Updated On

July 8, 2024

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    Squirrels may seem cute and fluffy, but they can also cause a lot of damage to your home, garden, and even your health. If you’re interested in learning how to get rid of squirrels in your yard, you’re in the right place. You can start getting rid of squirrels by removing their food sources, using an ultrasound squirrel repellant, or using a motion-detecting water spray. For the full list of methods for getting rid of squirrels, keep reading below.

    If your squirrel problem gets out of hand and you need professional help, I recommend Orkin, Terminix, or Aptive. These pest control experts have some of the best-trained professionals who use traps, baits, and other chemically treated solutions that are often more effective than standard DIY methods. Get a quote from some of our top pest control companies below.

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    What Types of Squirrels Are There?

    Squirrels may all seem the same, but there are actually quite a few different types, depending on what region you live in. Common types of squirrels in the United States include:

    • Fox squirrels
    • Gray squirrels
    • Flying squirrels
    • Ground squirrels
    • American Red Squirrel
    • Douglas Squirrels

    Whether you want to get rid of ground squirrels, fox squirrels, gray squirrels, or any other type of squirrel, you can all try the methods laid out in this article.

    How To Get Rid of Squirrels

    Squirrels are tricky pests, but you don’t need to be a professional exterminator to get rid of them. Here are our top tips on how to get rid of squirrels:

    Use Ultrasound To Repel Squirrels

    Squirrels are susceptible to noise, especially at high-pitched frequencies, which is why ultrasonic squirrel repellents can help to ward off squirrels from your yard. Humans can’t hear the noise from these sonic squirrel repellents, but they can be effective on squirrels. However, be aware that your pets may be able to hear the noise, so this method could negatively affect them.

    Try a Motion-Detector Water Spray

    Squirrels don’t like to be shocked by water, so you can use a motion-detector water spray or motion-activated sprinkler to scare squirrels off your yard. The motion sensor sprinkler system will detect motion from squirrels and give them a surprise rinse-off, causing them to run away.

    Scare Them Away With Your Pet

    If you have a dog or cat, consider letting them out for some extra outdoor time. Many dogs and cats are protective of their territory and will happily chase after squirrels. Dogs are especially great at barking at squirrels and giving them a scare.

    Use Plastic Owls

    You can place plastic owls around your property (on fence posts, the roof, etc.) to scare squirrels out of your yard. Owls are natural predators of squirrels, so plastic owls can trick a squirrel into staying clear of your property.

    Repel Squirrels With Natural Deterrents

    Squirrels generally dislike the smell of mint and peppermint, so try using peppermint essential oil near plants in your garden (but not directly on plants you plan on eating) to keep squirrels away. Squirrels also dislike the smell of cayenne pepper and capsaicin, so you can make a DIY solution of half water and half cayenne pepper to spray on plants and around the house to repel squirrels.

    Remove Food Sources

    Squirrels are typically on your property searching for food, so they’re unlikely to stick around if you cut off their food source. Keep up on your landscaping and clean up any fallen fruit, nuts, etc. You should also keep squirrels away from your bird feeder by getting a squirrel-proof bird feeder.

    Seal off All Entry Points

    Take a look around your property and look for cracks, crevices, and torn window screens. Replace window screens and fill in cracks, gaps, or crevices with a caulking product to prevent pests from entering your home.

    Shoot Them

    This is not a very effective way to deal with a squirrel problem, especially if you live within the city limits. However, depending on your location and the area’s laws and regulations, you may be able to shoot at squirrels.

    Pest Management or Animal Control?

    If you’re considering hiring professionals to help with your squirrel problem, you may have gotten confused when deciding between a pest control service or an animal control service. These industries are similar, and in some cases, their services can overlap. Many pest control companies will handle small rodents as well as insects, but not all do. Pest control companies normally focus on spraying or trapping pests that are small in nature.

    However, animal control services handle a large assortment of animals, including birds, bats, squirrels, groundhogs, snakes, mice, skunks, raccoons, and more. In many cases, this can include catching or tranquilizing larger animals for a more humane removal. If you’re looking to hire professionals, consider both wildlife control or wildlife removal companies as well as standard pest control companies.

    How to Keep Squirrels Away

    It’s always easier to prevent squirrels from becoming a problem than to deal with an infestation later. Here are our top tips on how to keep squirrels away:

    • Get a squirrel-proof bird feeder — Squirrels are attracted to birdseed and will raid a bird feeder if given a chance. If you plan to feed birds birdseed or put up a bird feeder, look for a squirrel-proof option. These feeders usually have a surrounding cage that squirrels can’t get through but still allow birds to feed.
    • Choose plants that squirrels hate — Squirrels will eat most plants, but they dislike the taste of daffodils, snowdrops, hyacinths, and allium. Planting these bulbs is a great way to help deter squirrels from the surrounding plants because of their strong scent.
    • Block squirrels from entering your property Squirrels love to walk on utility wires, so try placing lightweight plastic pipes around non-electrical wires. This will cause squirrels walking on the wires to fall, preventing them from using this as a means of entry.
    • Try strong-smelling squirrel repellents — Soaking rags in ammonia and putting them on your tree branches can help repel squirrels. There are also various predator urine products that can be used to scare squirrels away from your property.
    • Use a squirrel trap with bait Purchase a squirrel trap and place it outside. Use an effective squirrel bait, such as peanuts, peanut butter, or sugary sweets, inside the squirrel trap to attract them. Please check with your local laws first because different areas have regulations about trapping wild animals.
    • Remove easy access to your attic — Squirrels are incredible climbers, so it’s crucial that you prevent access to your roof to get rid of squirrels in the attic. The best way to do this is to remove tree branches that are in contact with your roof so squirrels can’t jump onto your home and get into your crawl space.
    • Build a fence — If you choose to build a fence, make sure it is at least 30 inches high and goes six inches below the ground with wire mesh to prevent ground squirrels and chipmunks from entering. An electric fence is another good option for deterring squirrel activity.
    • Seal off all trash cans and garbage Trash can attract squirrels and many other wildlife pests. Make sure you regularly empty your trash cans, clean the inside and outside of your trash cans, and ensure trash cans are tightly sealed so critters can’t get inside.
    • Place chicken wire around flower bulbs — Use chicken wire to wire mesh to protect your flower bulbs from being dug up by squirrels.

    How To Identify Squirrels

    Squirrels and chipmunks are often confused for one another, even though their physical differences are pretty stark. They’re both common yard pests that are part of the Sciuridae family, also known as the squirrel family. However, they should be dealt with in different ways, which is why identification is important.

    Squirrels are typically grayish and have a prominent, bushy tail, while chipmunks are characterized by a shorter, flat tail and a distinct stripe on their back.

    Chipmunks live in the ground, while squirrels are tree lovers who live in holes in trees left by woodpeckers. They create nests made up of twigs, moss, leaves, and other materials packed into these holes. In general, squirrels prefer to live high up in trees, while chipmunks create burrows in the ground. Squirrels are also notably bigger than chipmunks and can be up to 20 inches long and weigh a pound and a half.

    Today’s Homeowner Tips

    Squirrels can spread diseases to humans via a bite or saliva, so they can be dangerous. Squirrel bites are rare, but it’s best to seek immediate medical attention for your injury if you’re bitten.

    The larger health risk that squirrels pose to us is their habit of chewing up wires. If they get into our cars or homes, they’re likely to damage wiring with their constant chewing, which can present a severe fire hazard to anyone living within the house.

    Signs of a Squirrel Infestation

    Squirrels can be challenging to get rid of, but sometimes, they can be hard to spot in your yard. So, how do you know if you have a squirrel infestation? Here are some tell-tale signs to look out for:

    • Squirrel droppings (feces)
    • Squirrel nests
    • Strange odors
    • Damage to your garden, flowers, or fruit trees
    • Spotting an increasing number of squirrels
    • Gnawed wires (even inside cars parked outside)
    • Strange noises, such as scratching in the attic or walls
    • Damaged entry points (likely due to chewing)
    • Damage to roofing, ductwork, or insulation
    • Spilled bird seed from your bird feeder

    What attracts squirrels to my home?

    Squirrels mainly venture into homes in search of food. While they may also be on the lookout for easy areas to use for warmth or shelter, food is the number one motivator for squirrels to take over your home instead of outdoor spaces.

    Here are some foods that squirrels generally love to eat:

    • Nuts
    • Trees
    • Acorns
    • Fruits
    • Flowers
    • Vegetables
    • Fungi
    • Plants
    • Insects
    • Remnants of human food
    • Sugary treats
    • Birdseed
    • Dog or cat food
    • Wild eggs

    Your best bet in preventing squirrels is to get rid of their access to easy food sources, since these foods will keep squirrels coming back to your property. If you’re continuing to have a squirrel infestation problem, reach out to a local pest control professional to have your situation assessed and figure out how much squirrel removal costs.

    Final Thoughts on How To Get Rid of Squirrels

    It can be difficult to get rid of squirrels, but it’s not impossible using DIY pest control methods. Still, these methods aren’t foolproof. If you’ve tried all the methods above and your squirrel problem still won’t go away, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of the best pest control companies for help.

    When in doubt, the simplest solution is often the best. Leave your problems to the professionals and get a quote from a local pest control specialist below.

    Get Free Pest Control Estimates
    Connect with local pest control professionals near you.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Do squirrels have any natural predators that can keep their population down?

    According to the National Park Service, predatory birds, foxes, coyotes, bobcats, mountain lions, raccoons, domestic cats, and snakes are all natural predators of squirrels. However, predators don’t normally affect squirrel populations very much.

    Can I squirrel-proof my outdoor electrical wires and cables?

    Yes, you can. The easiest way to do this is by covering your wires with PVC piping. Covering your wires can help deter squirrels from getting onto your property and causing damage to your home and garden.

    Are ultrasonic devices effective in repelling squirrels?

    Ultrasonic devices can help repel squirrels, but they’re not foolproof. Their effectiveness depends on a lot of factors, including but not limited to the size of the area, the number of devices used, and the number of squirrels.

    Will squirrel repellants work for all types of squirrels?

    While there are many different types of squirrels, they’re all fairly similar, so you should be able to use the same methods for getting rid of them all. However, there are always exceptions to the rule. For example, fences and sprays on the ground won’t work for a flying squirrel, so try to identify the type of squirrels you have before deciding on a way to get rid of them.

    Editorial Contributors
    avatar for Mitchell Layton

    Mitchell Layton

    Mitchell Layton is a former professional mover who currently lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Mitchell spent years packing and moving for REAL Rock N Roll Movers, a commercial and residential moving company based in Los Angeles that’s primarily staffed with up-and-coming musicians. That gave him plenty of experience navigating box trucks up and down the winding streets of LA. In addition to moving hundreds of happy customers into new homes and apartments all across Southern California, Mitchell has also performed corporate moves on company lots for Nickelodeon, Warner Bros, Universal Studios, Paramount, and more. After pouring blood, sweat, and tears into his profession, Mitchell has all the helpful tips you need for your next move.

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