What Pepper Can You Put on Seed So Squirrels won't Eat It?

The fruit sometimes referred to as bird pepper (Capsicum annuum L.), that is a perennial in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9b during 11, is harmless to birds, but it can pack a mean punch for marauding squirrels at bird feeders. If you want to put squirrels from the hot seat in your feeders, combine ground varieties of bird pepper with the seeds.

How it Works

Bird pepper is only one of the ordinary names of numerous peppers from the Capsicum genus. These peppers range in pungency because of varying levels of capsaicinoids, primarily capsaicin. Paprika contains capsaicinoid speeds up to 30 parts per thousand, while some red peppers have concentrations of 13,000 parts per thousand. Cayenne pepper, which is commonly used as a squirrel deterrent, is ground from a mixture of some of the very pungent varieties.Mammals, such as people and squirrels, have brain receptors that react to the capsaicinoids in onions with a sense of burning. But because birds lack these receptors, as well as having no sense of taste, they’re unaffected.

How to Apply It

Scatter ground cayenne or dried red pepper flakes onto birdseed and blend it into the seeds. If the wind is strong enough, however, it may blow the ground pepper from the feeder. Optionally, spray the bird seed with an aerosol kitchen oil product, or use a non-aerosol mister to use the oil, prior to applying the pepper so that it clings to the seeds. But rain may wash pepper from the seeds even in the event that you’ve implemented oil, and that means you have to continue adding pepper into the seeds to deter the squirrels.

Feeding Habits

If you notice an inordinate number of seeds lost from your bird feeder compared to the number of squirrels you begin eating there, chalk this up into the squirrels’ hoarding behaviour. Squirrels eat some of the seeds, however they also cache seeds and other foods to have a winter food supply. Squirrel activity in your feeders can ramp up from the autumn because it is the time of year they actively shop food for the winter.


Should you employ ground pepper into bird seed, avoid breathing in the powder. And if you handle pepper powder or fluids, wash your hands with soap and water immediately afterward, or wear gloves so that you do not forget and rub your eyes. Because squirrels have broken their eyes from rubbing them after managing hot pepper, The University of Nebraska Lincoln urges other deterrents for squirrels, primarily using exclusion feeders, which permit the birds in but keep the squirrels out. Kinds of exclusion feeders include people who have cages, baffles and weighted hoppers.

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