How to get rid of Squirrels

squirrels sciuridae how to get rid of

Squirrels are medium-sized rodents that belong to the family Sciuridae. Although they do not infest homes in large numbers and are considered by many to be cute, squirrels are also found to be much more invasive than any other type of pests, mainly because of the range of damage they can cause. Your garden, your house, and even your vehicles are not safe from them. They will chew anything they can (plastic and metal included), they can bite on electric cables, cause blackouts and even fires, and they will bury food into your garden, only to then dig hundreds of holes in an effort to find it.
What’s more, because of the familiarity they have in dealing with people and because of the easy way in which they can adapt to every situation, squirrels cannot be easily scared, so even owning a pet can no longer be considered an insurance against a squirrel infestation. For this reason, it is safe to say that many people will never be rid of squirrels; all you can do is therefore try your best to limit their access to places where they can cause damage.

squirrels sciuridae how to get rid of

Signs of infestation

Besides clear sightings of squirrels, you can recognise an infestation by seeing nests in trees or hollow openings in the tree trunks in your yard. Squirrels will also tend to chew the bark on younger trees and eat garden plants. They can also be seen running along utility lines, or on the roof or near the chimney of your home. Droppings are also a sing of their presence, but when you are dealing with a large infestation, you can also see them fighting, which is an indication that their population is to large and they need to fight for survival.
Hearing noises in the attic, chimney, walls or vents can also be sings of an infestation. Due to the access they gain, they can also damage the house by chewing holes in the siding, chewing wires or insulation, and they can also damage bird feeders in search for more food.

Getting rid of squirrels

One of the easiest ways that you can avoid running into problems with squirrels is by keeping in mind that, if you voluntarily feed them, these small rodents are very likely to take that as an open invitation to enter your yard and even your home. On the contrary, if you leave food out in an area located far away from your house and garden, it might be possible that the squirrels will never feel the need to move and explore what lies beyond it.
The first and most important step that needs to be taken if you have serious problems with squirrels around the vicinity of your house, though, is removing any potential food sources. These include nuts, acorns, berries (which can be very easily gathered and removed by regularly raking your yard), and even seeds that you may leave out in bird feeders. You can ensure that the squirrels cannot reach the latter by attaching so-called squirrel guards to the feeders, as well as by moving the feeders further away from your home, trees, and even fences. Keeping the area under the bird feeders clean is also a step in the right direction. Otherwise, if you are unable to take any of these measures, simply replace the seeds you have been using with safflower seeds; these are still considered good food by the birds, but because they find them bitter, the squirrels will avoid them. Eliminating water sources may be secondary, but it is also a good idea.
You should also ensure that your bin bags are tied securely and that your trashcan has a tight-sealing lid, seeing as squirrels are well-known for their curiosity. If you throw away a meal or an ingredient that has a particularly strong smell, it is recommended that you double bag it, so that the odour and, consequently, the chances of squirrels being attracted to it, is reduced. Also, seeing as squirrels have really strong teeth, switching to metal garbage cans it better.

Repellents

When it comes to repelling squirrels from your property, you can use natural or electronic measures. Using things like cayenne pepper or black pepper sprinkled around the areas where you have seen them move, can help in deterring the pests away. Mixing them in powder form with water and spraying the solution around can have the same effect, as well as using predator urine, which will also keep the squirrels at bay.
Depending on the area most damaged and the density of their population, you can choose which type of repellent to use. Repellents can also be applied as a preventive measure, not just as a deterring one. And using multiple types at once can give you a better shot at getting the desired result.
Liquid ones can be sprayed and applied on surfaces such bird feeders, bulbs, trash cans, flowers, ornaments, trees, gutters and even roofing. The solid ones, which normally come in granular form, are mostly capsaicin-based granules, and can be sprinkled in attics, on flowerbeds and pathways, in gardens, in crawl spaces and around your house perimeters. Dusting a few fruits with the mixture may even convince the squirrels that the food your garden has to offer is no good, and they will not return for a second time. Furthermore, it has been found that planting peppermint plants (such as mint) can help keep squirrels away from your garden, seeing as they do not enjoy the strong smell.

Another, rather ingenious, method of keeping squirrels away involves motion-activated sprinklers. As the name so clearly states, these will activate when a squirrel is in the immediate vicinity, driving it away and watering your lawn in the process. Electronic repellents such as motion sprinklers can also be used to scare away many critters.  As they are a long-term solution and an eco-friendly one as well, electronic repellents are a good way of keeping your property free of squirrels. They can be installed in many areas, such as near trees, in vegetable gardens, flowerbeds or on pathways, near structures or property entrances. As the squirrels are smaller critters than the regular pests that can be repelled with these devices, you will need to set them to the highest sensibility level they have. Ultrasonic units can also prove useful. These are electronic repellents that produce ultrasonic frequencies which bother the squirrels so much that they are driven away.

Traps for Squirrels control:

Traps are used to monitor or reduce the population of insects or other pests. They can be used against crawling, flying insects, mice, rats, cats, dogs, snakes or other pests. Mechanical traps are ideal for catching these pests, as they can be used repetitively.

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    Dispatch in 45 days

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      Manufacturer:

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      Get rid of:

    • Skunks,
    • Squirrels

      Trap type:

    • Mechanical

Another humane method of getting rid of squirrels is by using live traps. They can be used outside or inside the house, and help in catching the squirrels and relocation them. If you have discovered a squirrel inside your house, you can use a live trap to remove it. These are sold in most specialised stores, but it is your responsibility to ensure that the trap is made specifically for such kinds of rodents, so that you do not end up unwittingly hurting the intruder. For example, you should ensure that the trap is not too large, seeing as this could allow the animal too much space to run around and possibly bang into walls at too high speeds. Set this up in the room in which you have seen the squirrel, and use baits such as fruits, nuts, peanut butter, different kinds of seeds, as well as vanilla extract, to lure them to the trap. Check the room regularly to ensure that the animal does not spend an unnecessary amount of time trapped; when you see that the trap has done its job, simply take it outside and release the squirrel. It is important to keep in mind, though, that while squirrels are not proven carriers of any diseases, they may be scared and aggressive, so be very careful in handling the cage; it is recommended that you use thick gloves during the entire process.
We do not recommend you using traps in an attempt to deal with all the squirrels that you may have sighted on your property; if you take no other measures, new ones will simply replace the old ones, and checking traps several times a day, as well as walking the necessary distance to release the invaders can become very tiring very quickly.

Driving squirrels out of an already established nest (which is often built in attics) can prove quite difficult, but they do have to leave the nest at least once a day, in search of food and water. Usually, if you manage to seize the moment in which they are gone and quickly take care of any and all holes, cracks or crevices that they may use to get back inside, you will be able to isolate the squirrel outside of its nest and outside of your house, leaving it with no other option than to find itself another home.

Fencing

In order to protect your garden – and, implicitly, the fruits and vegetables that you have in it – you can choose to erect wire fences, making sure that these are buried about 30 cm in the ground. This will impede the squirrels from climbing on them, as well as digging a way underneath them. What’s more, you can protect your ripening fruits by placing plastic netting around them. This will not harm the fruits, but will make it impossible for curious squirrels to reach them.
The best way to protect your property is by installing a mesh fencing underneath porches, in front of structural openings and around vegetation that you wish to protect. If you install it in an ‘L’ shape under the ground, you will be able to exclude squirrels from digging underneath it. The best type of mesh is the one with 6 mm holes, so that squirrels cannot squeeze through the openings.

In matters regarding your home, the same basic principles should be applied:

– ensure that all slightly larger holes and cracks in the walls or roof of your house are sealed;
– ensure that your attic does not contain food that may attract squirrels;
– ensure that there are no branches or parts of fences too close to your house, which would make it much more accessible to the squirrels;
– place a guard over your chimney, which will help with keeping not only squirrels out, but also different insects and other animals.

It is also important to know that, although they may work when it comes to other nosy intruders, flashing lights and rat poison are completely ineffective as far as squirrels are concerned. There are currently no poisons that are targeted specifically towards squirrels, and it is considered to be inhumane to try to use any such substance against them. A lot of species of squirrel are endangered and trying to kill them is considered to be a crime in many countries.
Exclusion, eviction and population reduction are the main methods of dealing with an infestation. Modifying the habitat also helps, as trimming tree branches and protecting bird feeders can reduce the amount of food available or the possibility to find shelter, so the squirrels can relocate themselves quickly. Mixing up these methods with repellents, frightening devices and other preventive measures can lead to a quick solution when it comes to your infestation problem. Should you wish to find out more details about ways in which you can ‘Prevent infestation with Squirrels’, visit our related article.

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