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5 Ways to Get Rid of Squirrels: How-to Eviction Guide

5 Ways to Get Rid of Squirrels: How-to Eviction Guide

For many homeowners, it’s not uncommon to occasionally see squirrels in the yard. While these little critters are adorable visitors, they are horrible tenants and can create quite a mess if they move into your home or property. This is why it’s important that you learn how to get rid of squirrels as soon as possible. Common tactics include getting rid of food sources, using chemicals and odors, and trapping and relocating.

In this article, we’ll look at these ways to get rid of squirrels in more detail, but first, here’s why they’re such a huge problem.

Why Do You Want to Get Rid of Squirrels?

Although they’re definitely cute and adorable, squirrels can do a lot of damage to any area that they occupy. They’re also prone to carrying ticks and diseases and can be a handful to deal with. If you have squirrels on your property, you’ll need to be careful of:

Property Damage

Squirrels tend to nest above ground in attics and chimneys to get away from predators. They can easily chew through insulation, drywall, and vapor barriers, causing permanent damage. They can also chew through plumbing and will also bring in leaves; this is a major safety hazard, as these materials can catch on fire really easily.

Electrical Damage

As mentioned above, squirrels can chew through just about anything, and electrical wires are no exception. The biggest concern with electrical damage is that the exposed wires can start a fire.

Diseases and Parasites

It’s not unusual to find ticks and fleas on squirrels. These parasites can jump from the squirrels to other human and animal hosts, like dogs and cats. Tick bites can result in Lyme disease in people and animals. Common symptoms include lethargy, fever, and headaches. Another disease to be wary of is Rabies, although this is extremely uncommon in squirrels.

Breeding

Squirrels are prolific breeders. They can produce as many as 2 litters every year, with about 5 to 6 babies per litter. Although these little critters may look really cute and adorable, they can quickly become a nuisance to deal with.

5 Ways to Get Rid of Squirrels

When you’re trying to get rid of squirrels, you’ll want to act quickly and to be persistent. Once squirrels have decided to call your place home, it can be difficult to convince them to leave. It’s not unusual for squirrels to move from one area of the home to another. The following five solutions can help you get the job done.

1. Get Rid of Food Sources

a red squirrel eating a bunch of seeds and nuts

Like with every other animal, the easiest way to convince squirrels to move out is to get rid of their food sources. The harder it is for them to find food, the easier it will be to convince them to leave. The problem here is that squirrels will eat just about anything, from vegetables to nuts to birdseed to insects.

Here are some suggestions that might just do the trick:

Sprinkle Cayenne Pepper Around Your Plants

Some gardeners swear by this trick. If your squirrels get a taste of this spicy seasoning, it’ll deter them from trying to eat any produce in your yard ever again. This, in turn, will cause them to find another place to call home.

Use Netting or Fencing to Protect Your Plants

Do you have some tomatoes in your garden? Perhaps, you have a beautiful blueberry bush that produces sweet berries every year? Use netting or fencing to protect your plants and prevent squirrels from getting to the fruits and vegetables that you’ve planted.

Seal Trash Cans

Properly seal and lock trash cans whenever possible. Restrict access to any food that you might toss out in the compost. This will not only help you get rid of squirrels but also other pests, like raccoons.

Get Rid of the Bird Feeder

For the time being, get rid of the bird feeders, as they’re basically a free-for-all buffet that squirrels absolutely adore. If your home doesn’t feel like a home without a bird feeder, install a squirrel baffle and see whether that does the trick.

Last but not least, and this might be obvious, but you should definitely stop feeding them, and make sure that your family isn’t feeding them, either! If you’re feeding squirrels, you’re basically giving them an open invitation to come onto your property, and you’ll never be able to get rid of them.

2. Use Chemicals and Odors

Repulsive odors and unappealing chemicals can also help you chase squirrels away from your home. You can do this with a wide range of different chemicals and odors. Let’s take a look at some popular examples below.

Plant Daffodils, Snowdrops, Allium, and Hyacinths

Funnily enough, squirrels appear to hate these plants because of the chemicals that they contain. Some of these flowers are even mildly toxic to them. By planting a lot of these beautiful flowers around your home, you’ll be able to ward off some of the little critters.

Plant More Mint

If you love cooking and adore fresh herbs, you can’t go wrong with planting some mint in your yard. Squirrels tend to shy away from peppermint, and, fortunately, mint is very easy to grow. You can also soak cotton balls in peppermint oil and hang them around your yard as well.

Spray Some Coyote Urine in Your Yard

Coyotes naturally prey on squirrels, so they’re going to be wary if they smell any coyote urine in your yard. You can purchase a coyote urine spray and apply just a little bit on all corners of your yard. This scent will disappear after heavy rain, so you might have to reapply it regularly depending on the climate of where you live. Try to avoid your plants.

There are also animal repellents that target squirrels. Some of these repellents are made from natural ingredients and are even beneficial to your plants.

3. Trap and Relocate

squirrel stuck in a trap

Another option, although not as popular, is to use live-catch traps. It’s important to note that the traps will take some time to work, as they need to become a part of the environment. Usually, you can expect an “introductory phase” of several days before any squirrels feel comfortable exploring the trap.

Check any traps that you set, often, at least twice a day, to ensure that the squirrels caught in them don’t suffer or starve. If the traps are able to successfully catch a squirrel, drive the squirrel to a location at least 3 miles away before releasing it.

If you’re interested in the live-catch option, talk to wildlife rehabilitators first. Some studies have found that these traps are not the most humane and that the squirrels that are relocated tend to die soon after since they’re not familiar with the environment.

4. Scare Them Away

You can also try scaring the squirrels away. Usually, this means one of two things: letting your dog out in the yard or turning on the sprinklers.

Let the Dog Loose

Letting your dog out in the yard can come with its own set of problems. For example, your furry friend may be a little over-enthusiastic and end up damaging some of your plants in the process. However, they can usually do a great job at chasing squirrels away from your home. If your dogs are consistently spending time outside, you’ll usually notice that most of the squirrels will move somewhere else.

Sprinkler Systems

Another way to get rid of squirrels is to install motion-activated sprinkler systems. Although a sprinkler system may not necessarily chase the squirrels away immediately, it can annoy them to the point where they move somewhere else.

5. Block Entrances

The reason why most homeowners have a difficult time getting rid of squirrels is that they have nested in the attics or the chimneys. Once they’ve built a nest, getting rid of them can be rather difficult.

Prevent squirrels from making a nest in your home by blocking all entrances and passageways. You can do this by:

  • Banding tree trunks with metal or plastic collars. These collars can help prevent squirrels from successfully climbing up the trees and using them as a ladder to get to your attic or chimney.
  • Relocate or get rid of trees near your home. On that same note, squirrels will use trees around your home as ladders. They can jump easily from branch to branch before they reach your roof. Try to relocate trees that are really close to your home.
  • Patch up holes as soon as possible. Regular wear and tear can result in weak wooden boards and shingles. Patch up holes immediately, even if they look really small and minor. Squirrels can sniff these vulnerabilities out and wiggle their way into your home.

By blocking the entrances and passageways, you’re making it as difficult as possible for squirrels to move into your home. They’ll likely look for easier options.

If you notice squirrels constantly around your home, you might want to grab a ladder and check for holes or any openings near the top of your home. If squirrels have created an opening to your home, you’ll notice bite marks on the wooden beams outside.

Evict Squirrels From Your Home Immediately

Although you might want to give in to those cute little faces, try to get rid of squirrels as soon as you see them. You don’t want to give them enough time to nest somewhere in your home, as it could cause you a lot of problems down the road. Squirrels can be especially problematic if you have pets or young children who like to spend time in the yard as well, and we find they’re much cuter from afar!