We see them on the street, running on tree branches, and we point them out because they look adorable while they’re scampering around.
They’re not adorable. They’re little villains plotting against your yard. Squirrels can be extremely devastating to your home and yard, which is why we’ve thrown this guide together to tell you why they’re not good for your yard, and how to get rid of them.
We’ll talk about squirrel repellent, natural ways to deter them, and the common areas that they like to hang out. The goal here it to avoid property damage at all costs, and ensure your home doesn’t endure major, long-term problems.
Why Even Worry About Squirrels?
They cause property damage. It sounds silly when you think about a little squirrel doing all that harm, but it’s true.
Squirrels can nest and create huge dollar signs in your future. Nests lead to infestations of dozens of squirrels at the same time, and then that leads to siding, wiring, and insulation issues.
Squirrels can chew through PVC piping, which is commonly found in most new home models over the last three decades. Beyond that, they’re also able to chew through wood framing, and they’ll do it regularly.
They use this, coupled with your insulation, to make nests for more squirrels. You know what sucks about this?
Insurance doesn’t cover it.
The only way your insurance is going to cover anything squirrel-related is if you end up with an electrical fire as the direct result of a squirrel eating through your wiring, which you wouldn’t even be able to attribute to the squirrel due to the damage of the fire. Basically, insurance doesn’t care.
Electrical wiring damage, siding damage, roofing, insulation, and framing – they’re like termites with little teeth, except they go through more than wood. If you have a squirrel problem, you need to remedy that right now.
As extensive as I just laid it out, the property damage that squirrels can cause is even more drastic.
They’re actually pretty smart creatures, believe it or not, and they will always find a way back to a nest that they made. If that’s in the walls of your home and you fix the problem, they’ll come back to either reclaim their nest, or make a new one.
Property damage extends beyond your home, though.
They can (and will) eat through wiring that connects to the street, which is thousands of dollars to get repaired, and they’ll annihilate your vegetable gardens. While they don’t do much in terms of lawn damage, everything else that adds up is pretty extensive.
If you’re growing a garden, they’re going to eat the tops off your carrots and dig out those seeds that you just planted. Enough squirrels in one space means that they need to forage for more food than just one little furball can fit in their cheeks.
They end up taking so much. If you aren’t growing a garden, you might notice wild vegetation disappearing from your lawn, most notably in the form of little pothole-looking dig-ins in the grass. This isn’t the most extensive damage, but they will tear your yard up.
Are you a fan of making bird feeders and hanging them up?
Squirrels will find a way to get into them. They’ll not only go after the bird seed, but as we’ve talked about, they’ll eat wooden framing. You can expect that they’ll do the exact same thing to the wood that your bird feeder is made out of.
How often do you use your shed outside?
Some people will store their ride-on inside, use it once every two weeks, and that’s about it. That’s good – you’re at least going into it frequently so you can make sure no squirrels are nesting.
But if your shed is just sitting there doing nothing, squirrels are going to gnaw their way through that wood, use it for bedding, and make themselves right at home. This isn’t as apparent as you would think simply because a shed is a much smaller construct than a home.
Squirrels tend to tunnel underneath roof shingles as well, so they’ll find one small weak spot (which most likely will not be visible to you if you aren’t actively seeking it out), and they can enter and exit your shed at will this way. Protect your sheds.
Now that you know just what these little pests can do, it’s time to repel them. You have a few options at your disposal, and while I can’t tell you which will be most effective for your particular setup, I will say that traps tend to be the most effective from an objective standpoint.
You don’t want to hurt nature. That’s okay. After all, they’re considered nature’s gardeners, and constantly move seeds and brush around. They actually have a purpose (just not on your property).
Natural options for removing squirrels from your property, or at least deterring them, include the following:
- Hot Pepper Plants: Not your garden variety green bell pepper. Planting hot pepper plants deters a whole bunch of pests from coming on your property, but especially squirrels. Their heightened sense of smell really does a number on them in this department.
- Garlic: Garlic is very acidic and off-putting to squirrels. You don’t need to plant a lot of it, but if you do, it’s a surefire way to get them out of any nests and off your property. They just can’t handle the smell.
- Vinegar Spray: Squirrels absolutely detest the scent of vinegar, to absolutely no end. If you spray vinegar in key areas on the outside of your home where you think they might be nesting or attempting to get into your home through the framing, it will help.
Now, while not natural in the sense of organic matter, there are a few other harmless things you can do to keep squirrels away.
- Statues: Stone statues, particularly ones that emulate an animal, are known to deter squirrels. They’re intelligent, but not that intelligent. Lion statues will be able to get the job done just right.
- Motion Lights: These are triggered when squirrels run by and it scares the heck out of them. While these only work at night, they’re not a bad idea if you’re worried about squirrels at all times. If you’re getting over an infestation, then these will help keep them away.
- High Frequency Noise Machine: This isn’t something that’s very audible to you and I, but squirrels have a sensitive sense of hearing. This sound basically digs into their ears and makes them head for the hills without causing permanent damage.
Some squirrel traps are lethal, some simply catch squirrels so you can release them into the wild (far away from your home). It’s really up to you.
The common kind of squirrel that we get here in North America isn’t on any endangered species list or anything, so you don’t have to worry about buying a lethal squirrel trap and running into any legal problems.
Traps can be expensive, and if you plan on taking the humane route, you’re going to have to check them very frequently. Otherwise you could end up with dead squirrels anyway.
Some traps can poison squirrels, some can electrocute them; it’s up to you. I personally don’t like taking that route, but it’s an option.
Netting is a great solution to patch things up after you use a natural remedy, like vinegar or planting hot peppers, to keep squirrels from coming back at a later date.
Place netting around anything that’s attracting squirrels. You can use this in your attic after you get rid of an infestation, or you can block up any areas that they’ve been coming into/exiting through so they can’t continue to nest.
Netting might be used as a temporary solution if you want to hire an exterminator to come to your home. It’s cheap, and if you install it correctly, it can act like a band-aid solution in the meantime.
Either way, I recommend planting natural squirrel deterrents, as well as inspecting your home and ensuring there’s no further structural issues where they could be coming in through.
Get Those Pests Out ASAP
Squirrels are property damage waiting to happen. One or two from time to time isn’t a big deal (you can’t possibly evade every single one of them), just so long as they don’t linger.
Natural deterrents are great for the long haul, but any current damage needs to be covered up or fully repaired to help prevent further infestation.
With this handy little guide, you’ll have everything you need to keep them away. To protect your assets, ensure that you’re vigilant every single season and maintain whatever methods you’ve chosen to repel squirrels.