Most homes deal with rodents at one time or another. However, the same techniques that work for smaller animals like mice, or even rats, aren’t necessarily as ideal for very large rodents, such as squirrels. Like mice, squirrels are drawn to homes and yard areas by the easy access to food and shelter. While many people find squirrels romping on their property to be very cute and endearing, they can actually be unsanitary, dangerous and a major pestilence. By following this advice, however, you can get rid of squirrels, keeping them out of your home, yard and garden.
The most common type of squirrel seen in residential areas is the gray squirrel. Squirrels can have young year round, meaning that they are in constant need of sheltered nesting space. If there is a hollow tree in the vicinity, they may favor that for their nesting site. However, they are equally as likely, especially around people, to use an indoor space, such as an attic, basement, crawl space or shed. This is usually the situation that leads to needing to get rid of squirrels. In addition, if squirrels do get inside a home, they are quickly drawn to any available sources of food. Don’t be surprised if you walk in the door to see a streak running in the other direction.
One of the best ways to get rid of squirrels is to trap them. This allows you to capture the active rodent and move them to a more suitable location. Live traps can be purchased at any hardware or farm store. These are baited and then set in the areas where you have seen the most squirrel activity. If you can find the access point, leave the trap there. Make sure that the trap is not too large; squirrels may not have sufficient weight to trigger the trip. In addition, if you wish to humanely release the squirrel after capture, make sure that you place the trap in a shaded location or the animal may die from heat exposure.
This technique can work to get rid of squirrels, but more attention to detail is needed to ensure that it is done properly. Obviously, if you can find where the squirrel is getting into your property, you can block these holes at any time. However, the last thing you want to do is block the squirrel inside your home. When blocking entrances, always make sure that you have actually seen the squirrel leave. You can then board over the hole or block it with a rock or brick. While filling the area in with dirt can deter the squirrel temporarily, they will most certainly dig out the spot again. Also, don’t forget openings that you might not think of, such as the chimney hole; a squirrel can easily shimmy down this space. Putting a mesh screen over this may stop the intrusion.
It is more difficult to keep squirrels out of your garden than your home. You can, of course, trap and relocate as discussed above. You can also use a pepper spray or other squirrel-specific deterrent to discourage the rodents from eating your crops. Finally, you might want to consider putting up a fence, burying some chain mesh a foot or so underground. This may not completely stop the intrusion, but it will make access more difficult.
Cleaning Up the Mess
Once you have ensured that the offending rodent is no longer in your home or yard, you will want to locate the nest and do some clean-up. Be aware that you might be stumbling upon babies during this process, so be prepared to take care of them as well. If you leave the youngster, they could possibly live, beginning the process all over again. Some people hire professional exterminators to clean up the nest site, as it can be quite a dirty and smelly job.