Pumpkins vs. Squirrels

squirrel with pumpkin Last weekend we took our traditional trip to the local pumpkin patch.  The kids spent a fantastic hour wandering among the vines, checking out perspective pumpkins before finally picking out the perfect one for our future jack-o-lantern.  Well, imagine my horror this morning when I looked out the back door and discovered that a sneaky squirrel had been snacking on our pumpkin, which was now defaced by a huge bite mark on one side.  I was furious.  The kids were devastated.  (Picture shown is from the web, I didn’t catch our little thief in action).

We’ll be heading out for a replacement pumpkin this week, but this time we will protect it against those crafty neighborhood squirrels!  After much Googling, I’ve found these tips on keeping your prized pumpkins from becoming snacks for the local wildlife:  

  • Place a large bottle of red pepper flakes in a quart of water. Let this solution sit for about a week and strain. Put the liquid in a spray bottle and spray the pumpkins daily or as needed to keep the squirrels off.
  • Sprinkle pepper or paprika around squirrel prone areas.
  • Spray your pumpkin with an alcohol-based hairspray [Rave, Aquanet, etc.]. Not too much, give it a quick, even coat.  If you carve out the pumpkin, spray the inside too.
  • Coat the pumpkin with Vick’s vapor rub.
  • Soak the pumpkin in bleach water for several hours.
  • Spray the pumpkin with clear finishing spray from a craft store.
  • Spray repellents for squirrels are available at garden and hardware stores and on the Internet. (Use them if you don’t plan to use the pumpkin for food).

I have a friend that swears by the hair spray trick, another that says hot pepper works every time.  We may just have to do a little of both…

Do you have a pumpkin protection plan that works for you?  Please share!