Squirrels are rather harmless outside, nesting in the trees and minding their own business. Inside, however, they are highly destructive. Squirrels that have broken into attics will make a mess of the insulation and chew on cables, costing hundreds or thousands in repairs. They contaminate the home with droppings and urine, spreading odour and disease. The sooner you can get rid of the squirrel in your house, the better.
The following lists how you can get rid of squirrels humanely and keep them from coming back.
1. Call a Professional for Humane Removal
The safest and most effective way to get rid of squirrels is to hire a professional. A certified wildlife technician can tell you where the squirrels are coming from and remove them effectively. He or she will install a one-way door to the entrance of the squirrel’s nest, then give the animal some time to leave on its own. The one-way door swings outward, letting the animal out, while blocking its return. If there are babies in the nest, the professional will wait a few more weeks for the babies to grow.
Attempting to remove squirrels yourself could result in injury. Squirrels are defensive animals that will bite or scratch when they feel threatened. Trapping and relocating these animals is also illegal in most places. Call a professional for humane squirrel removal.
2. Exclude the Roof
When getting rid of squirrels, it is important that you seal and block off all potential entry points. Squirrels are persistent, and they will come right back to their nesting site if they can. A squirrel that chewed through a roof vent, for example, may get back into the attic by chewing through a gap in the side of the roof.
Ask the wildlife technician you hired if they can exclude your roof for you. Most professionals offer guaranteed exclusion services in addition to removal. The areas you will want to seal include the roof vents, chimneys, plumbing vents, drip line, and corners where the soffits meet the roof below. Covering and strengthening these areas with steel mesh will prevent any more squirrels from chewing their way into the attic.
3. Use Apple Cider Vinegar and Other Natural Repellents
Squirrels and many other animals fear the smell of apple cider vinegar because it is similar to a predator’s urine. Pour some vinegar into a spray bottle and spray the area surrounding the squirrel’s entry point. You can also soak some rags in apple cider vinegar and lay them down near the entry point. To keep squirrels out of the garden, try diluting one part apple cider vinegar with 3 parts water and spraying the edges of your garden beds.
Other natural deterrents include cayenne pepper, peppermint, and garlic. Try sprinkling cayenne pepper or spraying a peppermint solution around the garden to keep squirrels out. Mix a few drops of peppermint oil with a cup of water and add a drop of dish soap. Alternatively, you can simply soak some cotton balls in peppermint oil and place them around the garden.
4. Set Up an Electronic Deterrent
There is a myriad of electronic animal deterrents available online and in hardware stores. Check out motion-activated deterrents that spray water or that let out ultrasonic alarms. Place one or two in areas you do not want to see squirrels, such as the vegetable garden or edge of the roof. The deterrent will go off when a squirrel comes near, scaring it away from the yard and preventing it from building another nest in the attic.
5. Remove Sources of Food
Squirrels like to nest in homes where there is food nearby. If you want to stop squirrels from coming back, get rid of as many food sources as you can. Remove the bird feeder or switch to one that hangs far up and away from any branches. Cover your produce in mesh and lay a hardware cloth under the topsoil of bulbs and other plants that squirrels like to dig up. Use lidded garbage cans and keep them clean to remove odours. Always clean up after a meal outside and try not to leave any spilled food on the ground. Squirrels are omnivores that will enjoy most of the things you eat.
6. Trim Tree Branches
Branches and cables help squirrels get from one roof to the next. Though you can’t trim cables, you can make sure that you don’t have any tree branches hanging over the roof. Cutting these a few feet away from the roof will help keep squirrels away from the attic while reducing the number of leaves that fall into the gutters. You’ll also reduce your risk of having a branch fall onto the roof, causing extensive damage.
7. Maintain the Home’s Exterior
Squirrels are wild animals that prefer to nest in quiet, overgrown areas where they feel safe. It is therefore a good idea that you keep the yard tidy. Stay on top of your landscaping duties and mow the lawn on a regular basis. Pull weeds, rake the leaves, and empty the gutters every fall. Trim your hedges and move piles of firewood away from the walls of the home. Reduce clutter and always pick up fruit when they fall to the ground.
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