Let’s face it: squirrels are simply adorable, especially their cute fluffy tails. Yet, looks can be deceiving. Before you know it, these charming critters will be all over your vegetable garden and wreak havoc around your house.
Once the honeymoon phase is finally over, you’ll thank us for making this guide on how to get rid of squirrels. Here, we’ll discuss ten practical (and humane) ways of showing squirrels they’re not welcome.
This is a difficult nut to crack, so bear with us!
The Problem With Squirrels
Although not as harmful as their rodent cousins (namely, rats and mice), it’s best to keep squirrels away from your backyard; despite their cute noses, they’re still considered pests.
For instance, these fluffy-tailed critters might damage your wooden walls and attic while searching for a place to nest. They can also scavenge your house for nesting materials — wood, wires, and even thin plastic.
Outside, these cute little critters fill their chubby cheeks with flower bulbs, veggies, and fruits in your garden. Hence, it’s better to deter them early before you have a whole colony on your hands.
How to Keep Squirrels Out of Your Garden
Shallow holes in the ground, tiny bites on plants, and emptied bird feeders are the most common red flags. If you notice any of these, squirrels are more than likely making themselves at home.
Here are some things you can do to make them change their minds and finally get rid of squirrels in your yard for good:
1. Plant Greens That Squirrels Hate
Believe it or not, squirrels don’t like bright plants and flowers that have a strong scent.
Therefore, plant some mint, garlic, onion, mustard, daffodil, or geranium plants in your garden to keep squirrels at bay. Not only will you take care of your squirrel infestation, but you’ll also have some tasty organic veggies and supplies for your pantry and tea kettle.
However, note that squirrels also love to feast on bulbs of certain plants, such as crocus and tulips, so be sure to keep them off the “menu.”
2. Deter Squirrels With Predator Urine
For example, squirrels have an innate fear of foxes since the latter spends their entire life hunting them down. Consequently, the scent of these predators scares them off.
In case you don’t happen to have a pet fox running around the house, simply get some fox urine from your local hunting supply store. Spray it around key areas of your yard (garden, tool shack, etc.), and squirrels won’t be bothering your plants anytime soon.
3. Mulch Around Your Greens
To get rid of ground squirrels, forget about fences and just mulch your greens. Not only will this prevent them from settling in the ground, but the mulch will also help you get rid of weeds and allow your plants to thrive. Spread it at least 12 inches around your plants and enjoy the gains.
Note that you should only use inorganic mulch, such as gravel, pebbles, chicken nets, and plastic sheets, that are hard for squirrels to dig through.
4. Sprinkle Spice to Repel Squirrels
Squirrels abhor the smell and taste of peppers. Use this to your advantage and sprinkle some cayenne pepper powder around tree trunks, as well as your plants.
You can also mix it with powdered garlic to increase the potency of the repellent. This will have the added effect of deterring other critters from joining the feast, as well.
To get rid of squirrels in trees, use the same mixture of pepper and garlic powder and add petroleum jelly to make it sticky. Cover the lower trunks of trees with the said mixture, and squirrels will have no other choice but to pack their bags and leave.
5. Employ Your Pets
Squirrels are naturally wary of bigger house pets like dogs and cats. Hence, to get rid of squirrels in your garden, simply let your dog or cat out more often. And make sure you keep these outings irregular to prevent squirrels from catching the drift and coming back when no pets are around to protect your prized pumpkin patch.
6. Squirrel-Proof Food and Water Sources
Squirrels love feasting on things like garbage, compost, pet food, birdseed, vegetables, fruits, etc. So dispose of these food sources if you wish to get rid of squirrels naturally.
Start by securing the lids of your trash cans and compost bins. Next, use a squirrel baffle for your bird feeder, or just add some safflower seeds into the seed mix — squirrels find them too bitter to eat.
Protect your veggies and fruits with a chicken wire mesh no bigger than one inch. Also, remove any potential squirrel food sources that might be scattered on the ground, like nuts, fruits, and acorns.
You can even place a decoy squirrel feeder away from your property.
To get rid of squirrels around the yard for good, remember to remove all water sources, as well. Like any living creature, squirrels need water and are attracted to places like water dispensers for birds, water fountains, bird baths, leaking outdoor faucets, etc. So empty them if possible.
7. Install a Motion-Sensor Sprinkler
A motion-activated sprinkler is an effective way of scaring critters off your property. Not only that, but it also makes for funny YouTube content if you get to film it on camera.
In addition to sprinklers, squirrels are also afraid of high-pitched sounds that are undetectable to humans. So if all else fails, getting an ultrasonic repellent might do the trick.
How to Get Rid of Squirrels in the Attic and Roof
If you hear chewing, scurrying, or scratching sounds during the day and you find curved brown droppings, footprints, chewed-up wires, and scratch marks on your walls, chances are you have a squirrel infestation on your hands.
Read the following section and find out how to get rid of squirrels indoors.
1. Close Any Openings Leading to Your Attic
Inspect your attic for any cracks, holes, or damaged vent covers through which squirrels can sneak inside. In case you find them, seal them off. And remember to leave one open so as not to trap the animals still inside.
Cut nearby tree branches for good measure and prevent squirrels from getting onto your roof and attic in the first place.
2. Use a Squirrel Trap
Probably the best method if you need to get rid of squirrels in the attic and walls. However, be sure to check any state wildlife laws that might prevent you from doing this.
In case you’re allowed to do so, place peanut-butter-loaded traps near areas of squirrel activity. Put a brick or something heavy on top of the cage to fix it in place and leave the room. After that, simply check the trap once or twice per day.
If you’re lucky, you’ll catch that fluffy-tailed sucker in no time. When this happens, be sure to cover the cage with a cloth to keep the squirrel calm and relaxed; you don’t want to have an angry squirrel on your back.
After that, release them at least five miles away from your property.
Do this outside their nesting season (February–April and August–September) to avoid trapping their babies inside your house.
3. Hire a Professional Exterminator
If you’re not feeling confident enough to get rid of squirrels in roof boards and wooden walls on your own, consider hiring a professional. Pest control companies have tried and tested methods of dealing with squirrels.
Though note that depending on the size of the infestation, you might be charged more.
Each one of these humane methods is known to work. You can try some of them or even combine a few for a more potent deterrent. And in case you don’t want to get your hands dirty (for whatever reason), you can always leave it to the pros.
What is a natural way to get rid of squirrels?
Getting rid of ground squirrels is easy. All you need is a non-organic mulch, such as gravel, chicken nets, or pebbles, and you can kiss your squirrel problem goodbye.
For tree squirrels, you can sprinkle pepper or garlic powder on the lower foliage of plants or spray vinegar onto hard surfaces. Planting peppermint and mustard plants around the garden is also an effective strategy.
What do squirrels hate?
Squirrels detest bright colors, high-pitched sounds, and strong odors. Other squirrel-deterrent smells include vinegar, garlic, onion, and peppers. These little rodents are also afraid of cats, dogs, foxes, and owls, as well as their predatory scent.
Will baking soda harm squirrels?
Baking soda, like aspirin, is lethal to squirrels. However, the powder itself is not attractive to squirrels. There are better and more humane ways of dealing with squirrels than outright poisoning them.
Is vinegar harmful to squirrels?
Vinegar repels squirrels with its strong aroma. Thus, it’s not likely that a squirrel will ever taste it. Note that vinegar spray should never be used on plants (except weeds); use it on hard surfaces instead.
So for all those wondering how to get rid of squirrels without breaking the bank, look no further than apple cider vinegar!