or vampires that may come your way.

In the end, the most important thing is to have fun and enjoy the wonders of nature. Happy bird feeding!

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    1. They are smart lil critters. If they have a spot that they can use as a launching pad there is no hope. Make sure your bird feeders don’t have any areas where the squirrels can jump from. There is the 5-7-9 rule. Make sure to measure that the bird feeder is more than 5 feet off the ground, more than 7 feet away from the nearest tree or building, and 9 feet below an overhang that squirrels can use to jump over. If that fails then you have the smartest squirrels in the land. LOL Thank you for taking the time to let us know.

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