Can Vicks VapoRub Really Keep Squirrels Out Of Bird Feeders?

There's no denying squirrels can be adorable from afar; however, if you're a keen birdwatcher and are trying to bring more birds to your yard with food, squirrels can sometimes get in the way of that. Specifically, squirrels love birdseed and cleverly will figure out a way to get to your well-placed bird feeder(s), seemingly no matter what obstacle. Luckily, an item you probably already have in your home can work wonders in situations like these. Vicks VapoRub, to the rescue!

As anyone with a bird feeder and a squirrel problem will know, these bushy-tailed critters will stop at nothing to get at the seeds or snacks left out for birds. And, no, opting for a standalone feeder in the middle of your garden, far away from anything else scalable, isn't an effective way of keeping them out either. But did you know squirrels are known to dislike the scents of both camphor and eucalyptus? They also have an aversion to peppermint, meaning menthol is a great squirrel deterrent, too. And as it happens, all of those scents are in one nifty little product called Vicks VapoRub, making the ointment a surprisingly practical solution to keeping squirrels out of bird feeders.

Using Vicks against squirrels

To squirrel-proof your bird feeder, apply Vicks along the various paths to the bird feeder. If you're hoping to keep squirrels from your feeder, you likely already have yours hanging away from any trees. If your feeder is hung from a pole, you can apply a thin layer of VapoRub to the pole, and the smell should keep squirrels from getting too close. Eventually, they'll move on and seek food elsewhere.

If your feeder is hanging from a balcony or a gazebo, you can create a perimeter around the chain, so the squirrel won't be able to access the feeder from the top. Note that this solution isn't a one-and-done for getting rid of squirrels. You'll need to reapply the ointment occasionally to ensure the smelly deterrent continues to work (especially after it rains).

For safety, remember that Vicks VapoRub contains petroleum jelly, and per the ASPCA, this is a laxative when ingested. If the squirrels happen to get the ointment on their paws and lick it off, it could lead to stomach issues, and if too much is ingested, it could lead to severe problems. For this reason, apply the Vicks in a layer as thin as possible and a bit of a way from the feeder, such as lower down a pole, to protect both squirrels and birds.