Repellents – What Types of Repellents are Available?

In our first blog post, we discussed the difference between Repellents and Deterrents.

Deer Alert to Danger

Deer sense of smell is up to 4,000 times more keen than humans

In that post, we defined Repellents as a substance that repels animals by negatively impacting their sense of taste or sense of smell. Deterrents were defined as devices that repel animals by impacting their sense of sight, hearing and/or touch.

Using the above definitions,’s Shake-Away would be generally classified as a repellent. That being said, what other types of repellents are available and how can they be sub-classified?

The intended “cause of action” is one way by which repellents can be classified.

Cause of action refers to the mechanism by which a  repellent works to repel the animal such as:

  • Odor based Repellents
  • Taste based Repellents
  • Instinctual Fear based Repellents

In some instances,a repellent product will utilize more than one cause of action. For example, a spray on repellent may have ingredients that produce both a foul odor AND also include an ingredient that makes the plant less attractive from the sense of taste.

What are the ingredients used by the above sub-categories of repellents in their efforts to repel animals?

Odor Based Repellents
Odor based repellents use a number of ingredients that introduce an unattractive odor to a plant that is otherwise attractive to animals. Those ingredients include:

  • Putrescent Egg Solids (rotten eggs)
  • Dried Blood
  • Garlic
  • Menthol
  • Mint
  • Citrus Oil
  • Others

Those ingredients present an unpleasant odor to some animals.

Most odor-based repellents are applied directly to the plant. Spray on applicators may be necessary to apply the repellent.

Other odor repellents that are not applied directly to the plants are considered “area repellents”. Other odor repellents that are not applied directly to the plants are considered “area repellents”   Area repellents are applied to the general location in which the threatened plants grow. In some cases, area repellents are granulated.

Rabbit in Yard

Rabbits have a very keen sense of smell to go along with their excellent hearing.

Taste Based Repellents
Repellents that use taste as a deterrent use a variety of ingredients. Those ingredients include (but are not limited to):

  • Pepper
  • Capsaicin
  • Oil of Mustard
  • Clove and Cinnamon Oil
  • Paprika

Taste based repellents are typically applied using a spray on applicator to apply the product directly on the plant. Some plants are sensitive to these types of products. Plants that are sensitive to those products may rule out using repellents of this kind or necessitate that their application be suspended during different stages of the growing season.

Deer Running in Fear

Deer respond well to Fear Based repellents

Fear Based Repellents
Fear based products are intended to repel unwanted animals using the animal’s natural inborn instinctive reaction to predators. The most effective of these are repellents use the ingredient:

  • Predator Urine
  • Other Sulfur based odor products.

Typically fear based repellents are area-based repellents. These repellents are applied by hanging or scattering them at spacing intervals around the plants you are trying to protect.

In liquid form, predator urine can be presented using “wick” based dispensers. Hanging these dispensers on stakes or on bushes and trees is the common method of application. sells a granular based, predator urine product by Shake-Away. Simply shake the product around the areas you wish to protect from unwanted animals. Using Shake-Away to “mark” the area, mimicking a predator, accentuates its effectiveness.


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