A.Bill Feist, formerly a wood-finishes researcher with the Forest Products Laboratory in Madison, Wis., and co-author of Finishes for Exterior Wood, responds: There are no cures for squirrel problems that are totally effective in all situations, so you may have to do some experimenting. One possible solution is to use a “taste repellent” containing thiram, a fungicide registered with the EPA for general use. Repellents containing thiram at a concentration of at least 1-to-25 have been reported to be effective on squirrels. Another repellent you could try is Ro-pel (508/888-0606, squirrel-x.com), which can be found online as well as at some garden stores. Ro-pel gives whatever it is sprayed on a very bitter taste, which may help curb the squirrels’ appetite.

One of the capsaicin-based repellents used in birdseed also might be effective. Capsaicin — the compound found in chili peppers that puts the “hot” in hot sauce — has long been registered with the EPA as an animal repellent that won’t cause unreasonable adverse effects in people or on the environment. Miller Hot Sauce Animal Repellent (800/233-...

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