How to Get Rid of Squirrels
The first step to getting rid of the squirrels in your attic is to determine how they are coming and going. Once you know how they have got it in, you can begin the removal and repair process. During the birthing season, this begins with a complete search of your attic for babies. It is important to remember that baby squirrels do not exit the den site until eight weeks of age. That means the only way they can be removed is by hand.
Locating baby squirrels can be tricky. To protect them from predators, their mother will have been sure to tuck the babies away in a hard reach place. This will require wading through itchy fibreglass in the dark to locate their exact position.
KEEP IN MIND:
Attics are extremely dusty, so you should always wear a dust mask before entering any attic.
Heat stress. Attics temperatures during spring and summer can soar to over 45 degrees Celsius. Make sure to hydrate well and take frequent breaks.
Watch your step. Make sure your weight is always on a floor joist. Stepping off of the joists could cause you to fall through the ceiling.
Most attics have no lights, so you will need a flashlight to guide you.
The search should begin in the areas where the most activity has been heard as they are where the babies are most likely to be stashed. Mother squirrels can be extremely aggressive, especially when it comes to their babies. They may charge or attack if they feel threatened.
Skedaddle wildlife technicians are trained to scare mother squirrels out from the attic as we collect the babies. If the mother retreats to another part of the attic or refuses to vacate, we will use her babies to lure her from the attic. Mother squirrels have a strong maternal instinct and by placing the litter in a heated baby box on the outside we can be sure to attract the mother out of the attic.
How to Get Rid of Squirrels
How can you get rid of squirrels in your yard and home? Your best bet is to exclude, rather than eliminate, them. You can also try repellents, habitat modification, trapping, or a mix of all four.
But first, let’s talk about why you’d want to get rid of these bushy-tailed creatures in the first place. They seem harmless enough, scurrying about outside feasting on fallen acorns or sprawling across tree limbs to reach buds and seeds.
Problems arise, though, when these squirrels invite themselves to partake in the spoils of your garden (or your bird feeder), dig up your lawn in search of nuts (or to bury food for later), or nest in your attic or crawlspace.
Types of Squirrels
Native to every continent except Australia and Antarctica, squirrels belong to the rodent family and are closely related to chipmunks, prairie dogs, and marmots. There are more than 200 species of squirrels that live all over the world, and they’re classified into three main groups: tree squirrels, flying squirrels, and ground squirrels.
Various types include Eastern and Western gray squirrels, black squirrels, fox squirrels, red squirrels, and Northern and Southern flying squirrels. Ranging in size from about 7 inches to 27 inches, depending on the species, squirrels do not pose much of a direct threat to humans. If they feel threatened, however, they could bite and potentially spread a host of diseases.
WAYS TO KEEP SQUIRRELS OUT OF YOUR GARDEN
Are there small, shallow holes dug in your garden beds? Do you find fruits and vegetables that are half eaten? Have your freshly planted bulbs been dug up? If you answered yes to any (or all) of these, it’s probably squirrel damage. Their rummaging is in full swing in fall when they’re prepping for winter. They’ll be back in spring, making the most of new growth and ripening fruit when nuts and seeds are limited.
While many of us enjoy watching squirrels, they can be a serious garden problem, causing extensive damage and terrorizing bird feeders. If you are looking for ways to keep them out of your garden
Hide or relocate their food. Be diligent about cleaning up fallen nuts, acorns and berries. Make the process faster and easier with a handy nut gatherer. These food sources can be relocated to an area where squirrels are welcome, such as a back corner of your yard (see #7 below). Also, keep trash can lids securely closed as well.
Get a dog. Most dogs love to chase squirrels. Put them on squirrel patrol and let them scare the squirrels away.
Turn up their noses. Squirrels are offended by many of the same scents as deer, so repellents like Plantskydd Deer Repellent work well. You can also try a thin layer of coffee grounds or tucking a small amount of dog hair around and under plants.
Surprise them. Startle and shoo them away with a sudden spray of water from a motion-activated sprinkler or blast of air from an motion-activated air can.
Employ natural predators. Use a squirrel’s natural predators to your advantage by attracting hawks or owls by placing raptor perches or owl nests nearby. However, this approach is not recommended if you have small animals in the yard that you’d like to keep there.
Create a barrier. Use bird netting on bushes with fruit or berries, shield ground crops with row covers, create an enclosure with chicken wire or even build a greenhouse to protect tempting treats from squirrels. Any fencing should be placed up to a foot into the ground to keep squirrels from digging under.
Use companion plants. Discourage squirrels by surrounding or inter-planting with varieties that they turn their noses up to, like mint, marigolds, nasturtiums, or mustard. You can also try crown imperial bulbs (Fritillaria), but it is recommended that you plant these far away from inhabited areas such as patios or porches because of their strong skunk-like smell.
Cover the ground. Squirrels don’t particularly like the feel of mulch (especially gravel) under their feet, so add it to garden beds. When used over newly planted bulbs, it can also help disguise the scent of the fresh bulbs. You might also try laying down aluminum foil.
Give them their own food. Although a disputed method, as this may end up attracting more, giving in to the little guys might just be an option. If you’ve got a large area, make them their own feeding ground that is well away from your garden beds. Use a squirrel feeder to feed them their own sunflower seeds, peanuts, and feed corn. Some gardeners go so far as to plant extra tomatoes to keep them satisfied and away from theirs. You may want to include some of the other squirrel deterrent methods above around bird feeders and garden beds, just in case.
Give them a drink. If squirrels are munching on your tomatoes or other juicy fruits or vegetables, they may just be thirsty. author of The Guide to Humane Critter Control, says, “During the growing season, provide the squirrels with a dish of fresh water…and the squirrels will probably leave those tomatoes for you to harvest.”
DOES CAYENNE PEPPER KEEP SQUIRRELS AWAY?
Yes, applying a mixture of cayenne or other chili peppers either in a spray or sprinkling around plants can deter squirrels. But, if it gets on their paws and they touch their eyes it can cause pain and even temporary blindness, so we recommend less harmful methods.
Signs that you have an infestation
Droppings – Often found in loft spaces. Squirrel droppings are larger and more rounded than a rats.
Sounds – Squirrels who nest inside buildings are usually noisy.
Sighting – They go outside their nest on a frequent basis to feed so you may see a squirrel entering or leaving an opening on your roof.
Damage – You may also notice gnaw damage
Problems caused by squirrels
Noise – grey squirrels occupying a loft space make can make a lot of noise. They will continuously run around the loft space in search for nesting materials.
Damage – squirrels are very strong, have sharp teeth and sharp claws. They can even chew through soft metals and hard wood and many other materials used in lofts and on roofing. Fascia boards, tiles, insulation materials and joists are often damaged by squirrel activity.
Squirrels are particularly stubborn when it comes to their dwellings and will be difficult to get rid of without professional help. Our treatment involves up to 3 visits over a 4 week period
The Homeowner’s Guide To Dealing With Squirrel Infestation
Squirrels may be cute, but no homeowner wants to share their house with them. Squirrels are one of the most common pests found in homes throughout the United States and they can put your property and your family at risk. Getting rid of squirrels is enough to make someone go nuts, but we have compiled a guide to help you stay sane when dealing with your current squirrel infestation.
Here are a few ways to remove squirrels from your home:
Traps and Cages
Dealing with squirrels in your home can be a time-intensive and expensive investment. Fortunately, there are a variety of ways one can go about dealing with a squirrel problem depending on your situation. Seeking assistance from a pest control professional shoud be the first thing you do.
Traps and Cages
You may be tempted to catch the squirrel with a pair of gloves, but we recommend using a type of cage or trap. It is also possible that trapping a squirrel in your state without a professional license is illegal.
There a number of different types of traps on the market, some of which work well for squirrels and some that don’t:
1) Body Grip Traps
Many wildlife removal experts DO NOT recommend using a body grip trap. Body grip traps are meant to be lethal and can leave you with a smelly carcass.
2) One-Way Door Cages
The one-way door cage goes at the site where a squirrel is gaining entrance into the home. The one-way door cage lets the squirrel exit the home without being able to re-enter. While this can help remove squirrels from your home, it’s not a long term solution as squirrels can usually chew new entrances into your home.
3) Live Bait Traps
A trap with bait is a humane alternative to body grip traps and is more effective than one-way door cages.These traps capture the squirrel without causing it harm, so that you can then let it go in the wild far away from your property. Instead of buying special squirrel bait, you can save money and use sunflower seeds, peanuts, or peanut butter from your local grocery store. This can be the most practical option to solve a squirrel infestation.
There are a few other options that you may consider when faced with a squirrel infestation. Frightening devices such as, strobe lights, radio noise, or ultrasonic sound producers may discourage squirrels in attics or other confined spaces. These techniques are rarely effective because the squirrels get used to the devices or may ignore the device if they have young to care for.