Squirrels are a very common nuisance animal and, as cute as they appear, can cause a number of different conflicts with homeowners. Grey squirrels and tree squirrels will steal fruit from fruit trees and food from bird feeders, while ground squirrels will eat all of your flowers, damage vegetables and dig up lawns looking for food. Worse yet, squirrels have a unique desire to live inside of buildings where they can create fire hazards from chewing up wiring and bringing in nesting items.
There are two ways to deal with squirrels, besides killing them (check your local laws for restrictions on that). You can repel them from your yard by making your garden undesirable as a food source, or trapping and removing them. NOTE: we do not recommend poison to control squirrels. (Assuming that is legal in your immediate area – check your laws.) It’s too easy to accidently poison someone’s pet.
The first method involves spraying a non-toxic, bad tasting repellent on your non-edible plants. The squirrels will associate your plants with a foul taste and eventually leave. For vegetables and fruits, you can use a predator repellent to scare away the squirrels. These usually contain coyote, fox or mountain lion urine.
The second method is to trap the squirrels with a humane trap. These traps have spring-loaded doors with sensitive triggers to make safe, secure and sensitive catches. The easiest way to trap squirrels is to place unshelled peanuts, sunflower seeds or pieces of fruit inside the trap.
One or more of these traps should be set and placed in areas frequented by the squirrels you wish to catch, or along paths they commonly use. If you opt for live release, captured squirrels should be released far away, some say as far away as seven miles, in order to ensure they do not return. For the sake of your fellow gardeners, please try to release them in the wild, not next to someone else’s home. Again, check your local laws – they can vary from place to place.
Remember that there’s no point trapping squirrels in any place where there is a consistent food source such as bird feeders or vegetable gardens because replacements will soon arrive attracted by the source of food. Squirrels re-produce rapidly so don’t delay; embark on a squirrel control strategy today!