Who Needs a Nutty Neighbour? How to Deter Squirrels from Your Yard
Squirrel Removal – A squirrel may be a charming animal to spot in your yard, being intelligent, inquisitive, and seemingly full of fun. Unfortunately, like any visitor it can easily outstay its welcome. If it takes up residence within the bounds of your property you could be heading for trouble, as it’s a fine line between mischievousness and trouble-making – and it’s a line that squirrels cross all too easily.
When a squirrel starts to feel at home in your garden it can quickly begin to wreak havoc.
- They’ll often dig up plants and bulbs, whether or not they’re planting nuts for the winter.
- They enjoy stripping bark from trees with potentially terminal results.
- In search of food, they think nothing of destroying birds’ nests, including any eggs and chicks they contain.
It’s even worse if squirrels decide to live within the structure of your home.
- Their digging habits cause damage to attic insulation and roofing.
- Chewed-through wiring will cause electrical problems, including the risk of house fire.
- Damaged water pipes can cause flooding and are expensive to repair.
Clearly, sharing your home with a squirrel – or even worse, a family of them – is something to avoid. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s important to get professional help to deal with the problem efficiently and humanely. Trying to remove the invaders yourself is fraught with difficulty – squirrels can nest in difficult to reach places, they can be aggressive if cornered, and if you succeed in only scaring the rodents away they’ll quickly return, possibly bearing a grudge. Far better to call in the experts.
However, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so what can you do to deter squirrels from becoming residents in the first place?
Squirrels hate the taste and smell of strong spices such as cayenne pepper, so sprinkle this or chili powder liberally around the areas you’ve spotted the enemy frequenting. You can even give your bird feeders a dusting – your garden’s avian inhabitants can’t taste the heat of chili, and it causes them no harm, but it will make a squirrel think twice about snacking on the bird food you leave out.
Don’t Give Squirrels a Free Lunch
When a squirrel first appears, you may be tempted to feed him, especially if he seems to be adorably tame. This is a serious mistake – like any wild animal, squirrels love a free lunch, and will be back for more. And they’ll probably bring their friends.
Netting, and a Battle of Wills
If the squirrels are particularly keen on the berries or fruits of a specific plant in your yard, using netting to block access can be effective, but only in the short term. Squirrels are famously good at solving problems, and you’ll likely end up in a constant arms race of upgrading your protective measures, only to suffer inevitable defeat.
A Shower a Day… Keeps the Squirrels Away
If your local regulations allow it, setting up a sprinkler system to give your garden visitors an occasional, unpredictable shower can be a powerful squirrel deterrent. It is also very effective against unwelcome neighbourhood felines, although the bird population will be highly grateful for their new bathing facilities.
Keep a Tidy Yard to Deter Squirrels
Finally, if your yard is full of nooks and crannies where squirrels can hide from danger, or covered in dense undergrowth which can serve as a larder, then consider giving it a thorough tidying. A more shipshape yard will usually lead to a sparser squirrel population.
Unfortunately, all these measures may ultimately be in vain. Squirrels are nothing if not persistent and adaptable, and if one is determined to become your nutty neighbour then seeking help with humane removal may be the only effective option.