Squirrels Chewing Outdoor Lights: Discover Effective Methods to Prevent Damage

Enjoying warm summer evenings in the garden can become frustrating when you notice your beautiful outdoor lights have fallen prey to squirrels. These furry critters often chew on light fixtures, especially string and Christmas lights, to sharpen their teeth.

This comprehensive guide will provide a range of effective methods – from natural repellents to professional solutions – that can help protect your outdoor lighting from this common problem.

Get ready for an illuminating read on safeguarding your backyard oasis against pesky squirrel damage!

Key Takeaways

  • Squirrels chew outdoor lights to sharpen their teeth, so it’s important to understand their behavior in order to prevent damage.
  • Natural deterrents like scents that repel squirrels and making your yard inhospitable can discourage squirrels from chewing on outdoor lights.
  • Mechanical deterrents such as motion – activated devices, barriers, and wrapping lights in chicken wire can make it difficult for squirrels to access the lights.
  • Chemical deterrents like repellent sprays and bitter – tasting coatings can deter squirrels from chewing on outdoor lights.

Understanding Squirrel Behavior

Squirrels chew outdoor lights due to their natural instinct to gnaw on objects, which helps keep their teeth healthy and sharp. They are particularly attracted to lights that emit warmth or resemble acorns, such as Christmas lights or LED light strands.

Why squirrels chew outdoor lights

Squirrels do not chew on outdoor lights for fun. They have a reason for it! Their teeth never stop growing. To keep their teeth sharp, they must chew on hard stuff. That’s why they like to nibble on things around your home, like outdoor lights.

Squirrels also think that the wires in light cords are tree branches or roots. So, they chew them thinking it may lead to food or water sources! It is important to know this so you can keep your lights safe from squirrels and their chomping ways!

Types of lights they target

Squirrels have a tendency to chew on different types of outdoor lights. Here are some examples:

  • Rope lights: These are attractive to squirrels because they resemble vines or branches that they would naturally encounter in the wild.
  • Christmas lights: The bright colors and dangling cords of Christmas lights can be enticing for squirrels.
  • LED light strands: Squirrels might mistake the wires of LED light strands for small branches or twigs that they typically chew on.
  • Garden lights: Squirrels may nibble on garden lights if they have a metal or plastic casing that resembles something they can gnaw on.

Natural Deterrents

To deter squirrels from chewing on outdoor lights, you can utilize natural deterrents such as using scents that repel them and making your yard inhospitable to their presence.

Using scents that repel squirrels

Squirrels can be deterred from chewing on outdoor lights by using scents that they find unpleasant. Here are some effective scents to repel squirrels:

  1. Peppermint oil: Squirrels dislike the strong scent of peppermint oil. Spray it around the lights or soak cotton balls in peppermint oil and place them near the lights.
  2. Citrus solution: Squirrels also dislike citrus smells. Mix lemon or orange peels with water and spray it around the lights.
  3. Hot pepper spray: Squirrels find the spicy nature of hot peppers unpleasant. Make a spray by mixing hot pepper flakes or powder with water, then spray it on and around the lights.
  4. Mint mouthwash: The strong smell of mint is another deterrent for squirrels. Dilute mint mouthwash with water and spray it near the lights.
  5. Vinegar: Soak rags or cotton balls in white vinegar and place them around the lights. The strong odor will help keep squirrels away.

Making your yard inhospitable to squirrels

To prevent squirrels from chewing on outdoor lights, you can make your yard less appealing to them. Here are some DIY methods:

  • Remove food sources: Clean up fallen fruits, nuts, and birdseed that may attract squirrels to your yard.
  • Secure garbage cans: Make sure your garbage cans have tight-fitting lids to prevent squirrels from getting into them.
  • Trim trees and shrubs: Cut back tree branches that may provide squirrels with easy access to the lights.
  • Cover vegetable gardens: Use mesh or fencing to protect your plants from squirrels.
  • Use squirrel-proof bird feeders: Choose bird feeders with mechanisms that deter squirrels from accessing the food.
  • Install motion-activated lights: Squirrels are less likely to approach well-lit areas, so installing motion-activated lights can help deter them.

Mechanical Deterrents

Scare squirrels away by using noise or motion-activated devices and make it difficult for them to reach lights by installing squirrel baffles or barriers.

Scaring squirrels away

To scare away squirrels from your outdoor lights, you can try a few different methods. One option is to use motion-activated devices, such as sprinklers or flashing lights, that startle the squirrels and make them run away.

Another way is to create loud sounds near the lights, like using wind chimes or playing recordings of predator noises. Squirrels are cautious animals, so anything that surprises or frightens them can help keep them away from your lights.

Making it difficult for squirrels to reach lights

  1. Place lights out of reach: Mount your outdoor lights in high locations, such as on tall poles or the upper branches of trees, where squirrels can’t easily reach them.
  2. Use pole baffles: Attach squirrel baffles or cones to the poles supporting your lights. These barriers will prevent squirrels from climbing up and accessing the lights.
  3. Trim tree branches: Cut back any overhanging tree branches near your lights. This will reduce the opportunity for squirrels to jump onto the lights from nearby trees.
  4. Install motion sensors: Set up motion-activated sensors that trigger bright lights or loud noises when a squirrel gets too close to your outdoor lighting. This will scare them away and deter them from coming back.
  5. Secure wires with conduit: Encase the wires connecting your outdoor lights in metal conduit or PVC piping. This protective covering will make it difficult for squirrels to chew through the wires and damage your lights.
  6. Hang lights strategically: Hang string lights tightly across fences or between buildings, making it harder for squirrels to access them without getting caught or tangled.
  7. Use slippery surfaces: Apply a layer of petroleum jelly or cooking oil on surfaces near your lights that a squirrel may try to climb, such as poles or tree trunks. The slippery texture will discourage them from reaching the lights.
  8. Consider ultrasonic devices: Use ultrasonic devices that emit high-frequency sounds specifically designed to repel squirrels and keep them away from your outdoor lighting.

Remember, using a combination of these methods together can enhance their effectiveness in preventing squirrels from chewing on your outdoor lights and causing damage.

Wrapping lights in chicken wire

Protect your outdoor lights from squirrels by wrapping them in chicken wire. This method creates a barrier that squirrels cannot easily chew through. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Measure the length of the lights you want to protect.
  2. Cut a piece of chicken wire that is slightly longer than the lights.
  3. Wrap the chicken wire around the lights, making sure it covers all sides.
  4. Secure the ends of the chicken wire together using zip ties or twist ties.
  5. Trim any excess chicken wire so it doesn’t stick out.

Chemical Deterrents

Using repellent sprays and applying bitter-tasting coatings can deter squirrels from chewing on outdoor lights.

Using repellent sprays

Repellent sprays can be an effective way to deter squirrels from chewing on your outdoor lights. Here are some options to consider:

  1. Pepper spray: Squirrels find the strong scent of pepper unpleasant, so spraying it around your lights can help keep them away. Look for ready-made pepper sprays specifically designed to repel squirrels.
  2. Mint or citrus spray: Squirrels also dislike the smell of mint and citrus. Consider using a mint mouthwash or citrus solution as a natural repellent. Spray it near your lights to discourage squirrels from getting too close.
  3. Ready-made squirrel repellents: There are commercial repellents available that are specifically formulated to deter squirrels from damaging outdoor lights. These products often contain natural ingredients that squirrels find unpleasant.
  4. DIY repellent solutions: If you prefer a DIY approach, you can make your own repellent spray using ingredients like hot sauce, vinegar, or garlic mixed with water. Spray this homemade solution around your lights to help prevent squirrel chewing.

Applying bitter-tasting coatings

To further prevent squirrels from chewing on your outdoor lights, you can apply bitter-tasting coatings. These coatings are unpleasant for squirrels to taste, deterring them from nibbling on the lights. Here are some options to consider:

  1. Hot pepper spray: The spicy heat of hot pepper spray is off-putting to squirrels. You can purchase ready-made sprays or make your own by mixing chili powder or cayenne pepper with water and a bit of dish soap.
  2. Bitter apple spray: This type of spray is commonly used to deter pets from chewing on furniture or other items. It has a bitter taste that squirrels find unappealing.
  3. Tabasco sauce: Mix a small amount of Tabasco sauce with water and spray it on the lights. The strong, pungent flavor will discourage squirrels from chewing.

Professional Solutions

Hire a pest control company or install squirrel-proof barriers for long-term prevention.

Hiring a pest control company

If you’re having trouble dealing with squirrels chewing on your outdoor lights and the DIY methods aren’t working, it may be time to consider hiring a pest control company. These professionals have the knowledge and experience to effectively handle squirrel problems.

They can assess the situation, identify the root cause of the issue, and implement targeted solutions to deter squirrels from damaging your lights. Some pest control companies also offer specialized services like installing squirrel-proof barriers or using advanced repellents that are more effective in keeping squirrels away.

Hiring experts can save you time and effort while ensuring that your outdoor lights stay safe from squirrel damage.

Installing squirrel-proof barriers

To protect your outdoor lights from squirrels, consider installing squirrel-proof barriers. Here are some effective methods:

  1. Metal cages or mesh: Surround your lighting fixtures with metal cages or mesh to create a physical barrier that prevents squirrels from accessing them.
  2. PVC pipe sleeves: Slide PVC pipe sleeves over the wires or strings of lights. This makes it difficult for squirrels to chew through and damage them.
  3. Dome-shaped guards: Install dome-shaped guards over your lights, creating a barrier that keeps squirrels away from the bulbs and wiring.
  4. Squirrel baffles: Use squirrel baffles on poles or hanging fixtures to deter squirrels from reaching the lights. These cone-shaped devices prevent squirrels from climbing up and accessing the lights.
  5. Bird netting: Cover your light displays with bird netting, securing it tightly around the perimeter. This helps keep squirrels at bay while still allowing the lights to be visible.


Preventing squirrels from chewing outdoor lights is important to protect our garden and enjoy warm summer evenings without any damage. By understanding squirrel behavior and using natural, mechanical, or chemical deterrents, we can keep them away from our lights.

Professional solutions like hiring a pest control company or installing squirrel-proof barriers can also be effective. With these methods, we can safeguard our outdoor lights and say goodbye to squirrel damage for good!


1. What are effective methods to prevent squirrels from chewing outdoor lights?

Effective methods to deter squirrels include using squirrel-proofing techniques, applying squirrel repellants, and creating attention-grabbing diversions.

2. How can I protect my outdoor string lights from squirrels?

Protecting outdoor lights from squirrel damage can be done by safeguarding them with special coatings or covers that are unattractive to squirrels.

3. Are there tips for dealing with squirrels chewing on Christmas lights?

Yes, one tip is creating a safe zone around your Christmas lights by using strategies like enclosing the wires in a hard-to-chew material or using a specially designed light strand that resists damage.

4. How can I stop squirrels from damaging my outdoor light display?

Preventing squirrel damage includes regular checks of your lighting setup and quick fixes if you spot any signs of chewing activity.

5. Can prevention techniques help against all types of outdoor light damage caused by squirrels?

Yes! These techniques not only prevent chewed-through strands but also other forms of destruction like loosened bulbs or pulled-down strings caused by active rodents.

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