How to Get Rid of a Squirrel
Squirrels are dangerous because they carry diseases. They also tend to be erratic and might not come out when they are invited into a home. Here are some ways to keep them away from your home:
Peppermint essential oil
To get rid of a squirrel, you can spray peppermint oil on cotton balls and put them in places where squirrels are active, such as in trees or shrubs with discarded nut shells. You can also fill a sheer nylon hose with peppermint oil and place it near their holes. The smell will keep them out of the area and will keep them from crossing it.
Another method is to sprinkle ground cinnamon around the perimeter of the garden or area where the squirrels should not walk. The cinnamon will eventually get washed away by the wind or rainwater. Or, you can use cinnamon oil in combination with peppermint oil. Mix cinnamon oil in equal parts with peppermint oil and dilute it with water and apply it where squirrels are. This repellent is stronger than cinnamon oil, but you may want to reapply it regularly.
If you’re having trouble with squirrels, copper mesh is an excellent option. Made of 100% copper, it is flexible enough to fit into cracks and holes around metal pipes or foundation vents. It’s ideal for preventing squirrels from chewing through the mesh, but be sure to use heavy gloves when handling it. Using expanding foam to trap squirrels will also prevent them from gnawing on the mesh.
In addition to installing a copper mesh fence, consider sealing any gaps or cracks around the house. Squirrels love to access the roof and foundation of a building, so seal any entry points. A good way to do this is by using a product such as Stuf-Fit Copper Mesh, which fits between caulk and the foundation. The mesh will prevent pest animals from chewing on the wires.
One effective way to keep out pests is to install motion-activated sprinklers. Sprinklers are usually attached to a garden hose, but you can also purchase a hose-free version. These systems use gallons of water to spray dozens of times per fill. Unlike other types of sprinklers, these models can be mounted anywhere. This is a great option if you have a squirrel infestation and want to keep the animals away from your property.
A motion-activated sprinkler will scare squirrels off your property by spraying water every time they move into range. These sprinklers have a ten-foot range and shoot upwards at a 45-degree angle. You can adjust the distance that the sprinkler sprays to avoid injuring a squirrel. While they do work well to scare away wildlife, they can also cause some damage. Regardless of the type of sprinkler you choose, make sure to select one with the right range and sensitivity.
To set a live trap to get rid of squirrels, place it in an area where they are most active. Bait the trap with an apple or other fruit, and then set it. Make sure you check the trap once or twice a day and replace the bait if necessary. The squirrel will be discouraged from coming near the trap if you check it frequently. Do not approach the trapped animal for more than 24 hours.
If you have noticed signs of squirrel activity, look for gnaw marks in fruit and vegetable gardens, and food crumbs in the attic. If you hear noises in the attic, check the shingles, and look for nests. If you notice any items that have chew marks, you should set a live trap. However, when setting the trap, wear gloves and be careful not to disturb the squirrel’s scent.
Planting squirrel plants
There are several ways to repel squirrels from your garden, and one of them involves planting certain types of flowering plants. You can plant hyacinth bulbs in areas where the squirrels are known to visit. Another way is to plant hyacinth in flower beds near your garden’s entry points. The secondary benefit of this plant is that it will provide a source of yearly blooms for your garden, as well as repelling the critters.
Another way to repel squirrels is to plant some plants that smell bad. For example, tulips smell like a snake and repel the animal by producing a pungent scent. In fact, horticulturists have compared the smell of tulip trees to that of a fox. These plants are poisonous and if eaten, can lead to cardiac arrest or dermatitis.
Pruning trees to keep squirrels at bay
If you’re concerned about squirrels, you might want to consider pruning your trees to keep them away. Trees with many branches are a prime target for squirrels because they love to access the nuts. To discourage squirrels from digging up your trees, consider using a squirrel baffle. These are designed to fit around the trunk of your trees and make it difficult for them to climb up. However, these don’t keep jumping squirrels from getting in.
You can also try to control squirrels by removing bird feeders and food sources. It’s also a good idea to move your pet food indoors and remove acorn-bearing trees. Lastly, consider pruning down any trees that overhang your roof or are close to telephone lines. These might make your garden less enticing to squirrels, but they can still gnaw on your trees and cause damage.
Jessica Watson is a PHD holder from the University of Washington. She studied behavior and interaction between squirrels and has presented her research in several wildlife conferences including TWS Annual Conference in Winnipeg.