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8 Ways to Stop Squirrels From Chewing Wires

Squirrels will frequently make nests in attics, and wreak havoc in gardens and landscapes. A particularly troublesome habit they harbor is their affinity for chewing on electrical wires

The consequences of such behavior are not just an inconvenience; they can lead to hazardous situations, including fires and significant repair expenses.

Fortunately, the silver lining lies in our ability to thwart these furry culprits…

In the following sections, we’ll delve into eight effective strategies to put a halt to squirrels chewing on wires, ensuring both the safety of your property and your peace of mind.

squirrel with chrismas lights

Squirrel chewing on the String lights in this tree. | Photo By Rocco on Catchpiece.com

Why Squirrels Chew Wires

Squirrels and other rodents like mice and rats have a single pair of continuously growing incisor teeth in the upper and lower jaw, which requires them to gnaw on various materials to continuously keep their teeth filed down to a healthy length for survival purposes.

They like to chew on all sorts of materials including phone lines, landscape lighting, Christmas holiday lights, car engine wires, and even power wires.

So how do you stop them from damaging your stuff?

Eight Ways To Stop Squirrels From Chewing Wires:

  1. Use Hot Pepper Repellent Sprays to Deter Chewing.
  2. Protect Engine Wires With Electronic Devices.
  3. Protect Engine Wires With Rodent Tape.
  4. Use Rodent Repellent for Car Engines.
  5. Protect Power and Telephone Lines With a Conduit.
  6. Use Waterproof Direct Bury Wires.
  7. Use a Live Trap to Relocate Squirrels.
  8. Use a Lethal Trap to Kill Squirrels.

Use Hot Pepper Sprays to Deter Squirrels

Each holiday season, I delight in adorning my home with twinkling Christmas lights, creating a festive spectacle for the kids to enjoy. Yet, like clockwork, the mischievous neighborhood squirrels seem determined to transform my decorative display into their playground, mangling a set of lights without fail.

Enter my secret weapon: a homemade, hot pepper spray that not only adds a kick to my culinary creations but serves as a formidable defense against squirrel wire-chewing escapades.

Being an avid gardener, I take pride in cultivating hot peppers, and when my crop is bountiful, I whip up a potent pepper sauce.

Mixing this fiery concoction with water in a spray bottle provides a simple yet effective shield for my Christmas lights.

The squirrels, repelled by the burning taste, quickly learn to associate their wire-chewing antics with a spicy consequence, prompting them to steer clear.

hot pepper from my garden
Hot Peppers

To apply, I hang the lights, ensure they’re in working order, and then give them a protective spritz. Removing the lights post-festivities is a breeze – a quick hose down and they’re ready for storage. As a bonus, the leftover hot pepper sauce doubles as a deterrent for garden-dwelling squirrels and other curious critters.

But the magic doesn’t stop there! Mix the hot sauce with birdseed to create an avian-friendly yet squirrel-repellent delight for your bird feeder. Birds remain unfazed by the spicy blend, while squirrels are left disgruntled by the taste. Of course, a word of caution: wear gloves when handling hot peppers, and resist the temptation to touch your face or eyes after safeguarding your holiday lights.

For those without a garden full of peppers, fear not!

Coles Hot Pepper sauce, available on Amazon.com, is a convenient alternative.

Originally designed for mixing with birdseed, this versatile sauce proves equally effective when used as a spray.

Just a weekly reapplication, especially after rain, keeps those squirrels at bay, ensuring a holiday season free from wire-chewing surprises.

How To Make A Hot Pepper Spray To Stop Squirrels From Chewing Wires

Making your hot pepper spray is easy and effective.  I like using really hot peppers such as Ghost Peppers or Carolina Reapers.  If you cannot find them in your local store you can try Cayenne peppers.  You don’t need to get complicated with this at all.  Just chop your peppers with the seeds and put them into a spray bottle with water.  It’s that simple and effective.

Below is a hot pepper spray for squirrels recipe.

Materials and Ingredients:

  1. Use 4-6 fresh Hot Peppers of your choice.
  2. Finely Chop Peppers to Pea Size.
  3. Add Chopped Peppers with Seeds to a 32oz Plastic Spray Bottle.
  4. Fill the Bottle with Water.
  5. Shake Well Before Spraying on Wires.
  6. Apply as Needed or after Rainfall.

Protect Engine Wires With an Electronic Device.

Car and truck engine wires seem to be a favorite for squirrels, but It’s not entirely clear why they like engine wires. Some say it is because manufacturers are using soybean-based rubber to insulate the wires and rodents mistake it for a food source, which may be true.

A more realistic reason though, is that squirrels are natural chewers. Their teeth grow continuously, and they need to wear them down to prevent overgrowth.

Wires, engine compartment insulation, and even plastic reservoirs for the windshield wiper fluid, unfortunately, become unwitting victims in this dental maintenance routine.

They use the material to help build their nests and keep those teeth nice and sharp.

Washer fluid reservoir chewed by squirrel
The washer fluid reservoir was chewed by a squirrel.

So, while we can’t sit down with a squirrel for a heart-to-heart conversation about the perils of wire-chewing, understanding their instincts sets the stage for crafting effective defenses.

It’s time to outsmart these critters and protect our wires from their relentless dental desires. Onward to practical solutions!

So what can you do to stop those darn squirrels?

For your engine wires, I recommend installing an electronic device that deters rodents from nesting in your engine compartment and chewing on wires.

The Loraffe Under Hood Animal Repeller emits ultrasonic waves and LED flashing lights to deter animals from nesting in your vehicle’s engine compartment. 

This is an excellent product and works well.

They are fairly simple to install: just connect 2 wires to the vehicle battery to provide power to the device.

What sets Loraffe apart from other devices, is the built-in low voltage protection feature that automatically stops the device to prevent the vehicle’s battery from dropping below 10.5 volts to ensure you can always start your car.

Also, the Loraffe has an auto standby, that shuts the unit off when the car is running and will automatically resume working 20 seconds after the car is parked.

Here is an Amazon link to the Loraffe Under the Hood Repeller if you are interested in buying one.

Additionally, below is a video on how to install the Loraffe device.

Protecting Engine Wires With Rodent Tape

To fortify your vehicle’s wiring against the relentless teeth of curious critters, consider the powerful combination of Honda Rodent Tape and 3M Scotch Electrical Shielding Tape 24.

The Honda Rodent Tape, specifically designed as a deterrent for critters prone to chewing vehicle wiring, comes with a distinctive capsaicin treatment, derived from chili peppers.

Applying the half-wrapping method is recommended, where each layer overlaps the previous by half the tape’s width.

With 65 feet of tape per roll, it provides ample coverage for your wire harness needs.

Honda Rodent Tape

Get it on Amazon Honda Tape

On the other hand, 3M Scotch Electrical Shielding Tape 24 boasts an array of features, including tinned copper conductors, stability at elevated temperatures, oil resistance, and compatibility with various power cable insulations.

It’s fire-resistant, elongates easily to conform to uneven surfaces, and is corrosion-resistant.

Notably, the tape’s interlocking construction ensures a tighter wrap without the need for solder beads.

For an extra layer of protection, consider combining these tapes by wrapping wiring harnesses first with 3M Scotch Electrical Shielding Tape and then covering the copper tape with Honda Rodent Tape, providing a comprehensive defense against wire-chewing pests.

You can find Honda Rodent Tape and 3M Scotch Electrical Shielding Tape on Amazon.

Both of these products are what I recommend for car engine wires however they are a bit pricey but when comparing the cost of repairs they are well worth the cost.

Using Rodent Repellent for Car Engines

Shielding your car engine from the nibbling tendencies of Squirrels is a critical aspect of preventing wire damage. One effective method is using rodent repellents designed specifically for car engines. These repellents often come in the form of sprays or pouches, emitting odors that deter rodents without harming your vehicle or the environment. One notable option to consider is Mighty Mint 16oz Peppermint Oil Rodent Repellent Spray, a powerful and humane solution for keeping those critters at bay.

Mighty Mint’s Peppermint Oil Rodent Repellent Spray stands out as a natural and potent solution. Boasting an extra-concentrated strength for long-lasting protection, this spray is not only effective but also safe for both people and pets.

Derived from locally sourced, high-grade peppermint from the Pacific Northwest, the active ingredient in this repellent is pure origin peppermint essential oil. This ensures a humane yet effective approach to deterring squirrels and, more importantly, keeping them away. The concentrated formula means you get extended protection with fewer applications.

The Mighty Mint Peppermint Oil Rodent Repellent Spray provides a proactive and eco-friendly solution to protect your car’s engine wires. By creating an environment that squirrels and other rodents find unpleasant, you not only safeguard your vehicle but also contribute to a humane and effective approach to pest control.

Protect Power and Telephone Lines With a Conduit

According to an interesting database on CyberSquirrel1.com, squirrels are by far the most destructive of any pests, when it comes to causing power outages.

In the map below, each marker represents a documented power outage caused by a squirrel.

CyberSquirrel1 Map 2018

In 2024, squirrels were responsible for over 1250 power outages. Pretty crazy, right?

If you’re having trouble with squirrels chewing on Power wires or Telephone lines, then you may want to look into putting the wires into a conduit.

A conduit is a hard outer tube protecting the wire inside from the external environment.

Conduits come in many materials such as metal, PVC, or even flexible plastic tubing.

Ridgid PVC can be used in many applications such as phone or internet cables.

Be aware that running electrical wires, especially the main power line feeding your home, may require a licensed electrician.

Cable in Conduit
Cable in conduit

If you are running outdoor landscape lighting, you may need to have a permit for that as well, so be sure to check with your local laws before starting your project.

Use Direct Bury Wires

Another option instead of wire in a conduit is to use a cable designed to be buried underground.

Although not protected by a hard outer conduit, direct bury cables are rated to be waterproof and when buried properly, squirrels will not be able to get to them.

If you need to get an internet connection, phone line, or outdoor camera setup and don’t want to run the cable in a long conduit, you can get something like this Outdoor Ethernet Cable on Amazon and bury it in the ground.

Direct Bury Cables

Direct Bury Cables

Or, if you’re installing a power cable then I would go with a Direct Bury Power Cable like this one.

Check with an electrician if you are not sure of which cable to use and always follow local building codes.

Use a Live Trap to Relocate Squirrels

Live trapping squirrels is another way to thin out the squirrel population and keep them under control.

One thing to consider is that when removing squirrels from around your home, eventually new ones will move in, so you may have to repeat this process.

Make sure you check your local laws for relocating nuisance wildlife in your area.

Find out what the guidelines are before starting to live trap squirrels.

Releasing wild animals on land you don’t own or don’t have permission to do so could get you into trouble, so make sure you have a legal place to release them before trapping.

If you are looking for a good live trap then check out  The Squirrelinator on Amazon.com.

It’s large and can catch multiple squirrels at a time.

Here is a list of features: Squirrelinator 2

  • Humane animal trap.
  • Constructed with durable metal wire
  • Featuring a top lid that facilitates the quick and hassle-free release of animals.
  • Cage trap and capture up to 25 squirrels within an hour by properly positioning the bait.
  • Compact design ensures convenient storage.

Use a Lethal Trap to Kill Squirrels

If you don’t have a place to relocate squirrels, then lethal traps may be the way to get rid of squirrels that are chewing on wires.

As with any kill trap, there is always a chance that you kill the wrong animal.

The best way to limit your chances is to get a trap that you can mount on a tree trunk high off the ground to avoid killing the wrong animal.

The one that I recommend that is very effective against squirrels is the Tube Trap For Squirrels available on Amazon.

Secure the trap to a branch with tie wraps or a wooden shelf nailed to the trunk of the tree.

The squirrel enters the tube to get the bait and “bam”, it’s an instant humane kill.

I recommend using birdseed and peanut butter mixed and placed on the trip pad for best results.

Conclusion: Strategies to Prevent Squirrel Wire Damage

In the quest to thwart squirrels from gnawing on wires, it’s crucial to recognize that each method has its unique advantages and drawbacks.

From my experience, employing pepper spray emerges as a swift and convenient deterrent, particularly effective in the garden and for holiday lighting.

However, it’s worth noting that its efficacy may be compromised during light rain showers that wash it away.

When it comes to under-the-hood protection, engine tape proves to be a reliable ally in preventing rodents from chewing on engine wires. Its durability and effectiveness make it a practical choice for safeguarding crucial automotive components.

Additionally, The Loraffe Under Hood Animal Repeller ultrasonic device with LED flashing lights is an excellent product to deter animals from nesting in your vehicle’s engine compartment.

While live trapping, exemplified by The Squirrelinator, is an option, it can pose challenges in relocating animals without a designated release site.

Tube traps, on the other hand, offer an effective solution, providing a humane means to control the population and potentially serve as a food source for other wildlife. Ensuring proper placement on a tree adds an extra layer of safety.

For a comprehensive guide on handling squirrels in various scenarios, including attic invasions and garden disruptions, explore the insights shared in the post on The Best Ways To Get Rid Of Squirrels.

Remember, adopting a combination of these strategies tailored to your specific situation increases the likelihood of successfully preventing squirrel-induced wire havoc.

Please, leave a comment below to share what worked best for you!

2 thoughts on “8 Ways to Stop Squirrels From Chewing Wires”

    • Hi Nathan,
      That is a great question. I like to use Ghost peppers or Carolina Reapers. Both are in the post picture. They are some of the hottest peppers, much hotter than cayenne peppers. I mix 4-5 Ghost or Carolina Reaper peppers with water. Just chop them up really good with seeds and all. Then mix in a 32 ounce spray bottle and fill with water. Shake well and often before applying. If you use chill or cayenne peppers, then use 8-10 peppers. Apply after rainfall to be sure they are effective. Stay away from dried pepper powder, it will clog the spray bottle. Thanks for leaving a comment!


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