How to keep squirrels away

Living in a temperate climate generally means co-existing with squirrels. Keeping squirrels away can be a frustrating task, especially because these animals are adept climbers that can scale almost any type of wall or barrier. Squirrels are smart, fast, agile, and opportunistic. They invade gardens and birdfeeders on a whim, and if there is a chance to crawl into an open area of a house or building, they won’t hesitate to do so.

How can I prevent squirrels from entering my home?

To keep squirrels away, due diligence is necessary. Prevention starts with regular home maintenance. It’s easy to fall into a routine after buying a home of simply living within the walls, but homes are not made to last forever, and over time materials weaken and pieces begin to fall apart. The highest parts of a home–the roof and chimney areas–tend to fall victim to this natural process the most. Minor damage down at eye-level is noticed easily and soon after repaired. It can be years before anyone notices damage along a roof line.

Squirrels are excellent climbers, and they don’t need trees near a home to be able to get onto a roof. If a squirrel finds a weak point along a home, it can chew or scratch its way through. At this point it’s almost too late; the squirrel is inside and the human occupants won’t know it until they hear noises or other evidence of destruction. This is why it is so important to make sure the home is in good repair. A squirrel won’t try to chew its way into a building unless it can see there is an interior to get to. A well-sealed home won’t have a nuisance animal problem.

How to keep squirrels away from a yard is a very different story. Squirrels are everywhere, and their athleticism and size makes them almost impossible to completely avoid. Still, there are important steps to take to see fewer squirrels in a yard.

What do squirrels like to eat?

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The elimination of food sources is the most important step to keep squirrels away. Even though squirrels are herbivores, they enjoy a variety of plant-based foods, including flower bulbs, vegetables, seed, fruit, and nuts. Not surprisingly, there are many of these food sources to be found around human homes. Birdseed is a big draw for squirrels, and even if you have a squirrel-proof feeder, squirrels are still going to keep coming to investigate it. You can discourage wildlife from bothering vegetable and flower gardens by installing a short, electrified perimeter fence. There are many ways you can do this inexpensively through the use of solar power. Be aware, however, that food on the property–even if well protected–will draw the interest of squirrels.

Are there products to keep squirrels away?

Do not waste your money on products designed to keep squirrels away. Most of these are ineffective or only offer short-term solutions. Noise makers, for example, will work for a few days (maybe) until the squirrels realize there is no actual threat associated with the noise. The same goes for scent-based repellents. Animals do have sensitive senses of smell, but they are not driven mad by powerful odors. Do not waste your time lining the border of your property with peppermint-soaked rags. Squirrels will walk right over these without a second thought.

Introducing a predator into the environment may be another option. Dogs, especially small dogs, often enjoy chasing squirrels. Some breeds are even predisposed to the activity, like terrier breeds which were bred to control rodent populations. Dogs are only effective while they are out and running around a property, however, so to take full advantage of a dog, a fenced-in yard is best so the animal can roam free. Cats are less effective against squirrels. Though excellent hunters, housecats are notoriously lazy, and even the most determined of them won’t relentlessly pursue a squirrel in the same manner a dog would.

Another option to keep squirrels away is to keep an on-going trap system set up. This will require constant monitoring by the homeowner as well as a working knowledge of traps–live or lethal–and how to handle them safely. This is often a losing battle when used outside; there are far more squirrels than any one homeowner could trap, but it can be a useful method in certain situations.

If you have taken all the steps you feel are available to keep squirrels away and are still having a problem, call a professional wildlife removal company. At the very least, the specialist will be able to access your property and make further recommendations. Professionals also have more tools at their disposal for handling squirrel infestations.

Humane Hints

Squirrels are intelligent creatures with feelings.  Whenever possible, aim for prevention techniques or humane trapping and relocation instead of killing the animals.  And please never use poison!  It's inhumane and rarely solves the problem.  Our company provides 100% effective and permanent wildlife removal, while employing the most humane approach possible.

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