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How do I stop them eating my bulbs.....quickly!

Planted the bulbs with my children the other day and the suirrels have been digging them up and tucking in. The children will be traumatised, they've already had a very disappointing year with their sunflowers and all the rain 

Any super quick ideas? I'm worried by the time I head out to buy some mesh, they'll have eaten them all!

Gary Hobson

I wonder how squirrels find buried bulbs.

If squirrels were looking for buried acorns, then you might guess that the squirrels had remembered burying them. But this can't be the case for planted bulbs. So how do they know where to dig.

I wonder if the bulbs give off some scent. Squirrels don't normally scrutinize cultivated ground. Or do they.

Dogs are good for chasing off squirrels. Many dogs seem to have a natural quite frantic reaction to the sight of a squirrel.


Hmmmm they do hide their acorns in the same flower bed, so your theory holds. They probably stumbled upon them whilst looking for their stash.

As for a dog, much as I love them, I think I'll get some mesh 


My mother used to sprinkle parafin on her pea seeds to stop mice eating them. Could one use anything smelly to put the squirrels off the tulips? Is parafin harmful, I wonder? What about spraying the bulbs with anti dog and cat spray? I think you can buy anti-rabbit pellets too, could plant them with the bulbs.


Somewhere on these threads I have seen that you can sprinkle nuts with chille. Perhaps bulbs? Squirrels hate it, birds don't notice it.

Our dog is very good squirrel chaser. Always wonder what i'll do if he catches one!!



I use pegged down pieces of bean mesh over any wanted bulbs. Stops the squirrels digging for them. Tulips though I always now grow in tubs, also mesh covered, as they are magnets for squirrels in the ground. Remember to remove the mesh when you start to see the bulbs emerging, but even then the squirrels can attack! J.


I've used paprika to get rid of a rat in the compost before....squirrels aren't that removed from rats imo.

Hmmm think I'll give this a try!

Thanks all - I'll keep you posted 

Caz W

I heard that a thick covering of autumn leaves masks the smell and fools the squirrel - haven't tried it myself so don't know if it works but everyone has plenty of leaves around at the moment


i must say i have tried many things,but the three squirrels we have are very clever and they always find my bulbs.they even try and get into my shed through a one inch gap to get at the bulbs which i store in there,and by mistake i left the door open while i was feeding the birds,and within seconds a packet of bulbs was diserpearing up a if anyone finds a cure let me knoe please.


Put the bulbs in pots - tie smallish meshed chicken wire over the top and sink the pots in the ground and cover them with soil.  


As ever there is this myth around that squirrels don't like chiili - oh dear, I do so wish it were true!!  We have a batch of squirrels in our immediate area, who watch me when I plant bubs and are digging them up before the back door is closed - prickly cuttings from the pyracantha and holly hedges stuck in the ground or around the pots seem to help, nothing else does.   They are particularly fond of purple crocus bulbs, and yes, they can tell them from the other ones - they probably smell differently.

I soaked my caged 'squirrel proof' feedrs in chilli paste and oil, and put the powder in the feed,  they sniffed at or a day or two, then came back and licked and chewed it all off with signs of great pleasure.  The birds come and tell me now when the feeders are full of squirrels!!  I have managed with one where the holes seem too small for the adults, but this years young - told by their less bushy tails, so they look even more like rats than the older ones -  though of course that is all that they are, can get inside.  If the house door is open I can creep out and spray them with water as one does with cats, they're not too keen on that.   We have tried the above mentioned chillie, white pepper, garlic, soap amd just about everything else you can think of - and probably a few you haven't.  Stll they eat several pounds of seed feed a week.  i am reluctant to give up feeding the birds, but feeding the squirrels was never on the agenda.  

Pease do not tell me about squirrel proof feeders that slide over the food, they know all about those and how to evade them, they can climb under domes, go up and down the poles until the grease or oil is off then climb up or down and feed - I reallly don't want rats in the garden - if anyone has a new idea that actually works I'd be delighted to hear about it - but so far nothing we have been offered deters them for more than 24 hours.

 We have been fighting this battle for 15 years, and so far it is squirrels 15, us 0!!!!


I only got one hazelnut from my tree this year - in the space of 24h, the squirrels had nicked the lot!  I swore I'd pick them early this year, too..  I used to keep 2 cats which helped, but SWMBO has decreed no more cats, so it's no more homegrown nuts for me.  At least I can use the hazel for poles and peas twigs though.  

I agree with Bookertoo, no one has told the squirrels in my garden they don't like chilli, or paprika, or white pepper, or black pepper, they just seem to love the hottest stuff I can give them.  Bob you were lucky, we did not even get one hazelnut from our tree, and I am convinced that the little blighters send out invitations to their friends to come round for three courses lunches - seeds, bulbs and nuts!

Gary Hobson
Georg Faust wrote (see)

...Dogs are good for chasing off squirrels...

This is what I had in mind:

That video only lasts for 50 seconds, then a screen of text slowly comes up, that tells you what happened next.

Alternatively, though not as dramatic:

I have tried chilli powder myself. It did seem to prevent the food from being eaten, but I found that I had to use so much chilli that it was simply not economical.


I have finally given up after struggling with magpies, squirrels,cats, rooks, sparrow hawks and wood pigeons for 50 years. I just put out the food and enjoy watching all of them take their chances!

P.S. So far The feeders with an outer cage are O.K. and some small birds do get a feed, fingers crossed.



Sadly the squirrels are getting into the caged feeders as well - there are so many of them, and the poor birds really get hardly a look in.  If I thought feeding them (squirrels etc.) elsewhere woud help I'd give it a go, but in fact they just clear their rations and still take the birds food.  I shall keep on the good fight, if nothing else it gives one or two of my brain cells a work out from time to time!!


Hi Boo, i don't know if this will work for your bulbs but it worked  for my grandad with his  peas etc and i noticed some people on this G/W were doing it  as well, we rub the peas,bulbs etc in a lightly covered  paraffin rag(grandad used to soak them for a minute or so)  it doesn't harm the peas as its only on the outer case which is left as the growing process begins,our main prob was mice and squirrels eating everything till i remembered the old paraffin trick which I'm glad to say works nicely hope this might help  Alan from sunny Tenby joke its force 5 and soaking





It would probably work well for sowing peas etc., I recall my father ding that.  However, what I want to do is feed the birds!! I don't think I can give them paraffin? 


the advice was for your bulb theives

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