Do Mothballs Repel Squirrels?

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Squirrels may be cute little critters – and entertaining to watch, but they can also cause significant damage to your garden, or attic (heaven forbid they get inside your home). 

If you’re looking for a solution to keep these pesky critters at bay, you might have heard about using mothballs as an effective squirrel repellent. Will mothballs repel squirrels?

In this post, we’ll examine whether moth balls can actually work to functionally repel squirrels from your garden bed or attic, and explore alternative solutions that are safe for both humans and furry friends.

Key Takeaways

Mothballs, containing naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene, are often considered as squirrel repellents due to their strong odor.
There is no scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of mothballs in deterring squirrels.
Mothballs can pose environmental and health hazards, being toxic to humans, pets, and other non-targeted animals.
Effective alternatives to mothballs include hot pepper spray, predator urine, physical barriers (mesh netting or fencing), and squirrel repellent sprays or electronic devices.
Prevention methods such as identifying entry points, sealing off access points, and repairing damage caused by squirrels are crucial in deterring squirrel infestations.

What Are Mothballs?

Mothballs are small, round or irregular-shaped balls made up of a powerful pesticide called naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene. Yes, they’re actually classified as a pesticide, even though it may not appear that way. 

Their primary function is to protect wool and other natural fiber clothing items from the destructive feeding habits of moths, silverfish, and similar pests.

Moth Balls on Burlap Sack

Aside from protecting clothes against insect damage, some people believe that mothballs can also help repel unwanted animals due to their strong odor. It’s essential to note that using mothballs for this purpose not only goes against label instructions but can also lead to environmental consequences.

While it’s evident that the main function of mothballs is to safeguard valuable garments by eliminating certain pests such as moths and silverfish; their use in wildlife pest control should be limited strictly to those specified on product labels.

The Truth About Mothballs – Squirrel Repellent?

Despite their popularity as a DIY home remedy for deterring squirrels, there is no scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of mothballs in repelling these furry critters.

Effectiveness of Mothballs on Squirrels

Mothballs have long been considered a possible solution to deter squirrels due to their strong, pungent odor that is believed to repel these critters from nesting near or entering homes and gardens.

This traditional method of using mothballs has been successful in some cases; however, the effectiveness varies depending on factors such as the number of mothballs used and the area being covered.

On the contrary, relying solely on mothballs for squirrel repellent may not be sufficient in large-scale infestations or wide-open areas where squirrels can easily bypass these deterrents.

Plus, it’s crucial to consider the potential hazards associated with using mothballs given their toxic chemicals like naphthalene and paradichlorobenzene present significant risks to humans and pets’ health when exposed over time.

The Hazards of Mothballs on the Environment

Mothballs, while seemingly effective in deterring squirrels due to their strong odor, pose significant risks to the environment and other animals. Composed of naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene, these chemicals are toxic when ingested or inhaled by humans and pets alike.

The use of mothballs as a squirrel repellent also raises concerns regarding animal welfare. Accidental ingestion of mothballs by non-targeted species such as birds or neighborhood pets can result in serious health issues or death.

Additionally, exposure to hazardous chemicals found in mothballs may lead to secondary poisoning among predators that feed on affected wildlife populations.

Close Up of Moth Balls in Burlap

Effective Alternatives

Hot pepper spray and predator urine are natural deterrents that can be used to repel squirrels, while physical barriers such as mesh netting or fencing can prevent them from entering certain areas.

Natural Deterrents 

Natural deterrents can be a great alternative to chemical pest control when it comes to keeping squirrels away. Hot pepper spray is one such option. Squirrels hate the smell of capsaicin, which naturally occurs in peppers.

To make your own hot pepper spray, mix a tablespoon of cayenne pepper with a quart of water and add a drop or two of dish soap for adhesive purposes.

Another natural option is predator urine, which imitates the scent left behind by potential prey animals like coyotes or foxes. This smell signals danger to squirrels and prompts them to flee the area.

While it may seem odd or even gross to use animal urine as a repellent, many garden supply stores carry commercially made bottles that are more palatable for human use.

Physical Barriers

Physical barriers such as mesh netting and fencing are an effective way to keep squirrels away from homes and gardens. These barriers prevent squirrels and other rodents from accessing the area, ensuring your property stays free of damage caused by these critters.

Experts recommend physical barriers as a more reliable and humane solution compared to using mothballs as a repellent. Physical barriers offer long-term protection that is both safe for humans and animals, unlike mothballs which can harm the environment and other creatures.

Squirrel Repellent Sprays

If you’re dealing with a squirrel infestation, spray repellents and electronic devices can be safe and effective alternatives to mothballs. Squirrel repellent sprays use natural ingredients like hot pepper or essential oils to create an unfavorable scent for squirrels.

Meanwhile, ultrasonic devices emit high-frequency sounds that are unpleasant for rodents but inaudible to humans.

Electronic devices come in various forms including motion-activated sprinklers, strobe lights, and sound machines. These deterrents work by creating disturbances that scare squirrels away from your property without harming them.

Overall, when choosing between different types of squirrel repellents, it’s best to opt for humane solutions that don’t harm the environment or other animals.

Strategies for Preventing Squirrel Infestations

Identify all entry points and nesting sites, then seal off access points and repair any damage caused by squirrels.

Identifying Nesting Sites

To prevent a squirrel infestation, it’s important to identify their entry points and nesting sites. Squirrels can get inside your home through small openings in the roof, eaves or vents, and they’ll likely nest in attics, basements or crawl spaces.

Outside your house, inspect trees for damaged branches that could serve as a bridge to your roof; adding metal flashing around tree trunks is an effective deterrent.

If you suspect squirrels are already present in your home or building, listen for noises coming from attic spaces during daytime hours when squirrels are most active. Droppings near openings such as holes or cracks could also indicate an active squirrel presence.

Once identified, take steps to seal off access points with mesh netting or other barriers to keep squirrels out of these areas permanently. Remember that squirrels are skilled climbers so look at adjacent trees that may provide easy routes onto your property.

Humane Trapping and Relocation Methods

Humane trapping and relocation methods are a popular option for those who want to get rid of squirrels from their homes. However, it’s important to note that live-trapping and relocating squirrels can be stressful for the animals and rarely results in a successful outcome.

Instead of trapping and relocating, it’s best to focus on prevention methods such as identifying entry points, sealing off access points, repairing any damage caused by squirrels, installing barriers like mesh netting or fencing, using natural deterrents like hot pepper spray or predator urine, or investing in squirrel repellent sprays or electronic devices.

Grey Squirrel Caught in a Live Trap


Does Bleach Repel Squirrels?

Bleach is one of the scents that squirrels hate, but it should be used cautiously as it can be toxic for kids, pets, and the environment. While bleach may deter squirrels from your garden or yard temporarily, it’s not a long-term solution and may harm other animals and plants in the area.

Additionally, there are safer and more effective natural deterrents available such as hot pepper spray and predator urine. Physical barriers like mesh netting or fencing can also keep squirrels away from your property without causing any harm to them or the environment.

What Repels Squirrels Naturally?

There are several natural methods of deterring squirrels from your garden, without harming the environment or other animals. One such method is using predator urine, which can be purchased at most gardening stores and online retailers.

The scent of predator urine alerts squirrels to potential danger and discourages them from entering your garden. Other effective natural repellents include planting certain herbs and flowers, such as daffodils, alliums, and marigolds, which have scents that squirrels dislike.

Does Irish Spring Soap Keep Squirrels Away?

Irish Spring soap is an effective and natural way to keep squirrels away from your garden or plants. The strong fragrance of the soap repels many mammals, including rabbits, deer, mice, voles, and squirrels.

Many gardeners have been using this trick for years to protect their vegetables and flowers. 


While mothballs may provide a temporary solution to repelling squirrels, they are not scientifically proven to be effective and can have harmful effects on the environment and other animals.

It is important to explore safe and natural alternatives such as hot pepper spray, predator urine, and physical barriers like mesh netting or fencing. Preventing squirrel infestations through 

Photo of author
Sean is the founder of Conquer Critters. With more than 17 years of experience in dealing with various pests, he is passionate about spreading his knowledge to help everyone manage their pest problem in the fastest, most effective manor possible.

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