Squirrels may be cute to look at when they’re running around up the trees and nibbling on acorns, but once they’re in your attic tearing up the walls, you’ll be singing a different tune.
Find out how to get rid of squirrels safely, effectively, and humanely with these tips.
1. Install a motion activated sprinkler
Squirrels are naturally jumpy creatures. They’re small and only have their teeth and jaws to fight off danger. When they’re faced with something scary, they will much rather run away than stay and fight.
To scare away squirrels, you don’t need much. You don’t need to inflict pain or cause any harm. A sudden movement or a sudden sound is enough to make them run away. And a motion-activated sprinkler does this perfectly.
Most people are iffy with sprinklers because they can drive up your water bill fast. To avoid this, choose one that has a lot of customizable settings.
Proper motion-activated sprinkler allows you to choose if you want it on during the day, during the night, or 24/7. It also has a high tech sensor that is able to distinguish between the movement of animals and movement caused by the wind.
You can adjust the sensor’s angle depending on the height of the animal you’re trying to get rid of. Just connect to your hose, drive into the ground using its spike.
Then adjust the settings according to your needs, and let it work its magic. If there was ever a safe, non-toxic, and all-natural squirrel repellent, it’s got to be a spray of water!
2. Use squirrel-proof bird feeders
Bird feeders are squirrel magnets. The buffet of delicious grains, seeds, nuts, and fruits are hard to resist. These critters can climb up and take all the food for themselves, leaving your home bird-less.
You can buy new squirrel-proof bird feeders at the home improvement section, but there are a lot of DIY ways to protect your existing bird feeders from these little pilferers. And most of them are pretty entertaining!
You can suspend it on a wire instead of sticking it on the ground. Make sure it hangs at least five feet from the ground to prevent them from jumping.
Make sure they don’t reach it through the wire by threading a plastic bottle on either end. It’s fun to see them try to move past the bottle when they realize it keeps rolling on the wire!
If your bird feeder is mounted on a stake, you can place a baffle on it. A baffle can be a barrier to the feeder or a way to widen the pole such that a squirrel can’t grip it. You can buy one at the store or make one yourself.
If you want to have fun watching these critters try and fail to get at your bird seed, attach a slinky to the bottom of the feeder and allow it to dangle down. When the squirrels grasp it, their weight pulls it all the way back down!
3. Plant flowers squirrels hate
You might think squirrels love all things green. After all, their diet consists of berries and seeds, and they make their homes in tree trunks. But there are actually such things as squirrel deterrent plants.
To squirrel proof gardens, plant flowers that are either brightly-colored or emit a strong smell. Plants squirrels hate include fritillaries, geraniums, hyacinth, galanthus, lily-of-the-valley, mint, and daffodils.
Daffodils are dangerous because they contain lycorine and calcium oxalate crystals that are toxic when ingested.
Alliums include onion, garlic, leeks, and scallions, the taste and smell of which repel squirrels naturally. The smell of mint may be pleasant to humans, but if you check what smells deter squirrels, it’s pretty high on the list.
Use these plants as a way to support your other squirrel removal efforts. Grow them near entry points into your yard to deter squirrels from coming in. Place them strategically around tree trunks to prevent these animals from climbing up and getting to the fruits.
Position them around the walls of your home to discourage squirrels from coming near at all. These bright and pungent flowers not only get rid of squirrels; they also make your garden come alive with color.
4. Use mulch
If you have a problem with squirrels ruining your carefully-tended garden, there is a solution that can drive the critters away and make your plants grow even better: mulch.
Mulch is any material that is placed above the soil to maintain moisture, prevent weed growth, and keep away pests. But exactly what do squirrels hate about mulch?
If you’re looking for something that will primarily act as a squirrel deterrent, it’s best to use inorganic mulch such as gravel, pebbles, plastic sheeting, rubber chips, or chicken wire.
Organic mulch like shredded grass, leaves, hay, and straw is too much like what squirrels naturally dig up, and they will find it easy to get through to the soil. Inorganic mulch is much stronger and has a texture that squirrels detest digging up.
This is also a good way of getting rid of ground squirrels that like to make their homes by digging up soil rather than hang out in the trees.
To get rid of squirrels in the garden, apply mulch on the soil at least 12 inches on all sides of your plants. If using plastic sheeting, cut out a hole to let the plant stem go through. It may be worth noting that many say the best squirrel repellent in terms of mulch is layer gravel over chicken wire.
5. Test an ultrasound squirrel deterrent
Studies show that squirrels can hear sounds over a frequency range that is more than twice as wide as ours. Their range is skewed towards ultrasound, which refers to sounds that are at a higher frequency than what is audible to the human ear.
This important scientific discovery has spurred the development of ultrasonic squirrel repeller devices. If you are looking for something effective, non-toxic, and humane, this is the best squirrel repellent for you.
This sonic squirrel repellent device is popular because of its adjustable settings, durability, and solar powered charger.
You can choose from five frequency settings depending on the animal you want to get rid of. For squirrels, turn the knob to 3. As it emits sound, it also flashes bright LED lights that serve as another squirrel repeller.
Position the device in a spot that receives full-on sunlight to take advantage of its solar energy capabilities. Although during overcast days, you can charge it using its USB port.
The sensor scans the surroundings at a 110-degree angle, but this can be adjusted if you want a narrower range. It can detect movement from up to 30 feet away, so position it within that distance to their usual entry points to make the most of the squirrel repellent sound device.
6. Remove food sources
If you want to stop squirrels from coming into your property, you need to understand why they love hanging out there in the first place. More often than not, it’s because of food.
In the wild, squirrels mostly eat plant material. But in truth, these little critters can eat anything and everything. Squirrel problems can start from leaving pet food out, installing an easily-accessible bird feeder, planting fruiting trees, or failing to secure the trash bags.
So before you start installing squirrel fence spikes or buying gallons of squirrel poison, know that the best way to repel squirrels is not applying something they hate but taking away something they love.
Avoid leaving your pet’s food bowl outdoors. Install a squirrel guard on the pole holding up your birdfeeder, or else buy one that is squirrel-proof.
Tent protective netting over your fruiting trees and protect your vegetable garden with hardware cloth or chicken wire. Remove any fallen fruits or bird feed from your yard. Put your garbage in a sturdy trash can that has a lockable lid.
Removing food sources should be your first move in the squirrel control battle strategy. Without doing this, you significantly decrease the chances of success of your other pest control squirrels methods.
7. Remove entry options to the house
For squirrels, human homes are very attractive. It’s well-insulated, offers protection from the elements and predators, and is likely close to a steady source of food.
So if there is a crack big enough for them to squeeze into, you can be sure they’ll try. If you’re wondering how to keep squirrels away from your home, the simplest solution is to block them from coming in.
Walk around your home and take note of any possible entry points, like a crack in the foundation, a hole in the screen door, or water-damaged eaves. Fill these in with sealant.
Your best bet to stop squirrels from biting through is copper mesh paired with expandable foam. The strong teeth and powerful jaws of these rodents are no match for the copper mesh.
These thin sheets of metal are pliable and can be easily stuffed into openings of different shapes and sizes. Fill in the tiny gaps in the mesh by applying the foam with a foam applicator gun.
This keeps water and dust from seeping in through the crack. Paint over the foam once fully dry, and you’ll never know a hole was there.
Keep squirrels away by removing anything they can use to scale up your walls. This includes pruning tree branches and vines that graze the walls and removing firewood leaning at the side of your house.
8. Use a decoy squirrel feeder
You might be thinking, “Wait a second. I thought tip #6 was to remove all food sources?”. Well, think of that tip as part 1 of this tip.
The only way a decoy squirrel feeder is going to be effective is if you first eliminate feeding opportunities in your own home. You must make it as easy as possible for these critters to choose the decoy over your house.
The decoy squirrel feeder should have the most squirrel-enticing buffet of food ever. Fill it with everything they like to eat, and make sure there’s enough for everyone.
It’s best to choose a spot with hollow trees for tree squirrels and soft ground for ground squirrels. With the killer combination of a steady food source and good real estate, there should not be any reason for them to go back to your home.
There are a lot of innovative squirrel feeders in the market that might just help repair your relationship with these so-called pests.
You can buy one that is made for mounting corn cobs and laugh at how they nibble at the food. You can purchase one wherein the food is placed inside a cage and watch them figure out how to remove the nuts from the grills.
9. Scare squirrels with mousetraps
Mousetraps are one of the more violent pest control products, but when used correctly, they can be used to repel squirrels without hurting them.
When a mousetrap snaps, it is a loud crack of sound that immediately scares animals away. This is the principle behind the use of these devices for squirrel control.
Animal welfare laws and basic humanity dictate that these products should not be used in the traditional way for squirrels.
You can use these to deter squirrels from digging. To use this humanely, it is absolutely essential for you to anchor these traps into the ground. Securing them will prevent hurting animals.
Cover the traps and the ground they like to dig in with a newspaper and a little dirt. The motion of digging will disturb the newspaper and set off the trap.
Since these devices are anchored on the ground, they will not jump up and capture the squirrels. Instead, the squirrels will take off at the loud sound and unexpected movement.
Once the squirrels associate that frightful surprise with that area, they will avoid coming back. This is a good way to get rid of ground squirrels that want to make their nests in your newly-tilled garden.
10. Try natural squirrel repellents
There are a lot of chemical sprays on the market that are effective at getting rid of squirrels, but they may cause toxicity in animals and humans and be detrimental to the environment. Instead, try to make your own natural squirrel deterrent spray using food-grade products.
The key to making an effective squirrel spray is to use ingredients that these critters hate. One of the easiest to find are spices.
Anything that tastes and smells spicy or minty will make squirrels run away. Mixing a bottle of tabasco into a gallon of water is a cheap and easy DIY natural squirrel deterrent.
To use this squirrel repellent for the garden, add a couple of drops of dishwashing liquid to help make it stay on the surface of leaves longer.
If you want to protect your trees, you can add a raw egg to the tabasco-water mixture. This makes it more viscous and sticky, perfect for applying on tree bark. The residue will adhere to the squirrel paws, making them let go of the tree quickly.
You can also use the same principle by sprinkling cayenne pepper powder, pepper flakes, or a garlic powder-pepper combination on surfaces and plants.
11. Let your pets out
A scared squirrel is a squirrel that is as good as gone. Once these animals learn to associate your home with danger, you can be sure that they’ll steer clear of your home. And what better way to scare these critters off than squirrel predators?
Pet owners, rejoice! Dogs and cats are actually living, breathing natural squirrel deterrents. Put them to work by letting them out every hour or two in your yard. Make it an unpredictable schedule so that the squirrels will think that they’re always there.
If you don’t have a cat or dog, there are other ways to fool these animals into thinking that predators of squirrels live in your home.
Install realistic and life-size owl figures on your roof or in the yard. For these to be effective, you have to make sure they move. Buy the ones that use solar power or wind to move erratically.
Make sure to move them to different locations every few days. There are also anti-squirrel spray products that make use of predator urine or other smells.
You can spray this in the perimeter of your home or wherever you see the critters hang out. This smells rather nasty, though, so do not spray this in the parts of your house frequented by humans.
12. Eliminate standing water
What’s another thing that all living things need aside from food and shelter? The answer is water. And if your backyard has a source, you can be sure it will attract all types of animals–some of which you might not want to welcome.
That includes squirrels. These creatures need to stay hydrated, so they gravitate towards places that have standing water they can sip from.
Even if you’ve secured all the possible sources of squirrel food in your home, failing to remove the water source can hinder successful squirrel removal.
Check your property for open tubs of water and either empty them or put a lid on. Empty out your bird bath until you finish getting rid of squirrels in your garden.
Check for any deep potholes where pools of water can accumulate. After rainfall, double-check to empty out any puddles. This not only helps get rid of ground squirrels but a lot of other animal and insect pests.
Aside from standing water, beware that your garden hose or outdoor faucets are not leaking. Squirrels have been known to stick their tongues out to lap up droplets. By stopping leaks, you make your home less attractive to these troublesome critters and prevent water waste as well.
13. Clean out your attic
The scurrying sound of squirrels in the attic may drive you crazy, but the real danger lies in their tendency to chew on wires. This could trigger short-circuits and fires in your home.
To get rid of squirrels in the attic, clean it out to eliminate hiding places that squirrels like to make into nests. Check if any wiring up there has been damaged and replace it ASAP.
Clean your attic during the day as the squirrels will be out. To further ensure that there are none of them left inside, leave on a loud radio and bright lights for a day or two before your scheduled cleaning.
Let these squirrel repellents do their work before you come in to clean so you can move things without the fear of encountering one.
If you find a nest with baby squirrels in it, do not attempt to touch them. As much as possible, it’s best to wait until they grow up and leave. If you need them out immediately, you may use a squirrel trap (see tip #14) or call a professional pest control company.
Once you’ve cleaned out the attic and made sure that all the squirrels have gone, it’s time to cover up any entry points to stop them from coming back. You may also consider installing squirrel spikes along your roof’s perimeter to keep them away.
14. Consider live squirrel traps
If you have squirrels squatting in your home, one way to get them out is through squirrel trapping. This allows you to remove the squirrels without touching them.
Although there have been few recorded instances of transmission of disease from these critters to animals, it is best to avoid handling them directly.
They can be aggressive when threatened, and their bite can be painful and easily infected. Instead, use squirrel traps to catch them without contact. Trapping squirrels in the attic or in the walls requires a tempting bait and a durable live trap.
You can make your own bait using bird seed, fruits, grains, and nuts, or you can buy from the store. The advantage of the latter is that it is specially designed to attract squirrels.
This commercial squirrel bait has a strong aroma of black walnut that can easily be picked up by the critters’ noses. Oils, seeds, and meat are combined to form a peanut butter-like consistency. Simply place on a cracker, on a bait stick, or in a small cup and place inside a trap.
Choose a squirrel trap that is humane, durable, and effective. This live squirrel trap is made to prevent injury to the captured animal. Double-check your trap before you install it to ensure that the spring mechanism is working and the door shuts securely.
15. Install a fence
If you want to protect your home from squirrels, it starts at the perimeter of your property. You hit two birds with one stone when you have a good fence: it can get rid of squirrels in the house and in the garden.
But not just any fence will do. A squirrel-proof fence takes into consideration the animal’s ability to dig, climb, and nibble.
Use material that is strong and durable, like hardware cloth or chicken wire. Make sure the holes in the mesh are small, preferably around 1 inch wide, to make sure they don’t squeeze through.
The mesh should be installed over the outward-facing surface of the posts. Leave at least one foot of mesh on the bottom to bury into the ground.
This thwarts any squirrels that think they can get in by digging under the fence. Prevent them from climbing over by installing an electric wire at the top.
Make sure that the fence has no loopholes. If there is a tree outside your property, prune its branches so that squirrels can’t use it to leap over the fence.
4 thoughts on “15 Tips on How to Get Rid of Squirrels Fast [Humanely]”
Please note for UK readers that under Schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act it is illegal to release squirrels into the wild or keep one as a pet, which means humane traps pose a bit of a dilemma.
Great article, and great information!
Anyone that may have issues with squirrels and other critters, should check out https://www.wildlifeandpest.com
They share tons of helpful tips and tricks as well, and if youre in Colorado or Texas, can do removals for you!
Getting rid of “nuisance” squirrels made easy……..
I find it easier to shoot them, I literally have shot hundreds being destructive to my property, ruining trees, eating robin’s eggs, tearing up my lawn/mulch, I used to trap them and relocate them to a park, I gave up, just an FYI as many of them I have exterminated they just keep coming, they’ll produce multiple offspring in one pregnancy.