Preventing Squirrels From Eating My Pumpkins!

NEWS | | October 17, 2011 at 8:03 am

I have been at my wit’s end with pumpkins. I tried growing it (I will have to admit that the entire team had no luck – blame it on the weather) but caved in and bought 2 from Wilson Farms. We barely managed to get a chance to enjoy the view of our porch with them sitting on the railing when lo and behold we return home one day and found one eaten. I was aghast. I promised my tearful 4 year old girl that I would get another, meanwhile swearing under my breath knowing that a new one would most likely meet the same fate.

So I got on and asked my online peeps – How To Prevent Squirrels From Eating Pumpkins? Here were some suggestions I got:

  • Get stinky squirrel repellant spray at the garden store. Be warned that the squirrel spray smells awful, so if it’s by your doorstep it gets a little rank.
  • Spray them with hair spray.
  • You can also use eucalyptus oil, but you have to reapply it quite often.
  • I’ve heard garlic, but that might just be for pests.
  • I think owl statues help keep squirrels out of your yard in general.
  • Try sprinkling some cayenne pepper on and around them.
Thank you fine friends. So fingers crossed, here goes.


  1. 1
    Yona says:

    Good luck. I’ve never even heard of critters eating pumpkins before…I think the cayenne pepper will work good. You can make a liquid solution so that it dries on the pumpkin. Or maybe spray on hair spray and then sprinkle. I know that when some outdoor critters taste the heat, they will leave garden items alone.

  2. 2

    1) I envy you. We went to a pumpkin carving party in early October, and thanks to the warm weather our pumpkins were swarming with fruitflies…and then mold! Add the rain and warm weather, and one pumpkin went into the compost last week (the other one should have gone there, too!). I’d rather a nibbled pumpkin than a rotting, fruitfly-filled one.

    2) We used to have that problem, of squirrels eating our pumpkins. Every year. We had a massive squirrel problem. But then our city (Medford) switched to city-issued garbage cans for the automated trucks, and the cans have heavy, hinged lids so the squirrels can no longer feed on all the trash, and now our pumpkins are safe from squirrels. So instead they can just…rot.

    If you don’t already have lids on your trash cans, I highly recommend it. Yona’s idea (hairspray + cayenne) sounds like it would probably be very effective, too. Good luck!

  3. 3
    DanRicho says:

    Trying hairspray hope it works something started taking bits out of one pumpkin
    Will try the hot pepper
    Does anyone know if pumpkins that grow to 300 lbs are craved

  4. 4
    samlofton says:

    We tried hairspray and didn’t work the squirrels are still eating the pumpkin we’re gonna try the cayenne pepper next.

  5. 5
    Dan says:

    We are about to sacrifice a pumpkin to our hungry squirrels, last year they were unstoppable monsters! I am wondering how your pumpkins did last year? I may try some of your tips. Cayenne did not work at all for us, we laid it on really heavy too.

  6. 6
    Gretta D. says:

    I tried the hairspray and the buggers still ate both pumpkins! Thanks for the suggestion. I have to go clean up the mess!

  7. 7
    Linda says:

    Hairspray didn’t work. Painted them one year instead of carving; apparently squirrels like the taste of washable paints and markers. Pepper only worked until it rained … plus a pepper covered pumpkin isn’t safe when it’s time to carve (found that out the hard way last year, but before the kid got the heat). I washed them down with ammonia once, but rain washed that away. We even tried carving them early so there’d be no seeds to go after, and Jack(-o-lanern) still got brained one Sunday morning. Our squirrels are vicious and fearless. A few houses down the pumpkins are fine. I think it’s personal.

    • 7.1
      Nirasha Jaganath says:

      Linda I think your squirrels may have cousins in my hood. I totally think ours are fearless too.

  8. 8
    KellyJMF says:

    Ah, this brings back memories of coming home from school to find a squirrel inside our jack-o-lantern with its head through the eye hole, gnawing away. We told people they were zombie pumpkins.

    • 8.1
      Nirasha Jaganath says:

      LOL – wonder if we can trick a squirrel to be inside for halloween night?? That would be insane!

  9. 9
    Judy says:

    cooked hot peppers in oil and painted th peppers with the pepper infused oil. it worked for a week or two before the need to repaint. I cut the peppers for frying the fumes in the house nearly killed us. be very careful. but it works. protect the surface the pumpkin sits on. the oil stains.

    • 9.1
      Nirasha Jaganath says:

      Ouch! Thanks for the warning heads up because I am totally that person who would be choking in the fumes in the kitchen

  10. 10
    Peter Danger :+) says:

    I have heard that apple cider vinegar works … so I will give that a try this year … I tried the cayenne pepper … no luck … gonna try hair spray too

    • 10.1
      Nirasha Jaganath says:

      Apple cider vinegar? Now that would be sweet if that could work since I could use the rest in kitchen and seems less lethal too.

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