How to Get Rid of Squirrels

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Ten Tips to Get Rid of Squirrels:

  1. Inspect your house, and find any squirrel entry holes with chew marks
  2. Go into the attic and look for squirrel feces, trails, and nesting debris
  3. Install a one-way exclusion door or repeater trap on the main squirrel hole
  4. After all the squirrels are excluded or trapped, seal the entry hole with steel
  5. Clean the attic afterward, at your discretion - may not be necessary
  6. Prevent future squirrels by squirrel-proofing all roof vents, soffit vents, and eave gaps
  7. You can trim trees, but they are amazing climbers, and will get on your roof anyway
  8. Get squirrel-proof birdfeeders if that's what's attracting them
  9. Install chicken wire or other fencing around plants or gardens they chew on
  10. Remember, there are no effective repellents, though hot sauce discourages chewing

Homeowners that have experienced a squirrel infestation know that these pests are particularly difficult to control because of their persistence and their speedy, acrobatic movements. Squirrels can cause considerable damage to gardens and yards, roof and attics. Please read my How to get squirrels out of the attic guide if that's where you need to get rid of the squirrels. It's very different than just trapping them outside. They are excellent chewers and are notorious for chewing their way into buildings in a dogged manner, as they love being inside buildings. Once they gain entrance, they go on to create a mess with their constant gnawing on structures and fittings.

Squirrels constitute a huge nuisance for many homeowners, they can be heard chattering or squealing in the attic, or scurrying around and upturning things. They are not so hard to spot as they are active during the daytime, and some of their antics are:

  • They take down birdfeeders and steal birdseed
  • They damage wood siding, soffets, roof boards, and exhaust fans
  • They eat some garden plants and destroy others by scurrying around
  • They dig up bulbs and vegetables in the garden
  • Indoors, they make a mess in attics with their urine and droppings
  • They chew on electric cables and insulation, creating a fire hazard
  • They leave dirty tracks on your walls and surfaces
  • They chew on wooden furniture

The best way to manage a squirrel infestation and get rid of them is by adopting an integrated approach to control and being more persistent than the animal!

If you want to get rid of squirrels in the attic, please read my how to get rid of squirrels in the attic guide. It is often a very difficult process, because there is a mother with baby squirrels. You might want to learn about squirrels in attic removal cost because of the variability of the job. Also, you'll want to properly identify that you actually have squirrels, and not rats, mice, flying squirrels, raccoons, etc. You can look for signs, and squirrel poop to be sure you have the correct animal.

Remove Attractants
The major attractant for any wild animal on your property is available food. Once they discover a steady supply of food anywhere, they will return again and again, and may eventually take up residence near the food. Although a seeming impossible task, squirrels can be dissuaded by making your garden less friendly and open to them.

  • Install squirrel baffles on your bird feeders to stop squirrels from stealing bird seed.
  • Ensure that your yard is always clean so as not to invite them in.
  • Regularly rake up your litter – fallen berries, fruits, bird seed.
  • Pack up all left over foods, pet foods, and drinks
  • Secure your garbage cans tightly and don’t keep trash
  • Consider replacing your bird seed with squirrel non-favorites like safflower or nyger.

Practice Exclusion
Basically, you need to ensure that there is no opening through which squirrels can enter your house. Whether you’re preventing it from happening or you have just overcome a squirrel infestation, these activities will seal up your house against new entry. This is not so easy on a field or garden, squirrels almost always get in those places.

  • Do a thorough inspection of your property and identify any opening that leads into the attic and walls; check out the vents, wood and roof joints, and the likes. Seal up all identified gaps with hardware cloth and replace rotten wood as squirrels can easily chew through them
  • Trim the limbs of all trees and branches within six to eight feet of your house, this is within jumping distance for a squirrel.
  • Prevent squirrels from climbing a nearby tree by fastening a 2-feet metal sheet around its trunk about 7 feet above the ground. Fasten with springs to allow the metal to expand as the tree grows.
  • Spray a good repellent over sealed openings and cover as much space as possible
  • Purchase a good steel chimney cap, and install it snugly to cover the top of your chimney.

Choose a Control Method
This would depend on the site and extent of damage that may have been done by your squirrel. Identify its travel paths too and note its activities and habits. Armed with this information, you will be able to select the best approach to managing the infestation.

This is hard, because squirrels are very adaptable, and can climb almost anything, and jump almost anywhere. But like I said, you can trim trees, but they are amazing climbers, and will get on your roof anyway. Get squirrel-proof birdfeeders if that's what's attracting them. Keep pet food indoors. Install chicken wire or other fencing around plants or gardens they chew on. Read more tips and techniques about keep squirrels away and professional removal.

Live trapping:
This is arguably the most effective method to remove squirrels from your property. It involves setting a trap cage, baited with inviting food along the squirrel’s path, or around its damage areas. Once the squirrel bites the bait, the door springs shut on it. Bait is not terribly important, but you can read about squirrel bait here. Type of trap and location of trap are far more important. Once you've trapped it, you can relocate and release it several miles away from your neighborhood. Read more about advanced squirrel trapping and trapping legalities with tips.

Squirrel repellents:
You might think you can purchase liquid and granular squirrel repellents from stores to deter the animal and hopefully chase it away for good? There is no proven repellent formula however, and they are ineffective most of the time, but there is no harm in using them as a second layer control medium. Spray liquid repellents on surfaces, bird feeders, roofing, trash cans, flowers, and even trees, to discourage squirrels from chewing or digging. Sprinkle granular repellents on flowerbeds, crawl spaces, tree bases, attics, around gardens and house perimeter. Electronic repellents are also commonly used. Unfortunately, they don't work at all. For a more comprehensive analysis of the subject, read my squirrel repellent analysis.

Killing of squirrels and indeed other wildlife is both inhumane and unnecessary because there are other ways for homeowners to rid themselves of these pests. Killing should be treated as a last resort and it should be carried out in a humane manner. Click here to read more about how to kill squirrels or read the guide Squirrel Removal: Are the Pros Really Best?

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