Are you frustrated with squirrels chewing away at your Christmas lights? There’s nothing more disheartening than these small, furry versions of Scrooge wreaking havoc on your Christmas light display. Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as squirrel-proof Christmas lights, so you’re going to have to get creative and possibly try a few methods to deter squirrels until you find one that works. Let's understand why they want to destroy your display in the first place.

Imagine what life would be like to have your teeth grow uncontrollably forever. Either your face would look like something out of a horror movie, or your dentist bills would be exorbitant from all the frequent tooth trimming. Lucky for us, our teeth stop growing in our twenties. Squirrels, however, aren’t so lucky.

The squirrel’s diet consists mainly of nuts, seeds, and fruit, which is really hard on their teeth because they will grind down. To combat this, their teeth must constantly grow. However, if they don’t consume enough hard food, squirrels will resort to gnawing on different materials such as wood, metal, and plastic. They do this several times a day and Christmas lights strung along branches are an easy target.

What Are the Options to Combat Squirrels?

People have tried all kinds of methods with varying degrees of success. Some physically prevent squirrels from getting into a tree, and others deter the squirrels either by taste, smell, or sound. Below are 10 options you can try:

 

  1. Install bird spikes to block access points. These can be placed on branches or points where they venture near where your lights are installed. Keep in mind that squirrels can jump up 4 ft vertically, and much longer horizontally or downward

  2. Spray a natural deterrent (obviously avoiding poisons, of course!). Some people suggest using hot peppers like cayenne or wasabi paste. Others have had success diluting a mix of ground cayenne and cloves, then spraying it on surfaces. Spraying undiluted apple cider vinegar has also been successful. Of course, these methods will only work until the first time it rains

  3. Spray an animal deterrent made of a predator’s urine, such as a coyote’s. These can come in the form of granules as well. This deterrent is widely available in stores

  4. Blood meal, a fertilizer normally used to increase nitrogen levels in gardens, may also help deter squirrels. It is thought the smell is not appealing to them

  5. Look for other attractants like bird feeders and move these far from your Christmas lights

  6. An owl decoy may work for your situation, although this could lose its effectiveness after a while when the squirrel clues in that it’s not real

  7. Sound devices that safely emit sonic waves not audible to humans have been known to work, but can be a pricier alternative

  8. Wrapping trunks in sheet metal that span at least four vertical feet (they can really jump!) will prevent squirrels from climbing them because their claws can’t grip it. Of course, this will only work with trees that don’t come close to roofs or other tree branches to gain access with (unless you wrap those trees too)

  9. Electric collars installed around trunks will also work. These are fairly expensive and typically only available from pest control professionals

  10. Have a dog? Allow it to safely chase your resident squirrels off your property. This can provide endless entertainment as well!

It may take one or more of the above listed methods to deter the particular squirrel on your property. Unfortunately, it will be a little bit of trial and error. We’d love to hear which method worked for you. Please email us your success story and include your region and, if known, the type of squirrel you are contending with. We are attempting to gain an understanding of the most effective methods and we’ll be sure to publicly share the results in an updated post.

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