Keep Squirrels from Damaging Your Plants: Mothballs to the Rescue

No, mothballs will not keep squirrels out of flower pots. Using mothballs to deter squirrels in your flower pots may seem like a logical solution, but unfortunately, it does not work.

If you’re a gardener, you know how frustrating it can be to watch squirrels dig up and damage your beautiful flowers. While mothballs have been used in the past to keep rodents away, they are not effective at repelling squirrels.

In fact, the smell of mothballs may actually attract squirrels to your flower pots, as they are curious creatures. If you want to keep squirrels out of your flower pots, there are several other methods that are more effective, such as using netting, mesh, and other physical barriers.

Understanding Squirrel Behaviour Around Plants

Squirrels are highly active creatures that are known for their love of climbing trees and jumping from branch to branch. At the same time, these creatures also have an affinity for digging up plants and causing damage to flowers. To understand why they do this, we need to examine the behaviour of squirrels around plants.

Discussion Of Squirrel Feeding Behaviour And Motivations

Squirrels are omnivorous animals and will eat whatever food is available to them. However, they enjoy eating nuts, seeds, twigs, and young buds, among other things. Additionally, squirrels hoard food, which means that they may take more than they need from your garden to store for the winter.

Some of the reasons why squirrels may feed on plants in your garden include:

  • Limited availability of food sources
  • Natural foraging behaviour
  • Nutritional deficiencies in their diet

Explanation Of Why Squirrels Damage Plants

Squirrels can damage plants in your garden in several ways, including:

  • Digging out bulbs and roots
  • Clipping plant stems and taking off flowers and leaves
  • Chewing plants, causing deformities or stunts

Squirrels cause damage to your plants for several reasons, including:

  • A lack of food in their natural habitat
  • Oversupply of food and no competition for resources
  • Trying to dig up food stores they previously buried
  • Establishing territory
  • Boredom or playfulness

Identification Of Plants That Are Vulnerable To Squirrel Damage

Squirrels can cause irreparable damage to several kinds of plants, including:

  • Tulips
  • Crocus
  • Daffodils
  • Sunflowers
  • Dahlias
  • Peonies

To prevent squirrels from damaging these plants, consider:

  • Planting them away from areas heavily trafficked by squirrels
  • Using squirrel-proof netting or covers over the plants
  • Planting a wide variety of plants to reduce the squirrel’s foraging habit.

Understanding squirrel behaviour around plants will help you take the necessary measures to protect your plants. By identifying the motivation behind their behaviour, you can implement effective countermeasures to limit or prevent damage to your garden.

Introduction To Mothballs

Mothballs have long been used as an effective method to repel pests, particularly moths. While they are still primarily used for this purpose, many people have discovered that they can also be used to keep squirrels out of flower pots.

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But, what exactly are mothballs and how do they repel squirrels? Let’s take a closer look.

Definition Of Mothballs And Their Primary Use

Mothballs are small balls made of naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene, which are potent and smelly chemicals used to deter moths and other insects from invading clothes and other textiles. They are a white, powdery substance that is compressed into a solid form for easy use.

Mothballs work by slowly releasing the chemicals in the air, creating a toxic atmosphere that repels insects. The primary use of mothballs is to protect clothing from moths and other textile pests.

Identification Of Key Ingredients In Mothballs

Mothballs are made of either naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene, both of which are toxic chemicals. Naphthalene is a white, crystalline compound that is derived from coal tar, while paradichlorobenzene is a white solid that is synthesized from chlorobenzene. Both chemicals have strong vapors that can be harmful to humans and animals if ingested or inhaled.

In addition to these primary ingredients, mothballs may also contain other chemicals or fragrances to better repel insects.

Explanation Of How Mothballs Repel Squirrels

Mothballs work to repel squirrels by creating an aroma that is unpleasant to these animals. The strong scent of the chemicals inside the mothballs overrides and masks the scent of anything else in the surrounding environment. Squirrels rely heavily on their sense of smell to identify food sources and establish territory, so when they detect the smell of mothballs, they are likely to become disoriented and leave the area in search of a more favorable environment.

Additionally, the chemicals in mothballs can cause harm to squirrels if ingested or inhaled, making them an effective tool for keeping these animals out of flower pots and other areas.

If you are looking for an effective and safe way to keep squirrels out of your flower pots, mothballs can be an excellent solution. However, it is important to handle these chemicals with care and ensure they are used safely and appropriately.

Using Mothballs To Deter Squirrels

Squirrels are a common sight in gardens, and while some people love them and find their antics amusing, others find them to be a nuisance. These furry little creatures love to dig in flowerpots and uproot plants, causing damage to your greenery and ruining the overall aesthetic of your outdoor space.

One common method of deterring squirrels from flower pots is to use mothballs.

Step-By-Step Guide To Using Mothballs Around Plants

Using mothballs to deter squirrels from flower pots can be an effective solution, but it’s important to follow the proper steps to ensure safe and effective use:

  • Put on gloves before handling the mothballs. Mothballs contain toxic chemicals, and prolonged exposure to bare skin can cause irritation and redness.
  • Place the mothballs evenly around the outside of the flower pot. Be sure to create a barrier of mothballs so that squirrels cannot easily jump over them.
  • Replace the mothballs every 3-4 weeks. Over time, the scent of the mothballs will weaken, making them less effective at deterring squirrels.
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Best Practices And Precautions For Ensuring Safe Use

While mothballs can be an effective way to repel squirrels, they should be used with caution due to their toxicity. Here are some best practices and precautions to take when using mothballs:

  • Keep mothballs out of reach of children and pets. If ingested, mothballs can be deadly.
  • Only use mothballs outdoors. When used indoors, mothballs can cause respiratory problems.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after handling mothballs.

Tips For Effective Placement And Maintenance Of Mothballs In The Garden

To get the most out of your mothballs and ensure that they continue to effectively repel squirrels, keep these tips in mind:

  • Make sure the mothballs are evenly spaced around the flower pot.
  • Use enough mothballs to create a barrier that squirrels cannot easily navigate.
  • Replace the mothballs every 3-4 weeks or as needed, especially if they become wet.
  • Keep an eye on your plants to ensure that they are not being damaged by the squirrels. If the problem persists, you may need to consider additional deterrent methods.

While mothballs can be an effective solution for keeping squirrels out of your flower pots, it’s important to follow the proper steps and precautions to ensure safe and effective use. By using a step-by-step guide, taking necessary precautions, and utilizing effective placement and maintenance techniques, you can keep your garden free of unwanted furry visitors.

Mothball Alternatives For Repelling Squirrels

Discussion Of Alternative Methods For Repelling Squirrels

Squirrels can be a nuisance when they start invading flower pots and digging out plants. While mothballs may work as a deterrent, there are alternative methods that homeowners can use to keep squirrels at bay. Here are some options:

  • Predator urine: Using urine from larger predators like coyotes and foxes can be an effective method for keeping squirrels away. The scent of predator urine can mimic the presence of an active predator in the area, which can frighten squirrels.
  • Hot pepper spray: Mixing cayenne pepper with water and spraying it on the plants and soil can be a simple and cost-effective way of repelling squirrels. The capsaicin in the pepper can cause irritation to their eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Chicken wire: Placing chicken wire on top of the soil can prevent squirrels from digging and accessing the plants. This method is practical and does not use any chemical deterrents.

Comparison Of Mothballs With Other Deterrent Options

Mothballs are a common and traditional deterrent method for some pests, including squirrels. However, they may not be the most effective option for repelling squirrels. Here’s how mothballs compare with other methods:

  • Effectiveness: While mothballs may work initially, squirrels can quickly get used to the scent and become immune to its effects. Other methods like predator urine and hot pepper spray can be more effective in the long run.
  • Safety: Mothballs contain harmful chemicals like naphthalene and paradichlorobenzene, which can be toxic to animals and humans. On the other hand, other methods like chicken wire and hot pepper spray are safer and non-toxic.
  • Cost: Mothballs are relatively cheap and can last for a long time. However, other methods like predator urine and hot pepper spray may require regular applications, which can add up in cost over time.
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Pros And Cons Of Different Squirrel Repellent Options

Choosing the right method for repelling squirrels from flower pots can depend on various factors. Here are some of the pros and cons of different squirrel repellent options:

  • Predator urine:
  • Pros: Effective in repelling various animals, including squirrels.
  • Cons: Can be expensive and require regular applications for effectiveness.
  • Hot pepper spray:
  • Pros: Safe and non-toxic to humans and animals, cost-effective, and can be easily made at home.
  • Cons: May require regular applications for effectiveness, especially after rainfall or watering plants.
  • Chicken wire:
  • Pros: Effective in preventing squirrels from accessing the plants, practical, and cost-effective.
  • Cons: Can be unsightly and may require digging up the soil to install correctly.
  • Mothballs:
  • Pros: Cheap and can last a long time.
  • Cons: Can be toxic to humans and animals, may not be effective in the long run, and can give off a strong odor that is unpleasant to some.

Homeowners have several options for repelling squirrels from flower pots, and choosing the right method will depend on various factors, including effectiveness, safety, and cost. While mothballs may be a popular choice, alternative methods like predator urine, hot pepper spray, and chicken wire can be more effective and safer to use.


After conducting thorough research on the topic of using mothballs to keep squirrels out of flower pots, it is safe to say that mothballs are not the most effective solution. While they may initially repel squirrels due to their strong scent, the chemicals in mothballs are toxic and can pose a threat to other animals, plants, and even humans.

Additionally, the scent of mothballs can fade quickly, leaving the flower pots vulnerable to squirrel damage again. Instead, there are various alternative methods to keep squirrels from nesting in your flower pots. These include using chicken wire or mesh to cover the soil, placing physical barriers around the pots, using natural repellents such as vinegar or chili powder, and even introducing predator decoys such as fake owls or snakes.

While mothballs may seem like a quick fix for deterring squirrels from damaging flower pots, their harmful effects and short-lived effectiveness make them a less than ideal solution. Employing alternative methods, such as physical barriers and natural repellents, can effectively keep squirrels at bay without putting other animals and the environment at risk.

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