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How To Get Rid of Squirrels

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Squirrels are cute, but they aren’t always harmless.

These rodents are invasive. They can damage the outside of your home, inside your home, garden, trees, and other areas around your home. 

Unfortunately, getting rid of these rodents can be overwhelming. They are sneaky and fast, making them hard to track and get rid of. 

Don’t worry. In this post, I will go over 10 different ways you can get rid of squirrels. 

Let’s dive in.  

1. One Way Door

One-way doors are very effective at getting rid of squirrels in confined places. I recommend using one-way doors on: 

  • Attics 
  • Crawlspaces 
  • Soffits 

One-way doors allow the squirrels to exit their hiding place, but they can’t enter. 

For this method to be effective, you must first thoroughly inspect the outside of your attic for entry points. Once all entry points, they should all be sealed except one entry point. 

At this entry point, you can install the one-way door. There are several ways you can seal potential entry points depending on the location. 

  • Steel wool 
  • Wire mesh 
  • Caulk

One-way doors are effective because naturally, squirrels leave their nest quite frequently. While they leave less during winter, they still leave to get food and water daily. 

You can use a small camera with motion activation on the outside of the trap and one inside the trap. These small cameras will help you determine how many squirrels there are and how many have left. 

In the past small camera like this were expensive but not they are cheaper than ever. You can get two motion-activated wireless cameras for less than $100.

2. Live Traps

Live traps are the most humane way of getting rid of squirrels. These traps will catch the squirrel without harming it. They typically use a one-way entry door or weight-activated system to catch squirrels. 

I recommend using a trap that can catch multiple squirrels at once. If you purchase a trap that can only hold one squirrel, you’ll miss the opportunity to catch other traps if it fills up. 

While squirrels might alone, there are typically many squirrels living in one area. For example, a study found that there were nearly 2,400 squirrels in Central Park in 2019. 

The most effective way to get a squirrel to enter the trap is to use bait. The effectiveness of your trap is highly dependent on the bait you use.

Here are some of the most effective squirrel bait you can use:

  • Peanut butter
  • Corn
  • Seeds 
  • Prunes
  • Cereal
  • Gains
  • Popcorn
  • Cheese
  • Unroasted peanuts
  • Sunflower seeds

If squirrels aren’t entering your traps, you might want to consider using a different bait until they start approaching your trap. 

When placing your bait, place a small piece of bait at the entrance. This will entice them to approach the trap.

You also need to add some bait, just beyond or on the trip mechanism. This will encourage them to trip the trap. 

If you are using a trap with bait, you also want to consider eliminating other food sources around the trap. If other food sources are more appealing to the squirrel, they won’t approach your trap. 

3. Snap Traps

Snap traps will kill squirrels similar to mouse or rat traps. This is not a human way of getting rid of squirrels, so you should avoid this method if you want to relocate the squirrels.

Before using snap traps, you want to make sure that it’s legal to kill squirrels where you live. Laws may vary by state and city. In most states, squirrels are considered game animals, and killing them is legal.

You might be required to get a permit, but in many states, if the squirrels are on your property, you can kill squirrels, but they must be disposed of properly.

Similar to live traps, you must use an effective bait to attract the squirrels. You can use the same bait you would use on a live trap.

Snap traps are dangerous. You must keep children and pets away from snap traps. Either keep children out of your yard or create a border to keep them safe.

One of the most advanced snap traps is the Goodnature A24. This trap is activated automatically and comes with a built-in bait cartridge that has been tested to attract rodents.

This trap is CO2-powered and can be placed outside and even mounted on trees. When the trap it’s an immediate guaranteed kill by breaking the neck of the squirrel.

4. DIY Squirrel Traps

Using homemade squirrels traps is a standard solution to catching and getting rid of squirrels. One of the most popular homemade traps is the bucket trap. 

This trap is easy and cheap to make.

what you need: 

  • Large Bucket 
  • 3′ – 4′ piece of wood 
  • Sunflower seeds 
  • Peanut Butter 
  • Once you have everything you need, you can start by filling up your bucket 3/4 with water. 

Then apply a thick layer of sunflower seeds to the top of the water. This will act as the bait. You can add a layer of peanut butter along the rim, right above the waterline, for some additional encouragement.

The squirrels will try to get the food and will fall into the bucket trapping them. Over time, they will drown and die. 

 

5. Use Repellents

Repellents are a great way of getting rid of squirrels. It’s most effective when it’s applied directly to the nesting area or around and on their food sources. 

For example, if you have a garden that the squirrels are feeding on. Apply repellent around the entire garden. Depending on the plants being grown, you can decide if you want to apply some to the plants and trees in your garden. 

You have two options when using repellents: natural repellents and chemical repellents. 

Natural Repellents

One of the most common sources of natural repellents is using spicy foods that contain capsaicin. Capsaicin is said to repel most rodents, including squirrels. 

You can use cayenne pepper and spread it over your garden or around your yard to keep squirrels away. 

Another common natural repellents that you can use is

  • Peppermint essential oil
  • Apple cider vinegar spray 
  • Garlic and vinegar spray 

Remember that these repellent options typically require much more frequent reapplication compared to chemical repellents. 

Chemical Repellents

There are not many chemical repellents specifically made for squirrels. But, chemical repellents for rodents such as squirrels or gophers are also effective against squirrels.

Chemical repellents can come in two various forms: liquid or granules.

When using liquid repellents, I recommend using a pressurized sprayer.

This will make it easy to apply repellents around your yard and home.

Some chemical repellents are applied using granules. Granules are small pellets that can be spread across your yard. Water is then applied to the surface to activate the repellent.

While chemical repellents last longer than natural repellents, they still need frequent reapplication. In most cases, chemical repellents will only last between one week and several weeks, depending on the weather.

Typically harsh weather conditions can cause the repellent to wear off sooner than one week.

6. Eliminate Food and Water Sources

You want to make your home as unappealing to squirrels as possible. One way you can do this is by eliminating any food and water sources. 

If there are no food and water sources around your home, there is no reason for squirrels to live around your home. 

This is especially true if you can eliminate potential nesting areas by sealing all entry points around your home. 

Some key food sources to eliminate around your home include: 

  • Bird Feeders 
  • Fruit trees 
  • Vegetable plants 
  • Nuts or Acorns 
  • Pet food
  • Naturally growing mushrooms, fungi, and berries 
  • Keep garbage cans sealed 

Some key water sources you want to eliminate from around your home include: 

  • Birdbaths 
  • Leaking pipes or water hoses 
  • Puddles or pools of water 
  • Pet water bowls 
  • Leaking sprinklers 
  • Exposed gutters or downspouts 

7. Motion Activated Sprinklers

Motion-activated sprinklers are a great way to drive squirrels away from your home. You can place them around your yard.

Any squirrel that crosses the barrier will initiate the sprinkler and drive squirrels away.

This is a great way to protect your garden from being attacked and damaged by squirrels. You can place these around key areas around your home to protect it from squirrels.

These are beneficial because I will also protect your home from other rodents such as skunks, raccoons, and possums.

Motion-activated sprinklers are not a solution that works on its own. It should be paired with other techniques or tools to keep squirrels away from your house.

If you have trees around your home, this is an easy way that squirrels can get past motion-activated sprinklers.

Trees are primarily an issue when they are large and hang over your home or other areas you want to protect from squirrels.

This type of concern is particularly concerning when there are flying squirrels where you live. These squirrels will jump from trees and glide to areas that they want to get food from.

8. Decoys

Another common way to deter squirrels is by using a decoy. Decoys are small statutes or motion activates models. These are most effective if they are shaped like a squirrel predator.

Some of the most common decoys you can find are owls and hawks. These are great deterrents because, naturally, squirrels will avoid their predators.

9. Use Poison (Rodentcides)

Before using poison on squirrels, you must make sure it’s legal to kill squirrels where you live. In certain states, killing squirrels may be illegal or require a license.

When using poison on squirrels, you can use the same poison used on rats and squirrels. When using bait on squirrels, it’s best to use bait stations.

Bait station will protect the bait from the elements and also only allow smaller animals to eat the bait. If there are other animals around your yard, such as raccoons or dogs, they won’t have access to the poison.

There are two types of poison you can use: slow-acting and fast-acting.

Types of Poison

Slow-acting bait is popular and effective because the rodents can spread it to other members. These baits require multiple feedings and can take up to seven days to take effect.

Fast-acting poison typically takes effect within 24 hours.

 

Disadvantages

Before you begin using poison to get rid of squirrels, there are a few disadvantages.

First, squirrels don’t always eat bait immediately. They can store it for later, and this means they won’t die until they eat it.

Another downside is that squirrels may not always find the food appealing or attractive, especially if other food sources are present.

When using poison, clean the area around your home. Eliminate any potential food sources. This will make the poison more attractive to squirrels and encourage them to eat it.

It’s also ideal to position your bait where squirrels frequent. This will make it more likely that they encounter and eat the bait.

10. Introduce Predators

Another natural way of getting rid of squirrels is by introducing natural squirrel predators to the area.

Natural predators will help remove squirrels naturally and could also prompt squirrels to nest somewhere else.

Many squirrel predators cause much of the same damage to your gardens and homes.

For example, you could introduce raccoons or snakes to your yard, but they are not a much better alternative to squirrels.

Birds such as hawks and owls are some of the best predators to introduce near your home without damaging your garden and imposing additional dangers.

Other great predators you can introduce are weasels or ferrets. These animals have a fast metabolism, which requires them to eat often. They are also small and fast, making hunting and catching squirrels easy.

If you are aware of the squirrel’s nests’ location, you can also release corn snakes into your yard and nests.

These are non-venomous snakes that rarely bite humans and can quickly eat squirrels and will do so frequently.

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