Don’t Feed Stinking Squirrels!

February 3, 2013 | By | Comments (52)

Another furry parasite mooching a free meal. Photo by markyharky.

I hate squirrels. Hate them, hate, hate them, hate them! They gobble my birdseed, dig up my plants, gnaw on my wires, and nest in my attic. And it’s all the fault of you people. You squirrel feeders out there.

See, rodent reproduction is directly tied to the food supply (unlike human reproduction, which is directly tied the apple-tini supply). The more food, the more baby squirrels. So imagine Grumpy’s horror and outrage when he went to buy birdseed for his cardinals, chickadees, finches, and tufted titmice yesterday, and discovered this:

Squirrel food

What’s next? Premium Rat Food? Photo by Steve Bender.

Squirrel food? Like we don’t suffer from enough stinking squirrels already? And look what else it’s supposed to attract. Raccoons? Geese? “Other outdoor pets?” Like what? Rats? Weasels? Possums? Armadillos? Velociraptors????????

Let Grumpy be clear. If he ever sees one of you walking out of Wal-Mart carrying a bag of this, you are dead to him.

What You Can Do
We cannot accept our pristine, serene world of order and reason to be adulterated by eco-terrorists who feed squirrels and thereby ruin the balance of Mother Nature. Therefore, here are three easy things you and I can do to counter their insidious perfidy.

1. Buy a squirrel-resistant birdfeeder. (Note that I did not say “squirrel-proof.” A pesky squirrel can conquer just about anything, because driving people nuts is its sole reason for existence.) You can get these devices at garden and home centers. You can also order them online from Duncraft, Wildbeaks, and Perky Pet. Or you can take a really cheapo plastic feeder and do with it what Grumpy did.

Bird feeder

My cheapo feeder with guard gnome.               Photo by Steve Bender.

I told you it was cheap. But it feeds my birds and has never fallen victim to stinking squirrels. How? I hang it on a thin wire from an outside branch of my crepe myrtle. I made sure it’s too far from the ground or the crepe myrtle for squirrels to jump to it.

2. Fill your feeder with squirrel-proof seed. Cole’s puts out a whole line of bird food treated with hot pepper. Birds cannot sense the pepper and it does them absolutely no harm. But when squirrels eat the pepper-treated seeds, it sets their flea-bitten, ravenous mouths on fire. I’ve tried this and it works. No squirrel asks for seconds. You can get Cole’s products at most garden and home centers.

3. Treat squirrels as a renewable source of human nutrition, just as our forefathers did. Here’s my son, Brian, preparing a squirrel for our Thanksgiving dinner. Organic gardeners, please note — our squirrel is free-range, locally grown, and never fed hormones or antibiotics.

Yummy squirrel

Yummy squirrel. Photo by Steve Bender.

Not sure how to fix squirrel? No problem! Enjoy this quick & easy recipe for squirrel stew from my colleagues at Oxmoor House. Mmmmmmmm. Now that’s good eatin’!


  1. Grumpy Gardener


    Get a cat.

    September 23, 2015 at 3:14 pm
  2. gertie

    Want to get rid of sqirrel did not know they multiple so fast and become pest. They are adorable. I saw one that look like he was praying and asking for food. So I fed him now he sits in my chair on my porch. Help!

    September 18, 2015 at 3:01 pm
  3. Steve Bender


    I just checked with my cardiologist and he assured me that, yes, I do have a heart. However, I cannot be a bastard as you say, for that would mean I’m related to you.

    July 9, 2015 at 2:57 pm
  4. Debbie Calvello

    hate squirrels, you must be a heartless bastard. shame on you.

    July 7, 2015 at 2:34 pm
  5. Steve Bender


    Mo food for squirrels means mo baby squirrels running around chewing on and eating mo things before they turn into mo adult squirrels that have mo baby squirrels. No mo food! Mo way!

    June 22, 2015 at 3:15 pm
  6. Mo

    I love feeding the squirrels. They see me and hop over to me because they know I have some good food. They love almonds and pecans! I love the squirrels. Perhaps if you left a bowl of nuts for them, the will stop eating your bird food.

    June 18, 2015 at 11:08 am
  7. Steve Bender


    Rather than making a pepper spray yourself, I recommend Hot Pepper Wax Spray in a RTU bottle. It’s mixed to the right concentration, the wax helps it last longer, and squirrels and other pests hate it. Here’s a link:

    May 29, 2015 at 12:51 pm
  8. Bonnie

    what is recipe for hot sauce to spray in gardens in dirt and etc? to send squirrels running?

    May 17, 2015 at 10:13 pm
  9. Grumpy Gardener

    Dear ILoveSquirrels,


    May 13, 2015 at 2:05 pm
  10. ILoveSquirrels

    Some people like squirrels WTF business is it of yours? they are cuter than birds and crap all over the place even all over my neighbors fences if someone wants to feed them screw off at least the eat the damn food birds put birdseed and crap everywhere and attracted rats to my house I had to stop feeding them now I give nuts to squirrels only they eat and leave it seems bird feeders are the bigger problem.They are not rats either they are related to prairie dogs that is like saying bunnies are rats just because they are a rodent.

    May 1, 2015 at 5:21 pm
  11. Lori B.

    Dude, you need Ibizan Hounds….I had one that loved to catch and eat squirrels. News spreads quickly in the squirrel community. i make my squirrels WORK for that seed. Totally entertains my dogs. Lucky my hubbie is a S. GA boy. We currently don’t have a squirrel eater. So if caught, he’ll have to skin and gut it for stew for the hounds.

    February 6, 2015 at 4:47 pm
  12. Susan SS

    Kathie, Maybe tossing a couple boxes of moth balls in the attic might help to drive them out.

    January 14, 2015 at 10:06 am
  13. Steve Bender


    I feel your pain. I’ve had squirrels in my attic too and they are very hard to evict. Once they leave your attic, you must block every hole with screen or hardware cloth or they will get back in. I really think your only option is to get a friend to do this or hire an exterminator. It sounds to me like they’re using the insulation to make a nest. And you know what happens next.

    January 13, 2015 at 11:29 am
  14. Kathie

    I used to enjoy watching squirrels on our property in the country but, since some have moved into our attic, they have become the enemy!I tried a live trap. NO LUCK! Putting a radio in the attic blasting heavy metal music only helped for a day or two but drove me crazy in the process. We tried stapling a piece of sheet metal on the wood siding just under wear they get in (around the electrical bundle of wires that goes up through the soffit). It was supposed to allow them to exit the attic but not get back in. My husband & I are senior citizens on a very limited income so we can’t afford an exterminator. We’re unable to get up & crawl around in the low attic but can see that the squirrels have destroyed & moved the insulation around leaving bare areas. I live in fear of an electrical fire! Any suggestions would be appreciated!!

    January 9, 2015 at 10:58 am
  15. Steve Bender


    Squirrels are rodents that can be very destructive. They invade attics, chew on wiring, and cause house fires. One woman I met at the check-out line at a grocery store told me a squirrel chewed through her wiring and burned up her entire kitchen. Her only satisfaction was knowing the squirrel got fried by the electricity. I’m on her side.

    November 28, 2014 at 11:56 am
  16. Dana Allen

    Hi Steve,

    The reason you hate squirrels is because you can’t control them. They are very intelligent and can get through most deterrents that the average person thinks up. They are not trying to outsmart you or win some kind of competition. They are just trying to survive.

    I feed both the squirrels and the scrub jays in my back yard every day. There is no bird crap all over my yard (just a BS excuse), the squirrels don’t chew through any of the wires outside or inside of my house and they don’t ruin my flowers, bushes or trees so I’m not sure what all of you people who hate them are doing wrong.

    It’s called co-existence, people. The squirrels run up to me in anticipation of a snack as well as the scrubjays who land in my hand for the same. My pets accept them as part of my yard and don’t try to attack them (and vice versa). It’s been this way for me for 14 years, so I would suggest people who have a problem with squirrels have the problem, not the squirrels.

    Take it easy everyone.

    November 23, 2014 at 2:34 pm
  17. Steve Bender

    Gosh Darby,

    Aren’t you a human? If so, will you please sacrifice yourself for the good of the planet? Thanks, bud!

    November 5, 2014 at 3:22 pm
  18. Darby

    The only creature that causes true problems in this world are humans! all of you with your unnecessary hatred is what makes this world an ugly place- and I’m sure you’re passing on your ignorance to your children- perfect-

    November 2, 2014 at 4:07 pm
  19. Steve Bender

    P Tattersall,

    Do you like cats? Any cat that is a good mouser will find tasty chipmunks irresistible. Mine did. You could also deploy chipmunk traps. Here’s a link:

    August 11, 2014 at 10:14 am
  20. P Tattersall

    I read the comments and didn’t see our problem addressed. We have mostly chipmunks with the occasional tree squirrel and ground squirrel. Wh haven’t had too much of a problem
    keeping them out of the bird food. Unfortunately I believe that is because they try to eat our entire vegetable garden, including the hot peppers! This isn’t a hobby. We try to grow enough of our own food as we can. We put up a few hundred jars each year. We didn’t have a problem until last year. Now they eat everything they can find. Peas, beans, squash, peppers and much more. Any suggestions? We’ve tried traps, humane and otherwise, pepper spray, BB gun etc. Fluffy rats. I don’t hate them. I hate that they eat OUR food!

    August 10, 2014 at 7:06 pm
  21. Steve Bender


    June 23, 2014 at 3:52 pm
  22. My name is not your concern….

    When you’re writing a blog on hating an Animal that does YOU No REAL Harm
    Whatsoever Let’s Not forget whom the Real parasite is…..

    June 20, 2014 at 1:20 pm
  23. Susan

    I don’t mind the squirrels because I use feeders that are squirrel proof. They can’t get in my feeders and leave my seed alone. Maybe you need to invest in a good bird feeder.

    April 19, 2013 at 9:23 am
  24. Steve Bender


    To each his own.

    April 8, 2013 at 12:13 pm
  25. Alex

    I love the squirrels and feed the furry skinny ones that come near my home. Because I feed them there are no issues with my landscaping. My problem is the pesty birds that poop on the car, driveway, planters, bbq and lawn furniture! Not to mention their loud squawking from sunup to sundown. I have several items placed around my squirrel feeders and patio area that helps scare away the birds. The only birds I like are the ones served on the dinner plate – especially quail!

    April 2, 2013 at 6:01 pm
  26. Steve Bender

    If they dug up and ate all of your plants, you might feel differently.

    March 20, 2013 at 2:10 pm
  27. Inger Møller

    I am very surprised that some people hate squirrels,in Denmark where I live we love them and welcome them in our gardens

    March 15, 2013 at 11:06 am
  28. Steve Bender

    Thanks, Renee! Good to know.

    March 7, 2013 at 10:57 am
  29. Renee

    I, too, have had a war with squirrels. In one year, they tore up two of my birdfeeders. I used to always use black oil sunflower seeds, which they love. However, I did a little research and read somewhere that they do not like safflower seed. For the last two years, I’ve only used safflower seed and they have left my feeder alone. I still have the cardinals, chickadees, titmouse, wrens and purple finches eating at it. The thistle seed in my finch feeder has never been a problem, and I continue to use it, too. If anyone tries this, I hope your results are as good as mine.

    March 7, 2013 at 10:17 am
  30. Jeff

    After you water the flowers, just spray a solution made from cayenne and water … you’re out there watering anyway … serves the tree rats right!

    February 20, 2013 at 3:33 pm
  31. sjackson

    They chew my petunias up. I put cayenne pepper on them and that seemed to work for a while and then they came back with vengeance. After all who has the time to spread cayenne pepper on their plants daily. Pesky little varmints!

    February 20, 2013 at 12:48 pm
  32. sherryocala

    Sylvia, it’s just fertilizer. :)

    February 12, 2013 at 3:13 pm
  33. Sylvia

    Does anyone know what can I put down in my flowerbeds or yard to keep a stray cat from coming into my yard to poop? (I do not have any pets – nor do I want any). I have bought Cridder Ridder before – but it only works for a little while then I have to put more down again..It is very expensive. I’ll keep buying it if there is nothing else. Thanks.

    February 12, 2013 at 12:42 pm
  34. Nancy Busey

    My father fed birds with some of those “squirrel-proof” feeders. He was having trouble with fleas in his yard. I said that maybe the problem was all those flea-bitten squirrels. Next thing I know, he has a humane trap and is catching squirrels! He then was spraying them with flea spray! Well, he ended up getting rid of the fleas, but had the MOST beautifully-furred squirrels!

    February 10, 2013 at 12:57 pm
  35. Susan

    I agree with you Grumpy! The fuzzy tailed rats are extremely over populated and extremely irritating. I enjoy target practice with my pistol BB gun. It only stings their hide because it is not powerful enough to penetrate their skin. Dadgum fuzzy tailed rats!

    February 7, 2013 at 4:23 pm
  36. Steve Asbell

    I like squirrels, but I also like bears. It doesn’t mean I want bears in my garden wreaking havoc… they might conspire with the squirrels to bring down humanity.

    February 6, 2013 at 10:36 pm
  37. knitnonpareil

    I don’t like the squirrels. They helped themselves to my pecans, figs and persimmons, even to the point where they took a bite out of a persimmon and left it, knowing I was watching. I am thinking of getting a few outdoor cats. And a slingshot.

    February 6, 2013 at 12:00 pm
  38. Susan Williams

    I bought a squirrel proof feeder from Wild Birds Unlimited (online or in their store) and it works!! The squirrels can’t get the bird seed and they don’t even try now….but, we have deer that come and eat the seed at night. So to save my seed, I only use about a cup ea day in the AM and then if the deer eat it, they don’t get too much.

    February 5, 2013 at 7:04 pm
  39. Karen Kute

    I like to watch the squirrels but don,t like them breaking my feeders.

    February 4, 2013 at 5:39 pm
  40. Lisa Hayes

    So, you don’t like squirrels. Okay, I get that, but it doesn’t mean other people don’t like them. Some people just get themselves an ear of dried corn, nail it to a tree and feed the squirrels, but I for one, would rather they just ate the nuts from the Walnut trees or get the acorns as they’ve done over the years themselves. They don’t eat the finch food in the finch feeders and they do give the elderly viewer something to giggle about when they are running up and down the limbs of the trees trying to stay away from the cats. With regard to the ears of corn, if you don’t want mice in your house, don’t put corn outside for the squirrels because the mice will eat it, take that as an invitation to get into your house and now you not only have a squirrel problem, but a mice problem as well. If you want neither, get a couple of cats instead. They keep you calm, and you don’t have to worry about the damn squirrels or mice, either one any longer. Those cats will earn their keep catching and killing the mice you brought upon yourself by putting the ear of corn out to feed the squirrels. Case closed!

    February 4, 2013 at 4:35 pm
  41. Jeff

    Great advice … and less expensive than the tube feeders in a cage I’ve been using! Or the elaborate and equally expensive poles w/rat line cones, carefully spaced away from trees, fences and roof tops. More innovation equals fewer tree rats and more food for the birds!

    February 4, 2013 at 11:14 am
  42. Dave Whitehead

    Dave – Just remember that a squirrel is a self erecting mobile target. (The Crossman mentioned above works quite well.)

    February 4, 2013 at 7:56 am
  43. Jill in Atlanta

    If I mixed some pepper seeds into the feeder of regular black oil sunflower… think they’d leave it all alone? My feeders are supposedly squirrel proof but the birds drop two for every one seed they eat….

    February 4, 2013 at 7:55 am
  44. Kendra

    Please, they are creatures in this world along with you and I, and they are just hungry.

    February 4, 2013 at 6:01 am
  45. Cindy Gill

    Up here in PA the squirrels are not deterred by pepper laden birdseed. I hate to admit it here, but I am one of those people who feed the squirrels their own special food, which helps distract them from my birdfeeders.

    February 3, 2013 at 10:57 pm
  46. Angela Scott

    Recently bought some Cole’s Hot Meats bird seed from Meyers Plants and Pottery in Birmingham, AL. This is the only brand they sell. ingedients are Sunflower Meats, liquid Habanero, Chili Pepper, Safflower Oil. Made in Kennesaw, GA I have seen NO Squirrels-Just Birds. Just for the heck of it I tasted a sunflower kernel and it was hot as Habanero…

    February 3, 2013 at 8:21 pm
  47. Jean

    I remember fondly your favorite pet Rocky. May he rest in peace and never ever come back! They are not welcome in my yard but it seems nobody got the memo.

    February 3, 2013 at 3:15 pm
  48. GW Bill Miller

    I enjoyed this post. I have posted numerous photos of squirrels enjoying my bird feeders, especially the squirrel proof variety. Finally I mostly gave up and decided they add comic relief.

    You should impress upon your son Brian that it is important to skin and dress the squirrel before cooking. The one in his pot looks a bit furry.

    The recipie you link to looks good. As a boy I brought home a good number of rabbits and squirrels. My mother regarded them as four legged chickens and cooked them as such – rolled in seasoned flour and fried, squirrel pot pie, etc. She never roasted them, saying they were too tough and lean for that.

    If you decide to thin the ranks of the squirrels at your feeders I recommend a good Crossman pellet gun. Pumped up nine or ten times it will drop a squirrel as quickly as a 22 with less noise. That way you can turn a pest into dinner. Just remember the hunter’s creed, “eat what you shoot”.

    February 3, 2013 at 2:03 pm
  49. sherryocala

    Squirrel-haters of the world unite!! They chew off the new shoots on my roses! Hate them!! I want to electrify my trees. They seem not to like bird netting that is used on ponds. I stuffed it in and through my climbers to keep them away from the new growth. Since one was dangling by a toenail struggling (unfortunately he escaped and did not die in place), they seem to avoid that particular rose, and the new growth lives.

    February 3, 2013 at 1:09 pm
  50. RedneckRosarian

    Reblogged this on The Redneck Rosarian and commented:
    After reading Steve’s post, a flood of memories came to mind of a time when we were young and foolish and moved to Georgia to accept a job. We rented a small house and the reign of terror began. We were terrorized by a band of squirrels that invaded the attic of the house. They chewed the phone lines in half. The Ringgold Telephone company came out and hooked up a phone to a pole outside for us to use until we could rid ourselves of the squirrel issue. It was a sign. We vacated the house and Petticoat Junction for a town that actually only had squirrels outside and not working for the phone company. Just had to share…..

    February 3, 2013 at 11:07 am
  51. RedneckRosarian

    We were once terrorized by a band of squirrels that invaded the attic of a house when we lived in Ringgold, Georgia. They chewed the phone lines in half. The Ringgold Telephone company came out and hooked up a phone to a pole outside for us to use until we could rid ourselves of the squirrel issue. It was a sign. We vacated the house and Petticoat Junction for a town that actually only had squirrels outside and not working for the phone company

    February 3, 2013 at 11:03 am
  52. Monica Guidry

    Squirrels are annoying PESTS! They are not cute or adorable! Rrrr. They chew on everything including the lead roof jacks. When I venture outside, they drop acorns on me as I stand at the gas grill. I agree wholeheartedly, Steve… they should cooked. (Note: I will not personally eat squirrel sauce piquante, but I totally support those who enjoy it.)

    February 3, 2013 at 9:06 am

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