Can Peppermint Oil Really Repel Birds From Unwanted Areas?

From common birds like robins and pigeons to large ones like hawks and eagles, all birds are essential parts of our ecosystem and are also extremely fascinating to observe up close. However, there are some instances where homeowners would rather watch their feathered friends from afar. Many turn to peppermint oil in these situations, as it is commonly known to repel birds — and, we are happy to confirm that, with a bit of dedication and upkeep, this method does work, and is a great do-it-yourself hack to keep birds flying far away from your home. 

There are many reasons why you may want to deter birds away from your property, but their choice of food is a big one. Many small birds, like songbirds, enjoy munching on fruits, berries, seeds, and insects. So, while they might help control the pest population in your garden, they could do more harm than good by destroying plants and snatching newly planted seeds. While they don't have noses and the advanced sense of smell that humans and other animals do, birds are capable of picking up scents. They do not like the smell of peppermint, making the strong scent from highly concentrated peppermint oil an effective way to keep them away.

How it works

Using peppermint oil as a bird deterrent does work, but this do-it-yourself hack is rather demanding. If you have the time and dedication and execute it properly, peppermint oil bird repellent is highly effective. There are a few ways to initiate this hack including a homemade spray and the use of cotton balls. To make the spray, add 14 drops of peppermint oil, 14 drops of lemon oil, half a cup of white vinegar, and half a cup of water to a bowl. Stir the ingredients, add the mixture to an empty spray bottle, and spray the area daily.

You can also opt for the cotton ball method, which requires a lot less ingredients. Put a half cup of peppermint oil in a small bowl, and then put a handful of cotton balls in the oil. Once they have absorbed the liquid completely, simply put the bowl of cotton balls in the area you'd like to keep bird-free. However, think about which form is best for you, as peppermint oil sprayed directly on a plant's leaves is going to be much more effective than a bowl of peppermint oil-soaked cotton balls placed next to the plant.

Warnings and alternatives

While peppermint oil can be effective, it doesn't come without a few faults — both methods mentioned above require high concentrations of peppermint oil, in addition, you will need to check up on your deterrent daily and reapply the oil on an as-needed basis. Along with the large amount of maintenance it requires, peppermint oil can also cause rashes and irritation if it comes in contact with the skin. It's best to wear gloves when executing any hacks involving essential oils.

This hack works when executed properly, but it isn't the only method to keep birds away. Another good option in a pinch is Kool-Aid — specifically grape-flavored. It contains an ingredient called methyl anthranilate, which mimics the smell and taste of grapes and, more importantly, repels birds. Methyl anthranilate is highly irritative to birds' throats and nostrils, making it a readily available alternative to peppermint oil.