How to Keep Squirrels from Eating Pumpkins – 5 Effective Ways

Squirrels are known to eat pumpkins in farms or yards. The fruit becomes a regular treat to rodents during the fall when most plants are bowing out. Knowing that winter is around the corner, squirrels can ravage your pumpkins to store enough fat and energy for the harsh season.

Various animals also enjoy eating pumpkins, including deer, raccoons, insects, and birds. Squirrels are mainly attracted to the seeds and flesh inside pumpkins. So, if you find that the insides of your pumpkins have been hollowed out, it’s a clear sign that squirrels are the culprits.

Squirrels eaten pumpkin

How to keep squirrels from eating pumpkins

Keeping squirrels from eating your pumpkins can be a tall order. These animals are very intelligent and they can quickly outsmart some tricks. Scarecrows for example can deter most animals including birds but squirrels can easily ignore this scare tactic.

Here are 5 proven ways to stop squirrels from eating or damaging your pumpkins.

1. Create a physical barrier

Place a sturdy netting barrier like chicken mesh over the pumpkins. Make sure the openings in the material are small enough to prevent squirrels from getting through. If you are using a wire, bury it a few inches into the ground such that squirrels cannot dig it out.

You can also install a fence around your yard or the pumpkin farm to keep away squirrels. Use materials that these rodents won’t climb easily. A metal or plastic fence 3-4 feet high can be effective. Make sure to prune any nearby trees as squirrels might use them to jump into your yard.

I always elevate my pumpkins on a slippery pole to discourage rodents. You can apply some vegetable oil or grease on the pedestal to make it difficult for squirrels to scale. Remember, squirrels are persistent and clever animals, ensure the barriers are sturdy and regularly check and maintain them to remain effective.

2. Use natural repellents

Various natural repellents can help deter squirrels and raccoons from your garden or pumpkins. These repellents have strong smells or tastes that rodents find unpleasant. The following are special recipes for safe and humane natural repellents.

  • Crush some red pepper and mix with water. Spray the solution on your pumpkins and the surrounding areas and squirrels won’t dare gnaw on your pumpkins gain.
  • Mix garlic, vinegar, and water then spray it on plants or around the garden. The strong scent will discourage squirrels and other animals from trying to eat your pumpkins.
  • Mix a few drops of essential oil such as peppermint or eucalyptus and spray it on your pumpkins or around the farm. Squirrels don’t like the strong smell of the essential oils and they keep off your garden.
  • Get some blood meal and sprinkle it around your plants. Squirrels don’t like the scent of this product and they will not be interested in eating the pumpkins with such smell.
  • Install motion-activated sprinklers around your pumpkin garden. When the animal comes close, the sudden burst of water can startle and scare them away.

When using natural repellents, remember to reapply them after rain or watering. Also, keep in mind that some repellents might need to be reapplied more frequently than others, depending on the level of squirrel activity on your farm.

3. Divert their attention

Diverting the attention of squirrels away from your garden can help in stopping them from causing damage to your pumpkins. Install squirrel feeders in a separate area away from your garden and fill them with nuts, seeds, and other squirrel-friendly treats.

Remember to provide a source of water near the feeder. A bird bath or any shallow bowl of water will attract the attention of the squirrel and they won’t think about eating your pumpkins.

There are gardeners who have successfully kept squirrels and birds away from their yards by using decoys, toys, or distractions. These distractions can keep the squirrels marveled and entertained and they won’t have time to attack your pumpkins or fruits.

4. Harvest your pumpkins

You can harvest your pumpkins if they have reached their full maturity. Pumpkins that are ready for harvest often have a deep, rich color. A withered vine or stem is also a good indicator that your pumpkins are ready for harvesting. Pumpkins with soft spots or blemishes, may not fully mature or could be rotting, so avoid them.

After harvesting, store your pumpkins safely in a cool dry place to prolong their shelf life. Wet conditions and high temperatures make gourds rot quickly. Freezing can also be an option if you want to keep your pumpkins fresh for a longer period of time.

Remove damaged pumpkins

Remove pumpkins that are damaged by squirrels or other animals. The exposed seeds, flesh, and other parts of the pumpkin may attract more squirrels and other pests. The healthy pumpkins that remain must also be protected from further damage by either caging them in mesh or by elevating them.

Final Thought

Squirrels and other wildlife can damage your pumpkins resulting in losses.  If you want to protect your pumpkins from being eaten by animals, think of natural and humane ways. Creating physical barriers, using natural repellents, and harvesting your pumpkins are some of the effective methods to try.

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