Squirrel Control: How To Get Rid of Squirrels
If you own a yard, there’s a large chance that you’ll sooner or later have to deal with Squirrels. Most squirrels are relatively harmless and some are even nice to have around to observe but they can be considered a pest similar to rodents when they begin to get too close to us and our property.
There are many species of squirrels but the most problematic are Tree Squirrels. However, there doesn’t necessarily need to be trees around for squirrels to be present on your yard or garden as there are also Ground Squirrels that commonly rummage around residences as well.
When displaced from their natural habitat in the woods, squirrels go on a hunt for new shelter. If the conditions allow it, squirrels will move into attics, eaves, and soffits of any structure. Once inside a building, they can potentially cause damage to insulation, rafters and electric wires. This is a particularly dangerous hazard as squirrels damaging wiring has been known to be the cause of electrical fires in a home.
Squirrels move very quickly so it may seem that they would be difficult to control, however it is possible when you implement the right techniques and products. If you have Squirrels invading your property, follow our guide below which will show you how to get rid of Squirrels quickly and affordably.
Before you can carry out a treatment approach you need to identify and make sure you’re dealing with Squirrels in your yard and not some other creature. Misidentification can lead to using the wrong treatment methods, costing you time and money. Fortunately, squirrels are very easy to identify. Below you can find the common characteristics of Squirrels.
Squirrels range in size from very small, to medium-sized depending on the species.
Squirrels generally have slender bodies with long bushy tails and large eyes.
Their fur is usually soft and silk. They also vary in color, from brown to grayish depending on the species.
Squirrels can be categorized into three main species: Tree Squirrels, Ground Squirrels, and Flying Squirrels.
Tree squirrels are the most common culprit and like to live in trees but are frequent invaders of wooden structures.
Ground squirrels like to live in the ground, digging underground tunnels to live in.
Flying squirrels are found living inside attics, eaves, and soffits. They are distinct from other squirrels in that they have excess skin that when extended allows them to more easily glide through the air when leaping.
How to Get Rid of Squirrels in the Attic
If you’re hearing the pitter-patter of little rodent feet in your walls, eaves, or attic, it’s time for squirrel removal. Here’s how.
The best way to get rid of squirrels in your house is to seal up all entry points. However, it’s not that simple. You won’t want to seal them up while they’re inside your home, so observe your intruder’s habits to decide when to take action.
Do they go out for food in daylight or at night? Knowing when they’re out tells you the best time to seal up their doorways. Ask your local cooperative extension service for info on the species’ habits in your area.
Make sure shrubs and trees are farther from the house than your particular species of squirrel can leap. About 5 feet deters squirrels from jumping. During daylight, head up to the attic and look for light shining through cracks or holes in home’s exterior. Squirrels come in through holes as small as 2 inches or as big as a baseball. If you can’t access the attic from inside, use binoculars and watch from your lawn chair. Are they going in through siding, soffits, fascia, roof vents, or the foundation?
Seal All But One Entry Point When Squirrels Aren’t Home
Once you know when they come and go, seal up all entry points except the one they’re using most. Some sealing options:
Stainless steel mesh, sheet metal, or aluminum flashing can’t be chewed through.
Use caulk or foam sealant to close up holes. Caulk and foam can be painted over.
How to Get Rid of Squirrels Humanely
Squirrels are agile, populous and live high in treetops, making them a challenge to manage – especially outdoors. By adopting an integrated approach to control and being persistent, you can prevent damage and keep these nuisance animals at bay.
Allowing food sources and debris to accumulate in your yard is like inviting squirrels down for a snack. Maintain the cleanliness of your yard to avoid attracting these nearby tree-dwellers.
Rake up fallen berries, nuts, acorns, fruits and birdseed.
Clean up any leftover food, drinks or pet food.
Remove trash and secure garbage bins.
Remove bird feeders, or replace your birdseed with a type that squirrels dislike, like safflower or nyger.
Once a squirrel makes its nest on your property, it’s very difficult to force it to relocate. You can reduce or prevent damage significantly by taking steps to limit a squirrel’s ability to invade your home and/or bird feeders.
Squirrels can leap across a distance of 10 feet; trim any tree limbs that come within this distance of your house or feeders.
Cover nearby electrical or telephone wires with plastic tubing (on which squirrels cannot balance), to limit access to your roof.
Use a chimney guard and close/repair all holes that may lead inside your house.
Switch to squirrel-resistant bird feeders, or add a squirrel baffle to your current feeder.
Identify Squirrel Activity
It’s important to identify the nature and location of your squirrel damage as well as their travel paths, so that you can select the best control method.
Destructive squirrel habits include:
excavating bulbs and seeds
stealing fruits and berries
pilfering bird seed from feeders
gnawing through wood siding
digging small holes in your lawn to collect and hoard food
nesting in your attic
With its curving, bushy tail, the eastern grey squirrel is easily recognizable—and a frequent sight around our homes. Some specimens may have a black coat, but they belong to the same species: Scurius carolinensis.
In summer, squirrels often build nests of twigs and leaves in the higher branches of trees. Come fall, they gather and hide food for the winter, as they do not hibernate. Squirrels eat a little bit of everything: seeds, nuts, maple keys, bulbs, flowers, fruit, insects, eggs, etc. They spend the winter in spots better protected from inclement weather, most often in the hollows of tree trunks.
Are grey squirrels useful or bothersome?
Eastern grey squirrels contribute to forest regeneration because they bury so many nuts—and then forget to dig them up and eat them.
They are very active and visible in the daytime, bringing our parks and woodlands to life.
Common nuisance behaviours of squirrels include:
Getting into attics and sheds and building their nests there.
Chewing through electric wires, which can result in a fire hazard.
Stealing birdseed and/or destroying bird feeders.
Rummaging through garbage bins.
Digging up and eating seeds, bulbs, flowers and fruit.
Gnawing the bark of various shrubs and chewing on their buds.
Tips for keeping squirrels away from your home
If you have a dog or cat, you can count on it to scare off squirrels. If not, there are a number of actions you can take and repellents that can help.
Keeping squirrels out of your garden and flowerbeds
When you plant bulbs, sprinkle blood meal (available at any gardening centre) into the planting hole.
Spread repellents around plants: Cayenne pepper, human hair, cat or dog hair all work. Re-apply after every rainfall.
Spread hen manure fertilizer in the garden: squirrels hate it!
Choose bulb plants that don’t attract squirrels: narcissus, snowdrops (Galanthus), hyacinth, etc.
Grow aromatic plants (geraniums, mint, rosemary, etc.) around bulbs.
Lay chicken wire above seeds and bulbs, a few centimetres beneath the surface of the soil
How To Get Rid Of Squirrels In The Attic
Signs That You Have Squirrels in Your Attic
You may have a squirrel infestation if you hear rustling, chewing, or scratching sounds coming from the attic. These sounds are prevalent in the evening and morning hours. Another indication is the presence of droppings accompanied by a pungent smell.
If you notice a lot of squirrel activity such as squirrels running along the roof, fences, or utility line, you may have a population of these pests in your house. Other signs to watch out for include insulation damage, holes in the siding, chewed wired, and destruction in the yard.
Seal Any Entry Point
You need to determine how the squirrels got inside your attic for you to get rid of them. Possible entry points include chimneys, plumbing mats, roof edge, and the walls. Inspect your house for any spaces and gaps.
If you find these holes, you need to seal them up. You can use steel wool, bricks, or caulk to seal these openings. Place a wire mesh on chimney tops and open vents. It’s recommended to leave one entry point open to allow the squirrels to leave. Once you stop seeing any squirrel activity or hearing their noises, you can seal it for good.
Use a Trap
One of the most effective ways on how to remove squirrels from attic is to trap and remove them. All you need is to find a trap that fits squirrels and place it next to entry points. Alternatively, you can set the trap against the hole they use to get in and out.