How to Keep Squirrels Away

Many people consider squirrels cute, but it's also true that they can be pests. The most common problems occur when they mess with your property. The worst is when they get into your attic or chimney, which I will discuss below. But first, I'll discuss some of the less-serious problems:

How to Keep Squirrels Away From Your House
If they're getting inside the attic, read the attic section below. If you're merely concerned about them running around on your house and chewing wood, you have a couple of options. Because it's impossible to keep them off the roof - they can jump or climb anywhere - you may want to trap and remove the squirrels. Or, if you simply want to prevent them from chewing on the wood, you can spray Ropel spray on the wood, or even pepper spray (be very careful if you use this method) or baste the wood with super hot sauce.

How to Keep Squirrels Away From the Birdfeeder
Ahh, the age-old question. In short, you can either trap and remove squirrels, or kill them, or you can do it much easier and cheaper by purchasing a squirrel-proof birdfeeder, or installing a squirrel baffle on your existing bird feeder. There are plenty of good ones, so just do a search and read the reviews, and you'll find a good one.

Inside Your House, in the Attic
Squirrels are almost everywhere. They have learned about the advantages of living near human dwellings, but they are also very self-sufficient in the wild. If you’re having an issue with squirrels, then there is something appealing about your home. Unlike a variety of other animals, a nearby food source isn’t always the reason a squirrel is inside your home. Because of the widespread variety of food these creatures consume, a squirrel can live off of the food inside a forest yet still like your attic or eve as a nesting site.

Squirrels are prey animals and live most of their lives in constant awareness of predators. This instinctual fear will drive them to seek out the safest locations possible for sleeping and raising young. Yes, tree hollows and high-top nests are usually sufficient, but a sturdy, warm, quiet, dry attic is even better. Worse yet, the squirrel’s natural affinity for climbing makes them frequent visitors to your home and roof. This is why regular home maintenance is invaluable.

A squirrel does not need much space to squeeze through, so any holes in your home, particularly around your evens and roof, should be sealed regardless of size. If a squirrel detects a possible entry point—no matter how small—it can chew its way through and widen the gap. Once inside, the squirrels will continue to be destructive, chewing on structural material and gathering up nesting supplies.

There are numerous deterrents on the market, the most popular of which include an owl statue and the spread of mothballs. Owl statues will startle a squirrel initially, but just like a tree stand during hunting season; the animals will get used to it. Mothballs are not pungent enough to affect more than a few inches around their placement, and they are toxic enough to homeowners and pets that they should be avoided anyway. Predator urine will increase the wariness of a squirrel but will not deter it. Just like the owl statue, eventually the creatures get used to the constant presence. These tactics will not keep squirrels away from your house, or keep squirrels away from a birdfeeder. The one home remedy that may help deter squirrel chewing is the application of hot sauce to surfaces. This will discourage chewing, but will not make a squirrel leave. This method also isn’t practical for use in a large area.

Since squirrels are relatively small as pest animals go, some people think that the best method of how to keep squirrels away is lethal trapping with snap traps. They come in a variety of sizes and are the most effective way of getting rid of a rat issue, but what about squirrels? One should never use snap traps for squirrel control (and they're not the best for flying squirrels either). The best methods are:

1 - Live cage traps, 16"x5"x5", baited with peanut butter and whole nuts in the shell, mounted on the roof or in trees. Like most traps, it is recommended that you bait the unset trap for a few days prior to enabling it to get the squirrel accustomed to the idea of taking food from the trap. It is very important to make sure you select a size-appropriate trap. Snap traps that are too small may not catch the animal on contact.

2 - One way exclusion doors, mounted on the entry/exit hole, that let the squirrels get out of the house, but not back in.

3 - Repeater traps that can catch many squirrels at once, mounted on the exit hole.

Complications with trapping squirrels can involve a number of things. Baby squirrels will not be out and about around your attic or eve and won’t be susceptible to most traps. If you trap the parent squirrels, the babies will be likely be hidden somewhere inaccessible. They will most likely die and the carcasses will need to be removed or the odor will linger. Other home owners have found that trapping squirrels is not practical due to the design of their homes. Some more modern structures do not have traditional roofs, preventing traps from being set or even areas from being reached safely. These homes will likely require the intervention of a professional. In the end, preventing squirrels from gaining entry into your home is a much more effective way to answer the question of how to keep squirrels away than having to remove them after the fact.

Do not attempt to poison squirrels inside your home. Poisons are not fast-acting. This means the animals will feel ill and will likely migrate into a place that feels warm and secure. That desire for comfort generally means the animal is wedged deeper into the confines of the home structure, and the resulting carcass will produce a foul odor that may be more annoying than the creature ever was while alive. Babies will complicate things, and will also create a foul odor once they starve to death inside the walls of your home.

I wrote this website to provide squirrel information in the case that you have a squirrel problem and need to make an informed decision about what to do. If you have any additional questions you may email me, but I do know from experience that squirrel removal is not simple. If you need professional help solving your wildlife conflict, I recommend that you talk to a professional squirrel control expert in your town by clicking on my National Wildlife Control directory, which lists experts who I recommend in every USA city and town who can help you with your squirrel issue.

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