GLEN ROCK, NJ — Is your perfectly carved pumpkin being ravaged by local wildlife?

If you don’t remember this being a problem in the past, there’s a lot of speculation as to why squirrels are foraging for food more than usual. Some suspect fewer acorns have left squirrels hungry, while another theory regards reduced traffic in restaurants and parks as a result of the COVID-19 crisis has meant fewer food scraps for squirrels to nosh on.

Mike Snaric, director of operations at New Bridge Farm in New Milford, said he’s definitely noticed more squirrels running around the area this year.

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“Perhaps due to fewer people around due to COVID,” Snaric said. “Less cars and less ‘accidents’ means more baby squirrels.”

Snaric said their recipe to deter critters is to combine one gallon of water, one teaspoon of dish soap and one small bottle of hot sauce with a drop or two of cooking oil. Then, fill a spray bottle with the mixture and coat your pumpkins with it.

“The hot pepper will repel squirrels when they try to bite into your pumpkins,” he said.

At D’Ercole Farms and Garden Center in Northvale, Joe D’Ercole said, “Spraying your pumpkins with hairspray has been known to work.”

But, he added, “This year, squirrels have been particularly determined, though.”

When asked why he thinks squirrels are a bit more mischievous than usual, D’Ercole said that it “could be sign of a bad winter" to come.

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