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How to Get Rid of Tree Squirrels (Both Inside & Outside Your Home)

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how to get rid of squirrels

While tree squirrels can be cute when they’re out in the wild, where they belong, they occasionally set up shop in your attic, wall voids, trees, or outside in your garden.

When they do, they quickly become a troublesome pest.

Fortunately, you’re not alone in your efforts.

Here at Pest Dude, we have more than 20 years of experience in the pest control industry, and we’ve combined our top tips into this comprehensive guide to help you send these pests packing.

Before You Get Started

Before you begin your DIY squirrel control, take the following steps to set the stage for a successful job:

  • Prioritize safety. Always wear protective gloves and clothing to prevent scratches or bites, which can lead to bacterial or viral infections. Additionally, you should never corner a squirrel since they’re more likely to bite when they feel threatened.
  • Gather your tools. If you plan to DIY squirrel removal, gather your tools ahead of time. Depending on the control methods you plan to use, you’ll need materials like metal screening, traps, baits, caulk, and more.
  • Know your local rules and regulations. In many places, squirrels are considered protected game animals, so it may not be legal to trap or kill them. With this in mind, check your local rules and regulations regarding squirrel control before you begin your management efforts.
  • Know when to hire a professional. If you need to remove a squirrel from your home, consider hiring a professional wildlife control service. They are trained to handle such situations safely and humanely – without damaging your house or property.

Keep in mind that all the tips we provide in this blog are to control tree squirrels. To get rid of ground squirrels, check out this complete guide.

How to Remove Tree Squirrels

tree squirrel trap

1. Set traps

Before you can focus on keeping squirrels out of your building, you’ve got to get them out of your building.

With that in mind, it’s time to set traps to manage squirrel populations.

Place the traps in high-traffic areas like the bases of trees, inside or outside the opening of attics (near entry points, if possible), and in or around your roof, where squirrels have been feeding or nesting.

For smaller tree squirrels, like red squirrels and flying squirrels, rat-sized snap traps will be effective.

To make your traps as effective as possible, bait them with nuts, sunflower seeds, orange slices, sweet corn, or oatmeal, but leave them unset for a few days.

This will help desensitize the squirrels to the trap and make them more effective once you set them.

Additionally, wire the bait to the traps to keep squirrels from stealing the food without tripping the trap.

Live traps are usually the best removal option if you’re dealing with larger squirrel species, like fox squirrels or gray squirrels.

These traps are also a great choice in districts that prohibit the use of kill traps against squirrels.

For best results, place baited traps (unset) with their doors wide open.

This allows squirrels to feed from them and get used to the traps.

Once you’ve set the traps, check them once or twice a day and remove all live-trapped animals as quickly as possible.

Never handle live-trapped squirrels since the risk of bites increases if you do.

Pro tip: NEVER use snap traps outside since they can kill non-target animals like birds. 

2. Identify and seal entry points

If you know that squirrels are getting into your building, but you’re certain they haven’t built a nest and don’t yet have babies, the next step to getting rid of them is to find and seal their access points.

You should ONLY undertake this step if you’ve removed all squirrels via trapping, and you’re sure you’re not going to have live squirrels inside your building once you’ve blocked all their entry and exit points.

With that in mind, here are a few places you should pay special attention to:

  • Utility lines
  • Drainpipes
  • Chimneys that do not have a chimney cap
  • Attic or basement windows or vents
  • Broken doors

Seal all existing openings with sheet metal or ½” hardware cloth to keep squirrels out.

3. Employ squirrel prevention tactics

Now that you’ve taken steps to manage your squirrel population do the following things to keep the critters from coming back:

  • Remove Food Sources: Remove bird feeders or use squirrel-proof models in your yard instead. Harvest fruit and nuts from trees as soon as they’re ripe to remove this food source.
  • Clean Your Yard: Regularly rake up leaves and remove brush piles that could provide nesting sites. Store firewood at least 20 feet from your house and five feet off the ground.
  • Trim Trees: Keep squirrels from getting into your home by pruning all tree limbs back until they’re at least 10 feet from the side of your house or building. This prevents squirrels from using the trees as a ladder to enter your home. You should also trim back ivy and ornamental plants that cling to or climb on the side of the house.
  • Install Squirrel Baffles. Install smooth metal bands on the trunks to keep squirrels out of the trees on your property. The bands should be 2 feet wide and about 3-4 feet above the ground.
  • Secure Your Trash: Since squirrels are capable of chewing through plastic, store your household trash in a metal trash can with a secure lid.
  • Use Squirrel Repellents: Consider using natural or chemical squirrel repellents around your property. These can be applied to plants, bird feeders, and other potential attractants.
  • Install Physical Barriers: Use metal mesh to block entry points to your home. Install tree collars to prevent squirrels from climbing trees and reaching bird feeders or your roof.

Pro tip: In many cases, it’s not possible to eliminate all the squirrels in your neighborhood, so it may be better to live trap them and release them outside, and then seal all their entry points in your building. Alternatively, you can use a “one-way squirrel door” that allows all the squirrels to get out but prevents them from getting back in. 

Methods to Avoid

Whatever you do, stay away from these dangerous and unproven methods of squirrel control:

Cats & dogs

While using household pets like cats and dogs to control tree squirrel populations may seem like a good idea, this isn’t the safest or most effective solution.

First, squirrels can carry diseases, such as rabies, that could be transmitted to your pets during encounters.

Furthermore, squirrels are known for their sharp claws and teeth, which they can use to defend themselves, posing a risk of injury to your pets.

Additionally, not all dogs or cats will naturally chase or deter squirrels, and those that do might end up causing more damage to your garden or landscaping in their pursuit than the squirrels themselves.

Finally, dogs and cats may disturb other wildlife or neighbors during their chases. Therefore, for the safety of your pets and the peace of your neighborhood, it’s best to consider other, more effective squirrel control methods.

Toxic baits

There are currently no toxicant baits registered to control tree squirrel populations.

While tree squirrels may occasionally eat anticoagulant bait blocks meant for rat and mouse control, this can cause different problems.

For one, squirrels nest in wall voids and other hard-to-reach areas. If they consume bait and die in these places, their bodies will be difficult or impossible to retrieve.

This can cause awful smells throughout your home and, during the warm months, the possibility that flesh flies will infest the carcasses.

Ultrasonic devices

Often marketed as a humane and easy solution to squirrel troubles, ultrasonic devices emit a high-frequency sound that claims to deter squirrels and other pests.

Unfortunately, there’s no concrete evidence to support the fact that these devices actually repel tree squirrels.

Since squirrels are known for their adaptability, they will likely grow accustomed to the noise over time, rendering the device ineffective.

Light strobes

Some companies have made bright flashing light strobes designed to repel squirrels, but they don’t work. Like ultrasonic devices, squirrels will just get used to them and continue going about their business. 

How do Wildlife Removal Companies Get Rid of Squirrels?

squirrel traps

If you need additional help removing squirrels, consider hiring a professional wildlife removal team.

Professional companies typically follow these steps:

Step 1: Inspection

The squirrel removal job will begin with a comprehensive property inspection. During this process, the team will visit your space, assess the severity of the current squirrel infestation, and discuss control options with you.

Step 2: Treatment

Next, the team will deploy their treatment method of choice. For tree squirrels, this will likely be a combination of exclusion and trapping.

Step 3: Follow-up

After the initial treatments, the team will provide follow-up treatments, as needed, to keep tree squirrels from creating further damage on your property.

Are Squirrels Destroying Your Property? We’re Here to Help

Don’t let tree squirrels damage your property or introduce dangerous diseases that could affect your pets and family!

Get rid of them with the proven squirrel control tactics we’ve listed in this blog.

If you need more help or your DIY efforts have failed, contact a reputable, local pest control company.

We offer an extensive network of reliable wildlife control companies that can help.

Click below to contact a local wildlife control company to help you get rid of squirrels quickly and easily, or call tel: (844)-532-0076.

FAQs

One of the most apparent indicators is the presence of noise, particularly scratching or scampering sounds, emanating from your attic or within your walls – a common location for squirrels to nest. 

Since squirrels are most active in the early morning and evening, their squeaking noises can be disruptive to your household. 

Other signs include finding small, round, brown droppings or spotting damage to your home’s exterior, such as gnawed wires, wood, or insulation. 

Squirrels also have a tendency to store food, so you may come across stockpiles of nuts or other food items. 

Lastly, frequent squirrel sightings, especially during the day when they are most active, may be an indication of a nearby nest.

Squirrels are primarily attracted to a yard because it provides them with food sources and potential nesting sites. 

Bird feeders, fruit-bearing trees, garden vegetables, and nut trees like oaks, hickories, and walnuts are irresistible food sources for these creatures. 

Additionally, cluttered yards with abundant leaves, brush piles, or stacks of firewood, as well as attics and spaces behind gutters, offer excellent potential nesting sites. 

Water sources in a yard, like a bird bath or a pet’s water bowl, can also be an attraction.

Squirrels can cause significant damage to homes and gardens.

In their quest for nesting materials and food, squirrels may chew through wood, wires, and insulation. They’re also known to gnaw on or through interior and exterior walls, as well as items you’ve stored in boxes or bins.

This can lead to structural damage, fire hazards due to exposed electrical wires, and reduced energy efficiency from damaged insulation. 

In the garden, squirrels can devastate crops by eating fruits and vegetables, digging up bulbs, and gnawing on trees and shrubs. They may also dig holes in the yard while burying food. 

As if that weren’t enough, the presence of squirrels can attract predatory animals to your yard, potentially leading to further pest problems. Finally, squirrels can cause ectoparasite problems, including ticks, lice, and mites, in their nesting areas.

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Author Bio: Zachary Smith

Zachary Smith is the founder of PestDude.com. Zachary is a licensed pest control professional with 20+ years of hands on experience eradicating pests from homes and businesses. Zachary earned his Bachelor of Science from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 2002. He specializes in rodent and insect infestation management of structures and landscapes. His passion is to share his extensive knowledge with the world.

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