Will Mothballs Keep Squirrels Away From My Home And Garden?


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Squirrels may be super cute to look at but they can be a real pest in the garden.

Of course, you don’t want to have to cause them any harm when trying to get rid of them but you still want an effective method.

There are many reports that mothballs will keep squirrels away from your home and garden but is this the case?

Mothballs have a strong odor that will keep squirrels away from your home and garden. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you should use them since they contain harmful chemicals that are a serious risk to wildlife. 

Understanding how and why mothballs are dangerous for squirrels is one thing but you’re still left with the problem of these animals coming into your garden.

Mothballs against squirrels using
Get rid of squirrels

So, what else can you do?

In This Guide: We will discuss the reasons to avoid mothballs as well as give you some helpful advice on how to effectively rid squirrels from your yard. 

What Are Mothballs And What Are They Used For?

If you have been looking to repel squirrels from your garden then you may have heard that mothballs are an excellent solution but before you go putting anything in your yard, it’s a good idea to understand exactly what mothballs are. 

In the most simple terms, mothballs are balls that contain chemicals that act as a pesticide as well as deodorants and fragrances.

These fragrances are present in the mothballs because they are often used in places where you would store clothes and other fabric items that moths may be attracted to.

Back in the day, mothballs contained a chemical known as naphthalene.

The problem with this is that it is very flammable and so in the modern manufacture of mothballs, this has been replaced with 1.4 dichlorobenzenes.

That said, this chemical has the same rating for flammability.

What are mothballs

Moreover, both of these chemicals have a very sweet scent which is incredibly pungent and they also have the ability to undergo sublimation.

What this means is that they will release the scent as a gas from an initial solid state.

Mothballs are normally stored in an airtight bag made from a plastic that will not react with the chemicals inside them.

This is typically something like polypropylene or polyethylene.

If you want the best results, it is also advised to store your clothing in the same type of plastic bag.

Failing to do this will allow the vapors from the balls to dissipate, therefore lessening their effect.

But as well as offering protection to your clothing from moths, mothballs are frequently used as a repellent for various animals.

This includes bats, snakes, and of course, squirrels.

Keep In Mind: Using mothballs this way is actually illegal in a lot of states so before you make that decision, you should check local laws.

How Are Mothballs Effective Against Squirrels?

The main reason that mothballs are so effective at repelling squirrels and other wildlife is because they have such a strong odor.

If you place them around the garden, it is highly unlikely that a squirrel would go anywhere near them.

The problem is that the aroma is so strong that you and other residents may find it equally offensive. 

When using mothballs as a squirrel repellent, the idea is to place the balls next to plants, especially those that squirrels are very attracted to.

Squirrel eating in a garden
Garden Squirrel

Once the smell begins to fade, you will need to replace the mothball.

There is no denying that this is a very effective way to keep squirrels at bay but there is also evidence to prove that the toxins may interfere with the health of the squirrel so if you’re looking for an animal-friendly repellent, this is not the way forward. 

Moreover, the toxins contained within mothballs can be detrimental to humans, particularly those that are vulnerable such as young children and the elderly.

Pets are also at risk so we would never advise using mothballs if you have animals living in your home.

The product can cause many different problems including development issues as well as making existing conditions worse.

Watch Out: If your pets ingest mothballs, this will poison them!

Are There Other Ways To Repel Squirrels From Your Garden?

If you are looking for ways to repel squirrels in the most human way then there are lots of possible natural repellents that work very well:

  • Use Natural Smells: There are certain smells that squirrels hate so using these around your yard is an effective method in repelling them. This includes things like cayenne pepper, garlic, hot pepper and onions. You can sprinkle bits of these foodstuffs around plants and entrance points to your garden and the squirrels will steer clear. 
  • Humane Traps: One of the most simple and effective ways to remove squirrels from your is to catch them. OK, we know, they’re fast and not easy to get hold of but by setting humane traps, you can snare the squirrel and take it far away, releasing it into the wild. You will need to make sure that you go far enough from your home that the squirrel won’t find it’s way back. 
  • Build Protection: Enclosing your garden and plants using wire is a good way to prevent squirrels from interfering with anything. 
  • Trick Them: By placing ‘predators’ around your garden, squirrels will not want to enter. Invest in some realistic looking fox, owl or dog ornaments, especially those with luminous eyes and this should be enough to keep the squirrels at bay. 
  • Use Plants: Certain plants are repulsive to squirrels so planting these in your garden may help to keep them away. Things like lily of the valley, geranium, and peppermint work particularly well. 


If you’ve been having problems with unwanted squirrel visitors to your garden then we feel your frustration.

While many people claim that mothballs are very effective in the fight against these little critters, they are also toxic and can be dangerous to both the squirrel and your family and pets.

There are other effective ways to deter squirrels that are harmless and humane and we would always advocate their use over mothballs.

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