5 Scents That Beavers Hate And How To Use Them
If you live or vacation near a lake, river, stream, pond, or any other body of water, you’ve probably spotted a beaver or two! Weighing up to 80 pounds, it’s not hard to imagine some of the damage they could be capable of and why you might want to keep them at bay. Luckily, you can do this by using scents!
Beavers have an extremely strong sense of smell, which they use to find shelter, mates, and food sources. Scents like garlic, pepper, peppermint, hot sauce, and predator scents can mask smells that beavers otherwise find attractive, causing them to stay away.
Before we dig a little deeper into how to best utilize these scents, we’ll take a closer look at these animals and answer a few key questions for you. So, let’s get to it!
Why Do You Need To Repel Beavers?
To some extent, beavers could be considered the engineers of rodents! These creatures are able to create their dens out of sticks, rocks, and mud, and once their final product has been completed, they have a spot that is used as not only their shelter but their food storage too.
As the beavers build, they create ponds that they can use, but that fish and waterfowl can use as well, which also attracts insects!
However, it actually is quite tough to deter beavers, since they’re territorial and extremely smart! So if you’re having a beaver problem we also recommend heading over to our in-depth article about why it is hard to deter beavers, and what you can do about it, as well!
Keep on reading to find out why you need to repel them!
Beavers May Cause Trees To Fall
This damage is probably a given considering all of the attention beaver’s teeth get.
When fallen branches aren’t readily available for beavers to use in the construction of their dams or dens, they’ll look to nearby trees to help them do the job.
While beavers will usually take their teeth to smaller trees, there have been rare cases where beavers have taken down trees up to three feet in diameter over a period of time.
If the beavers aren’t able to get the tree down in its entirety, they may move on to another target, leaving the harmed tree to often die off due to the damage they caused to the trunk and tree bark.
By adding fencing, sprays, and even a specific beaver painting mixture, you can keep beavers off your trees. Head on over to our article to find out how to keep beavers off your trees if you’d like more specific options other than scents.
Beavers Can Cause Flooding
According to a study by the University of Nebraska, dam-building activity may lead to roads, pastures, and crops being flooded. In places where flooding may be prolonged, trees and other vegetation in the area may not survive.
Other than plant life, public infrastructures may not be able to withstand prolonged flooding either.
Bridges and roads specifically aren’t usually built to withstand the frequent and constant force of flooding waters, and the structures will eventually weaken and, possibly, collapse.
Beavers Feed On Your Vegetation
Other than tree bark and leaves – birch is one of their favorites – beavers will make their way into farm fields and home gardens if they aren’t an exorbitant distance away from their dens.
When their regular tree diet isn’t available, beavers will come on land to eat different vegetables and fruits. Leafy greens and vegetables with large shoots are some of their favorites, but beavers will also eat apples.
Whether beavers decide to eat your vegetation on site or bring it back to their den, the additional vegetation damage these creatures are capable of doing can certainly add up.
Deter Beavers With These 5 Scents
Now, let’s get back to it!
Beavers have a highly developed sense of smell, so it’s important when using scents as a deterrent that users are utilizing the most appropriate scents in order to be most effective in their goal of deterring these rodents.
Interfering with beavers’ sense of smell may deter them from being able to locate a potential food source and as a result, beavers will move to another location to meet their needs.
So, instead of just throwing any strong scent out in our yard to deter these creatures, let’s take a closer look at the seven different scents we mentioned earlier and how they can be utilized to keep beavers off our property.
However, we always recommend checking in with a professional before repelling any pest. Beavers are extremely intelligent, and you should contact a professional before handling the situation on your own.
Keep in mind that using scents as a repellent can vary on SO many factors, so it’s up to you to make it work with some trial and error. Without further-ado, lets get to it!
Garlic Deters Beavers
I’m not a vampire, so if you ask me, the more garlic involved, the more delicious! When it comes to beavers, however, they would take the opposite stance.
Because beavers do have such a great sense of smell, powerful herbs like garlic are effective in keeping these rodents at bay.
There are a few different ways that you can use garlic to be most effective in keeping beavers off your property:
- Add garlic plants to your garden.
- Sprinkle chopped garlic or ground garlic around your perimeter.
- Make a garlic spray to spray on beaver routes.
Depending on where you’ve spotted beavers and where they’re causing damage may determine which of these options will be most effective.
Repelling Beavers From Your Garden With Garlic
If you notice beavers traveling to and from your garden, try adding garlic plants to your garden if the season will allow for them to successfully grow.
While the garlic bulb itself will remain underground, the plant itself is still aromatic and might be just enough to keep beavers away.
Using Garlic In Other areas where beavers are visiting
If you notice a smaller, targeted area where beaver activity has increased, sprinkling chopped or ground garlic along the perimeter of the location is likely to be most effective.
Depending on the size of the area, however, this may not be the most cost-effective option, and, depending on the proximity to your home, sprinkling any type of food, spice, or herb poses the potential to attract additional unwanted pests to the area.
Using A garlic spray to deter Pesky beavers
A simple garlic spray may be your best option for treating beaver activity. You can buy a store-bought spray like Garlic Barrier which is essentially a garlic concentrate OR you can also make a homemade beaver repellent spray in a few simple steps:
- Bring a quart of water to a boil.
- Add a chopped garlic bulb (about 5 cloves) to the water.
- Add chopped hot peppers (2) to the water.
- Simmer the ingredients for 5 minutes.
- Turn the heat off and allow the mixture to cool.
- Strain the garlic and peppers, leaving the liquid to be placed in a spray bottle of your choosing.
Once your spray is ready, either store-bought or homemade, focus on spraying the areas where you’ve seen the highest level of beaver activity – including directly on any trees.
Keeping these areas on a routine spray schedule will help deter beavers more quickly as well.
Hot Peppers Keep Beavers Away
We figured it best to talk about this option next since hot peppers already got a shout-out in our garlic spray mixture, so doubling up on these two ingredients is a double whammy when it comes to beaver deterrents!
Similar to treating beaver activity with garlic, hot peppers can be used to help deter beavers from your yard or garden in a similar manner. Planting hot pepper plants or adding them to a spray will help keep beavers at a distance. Make sure to crush the planted hot pepper to release the capsaicin (what makes pepper spicy) into the area.
Check out your local farmstand to see if they have any hot pepper plants that you can easily transplant to your garden. If you’re in a pinch, you can always look into a store-bought spray like Bonide Hot Pepper Wax Animal Repellent while you grow your plants or begin planning an alternative course of action!
Beavers Hate Peppermint
Now we’re moving over to the sweeter side of these scents!
Unlike the savory style scents that we mentioned, peppermint is most effective as oil when used to deter beavers.
With any type of spray, you can always create your own by using a combination of water and the scent in question.
In this case, since it’s best to use an oil concentrate, we recommend a product like Kate Natural’s Rodent Repellent Spray with Peppermint Oil which is ready-made and easy to use. Basically it’s a formula of peppermint oil, water and soap.
Soak Rags With peppermint oil to deter beavers
You can also soak clean rags with peppermint oil and attach them to fences or stake posts around your perimeter or near the water bank on your property to deter beaver activity.
While the sprays that we’ve recommended are all-natural, be mindful of their use near water and make sure to follow the product specific usage instructions.
Hot Sauce Keeps beavers away
Who doesn’t like a little bit of hot sauce with their meals to give them that extra kick of flavor? Answer: Beavers.
Using hot sauce as a beaver repellent probably doesn’t come as too big of a surprise given that we’ve already talked about hot peppers.
If you don’t have any hot peppers handy but you’ve got a few hot sauce packets from your last fast food run, you can use the hot sauce packets as a substitute in your pepper spray to be used on vegetation.
This is a bit similar to how the hot pepper method works. Many commercial hot sauces contain some mixture of hot peppers which contain that capsaicin that we talked about. Many products also contain vinegar which is pungent in its own right!
Paint Hot Sauce On Your Trees
Another unique application for hot sauce is to use it as a “paint” on your trees to ward off beavers.
In a large mixing bowl or bucket, mix the hot sauce with water until you get a paint-like consistency. Then, grab your paintbrush, head over to your tree(s), and start painting the trunks that you’ve noticed beaver activity on – or on the trees that you want to protect!
The hot sauce scent will help deter any beavers in the area, and the red markings on the tree also serve as a great visual to determine whether or not there has been any new damage to the treated areas.
Predator scents Can Keep Beavers Away
Beavers have several predators that are likely to be found in their everyday environment. From more commonly found predators like foxes and coyotes to larger predators like wolves, bobcats, and bears, beavers can also fall pretty to owls and otters.
Believe it or not, you can buy predator scents online! Sure, this may be an odd thing to get excited about, but if beavers sense that a predator is around, they’re going to stay hidden and, quite possibly, pick a new location entirely.
If this is your first attempt at utilizing predator scents to get rid of a pest, we recommend a product like this Red Fox Territorial Scent. While you can also use bobcat, coyote, or owl scents – keep in mind that since animals in wildlife communicate by scent it may actually attract the animal whose scent your using.
Which, honestly, COULD be what you’re aiming for anyways – but foxes are a bit lower on the food chain and make it your best bet. You can also review our guide on the best coyote scents here if you’d like to go that route.
How To Repel Beavers Long-Term With Scents
So, scents by their own can be a bit tricky. Of course a lot of their effectiveness will vary on YOU. Application strength, weather, and the actual animals sensitivity to how strong the scent is all can impact if your repelling measures work.
To get these scents to work long-term and make sure that the beavers don’t get used to them, theres a few different things we can do.
Switch Up What Scents You’re Using To Repel Beavers
Animals (and humans) go through a phenomenon called habituation, where they (and we) get used to a certain stimuli and it doesn’t effect us anymore. Think of if you lived near a busy train track and the noise was SUPER bothersome for the first few weeks.
Eventually, you’d get used to it! It’s the same methodology with using repelling measures against animals.
In our case with beavers, you can simply rotate different scents that we listed above in order to keep the beavers on their toes and away from your property.
Now, when you switch up these scents, there’s another good measure to practice.
Habitat modification To Deter Beavers
This option could contain a couple of different methods which include removing the dam itself or removing the beaver’s food source.
In some states, removing a beaver dam requires authorization and permits from the local authorities, and removing trees from your waterfront or property may be both timely and costly.
Getting rid of the main stimulus that beavers are going after will be a great bet to keeping them away.
Electronic Fencing For Beavers
Again, check with your local town/county on permits, etc., for electric fencing. If you have a specific area or even some small trees – you may be able to easily keep them away with electric fencing.
You can then contact a professional to install it or do it yourself if you have the experience!
Call In A Professional For Beaver Control
When in doubt, reach out to your local forest preserve and pest professional experts. A pest control company will usually be limited to just treating your house, so if you’d like an option for wildlife control, take a look at our nationwide wildlife control partner network.
Whether it’s looking for recommendations on how to best implement these options, or exploring a completely different avenue, your local professionals are always well equipped to assist in your pest handling needs. You can even do a quick online search for beaver control in your area!
Use A Motion-Activated Water Sprinkler
If you have a specific tree you’re trying to repel – you can use a motion activated water sprinkler to repel beavers when they get close to the tree!
Putting It All Together
We know that beavers have the potential to cause some major damage to your property. Whether it’s fallen trees, flooding, or eating your crops, these creatures can have costly impacts when they decide to put their teeth to work.
When you’re looking for a quick and inexpensive way to keep beavers off your property, keep in mind that beavers can be repelled by putting the following scents to work:
- Hot peppers
- Hot sauce
- Predator Scents
In order to achieve maximum success though, don’t be afraid to use these scents along with some of our other recommended fixes like using motion activated water sprinklers, habitation modification, or fencing. When in doubt, don’t hesitate to reach out to your local pest professional for additional assistance.
Butler, D. R., & Malanson, G. P. (2005). The geomorphic influences of beaver dams and failures of beaver dams. Geomorphology, 71(1-2), 48-60.
Howard, R. J., & Larson, J. S. (1985). A stream habitat classification system for beaver. The Journal of wildlife management, 19-25.
Miller, J. E. (1983). Control of beaver damage.
Naiman, R. J., Johnston, C. A., & Kelley, J. C. (1988). Alteration of North American streams by beaver. BioScience, 38(11), 753-762.
Siemer, W. F., Jonker, S. A., Decker, D. J., & Organ, J. F. (2013). Toward an understanding of beaver management as human and beaver densities increase. Human-Wildlife Interactions, 7(1), 114-131.
Wagner, K. K., Schmidt, R. H., & Conover, M. R. (1997). Compensation programs for wildlife damage in North America. Wildlife Society Bulletin, 312-319.
Zack is a Nature & Wildlife specialist based in Upstate, NY, and is the founder of his Tree Journey and Pest Pointers brands. He has a vast experience with nature while living and growing up on 50+ acres of fields, woodlands, and a freshwater bass pond. Zack has encountered many pest situations over the years and has spent his time maintaining and planting over 35 species of trees since his youth with his family on their property.
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