How To Get Rid of Squirrels? | Squirrel Control Methods

Written by Thomas Matthews

When you have squirrels in your walls, garden, garage, attic, or chicken coop, you have a problem. Squirrels gnaw wood and wires, drive birds away from your feeder, and carry diseases like tularemia, typhus, and even bubonic plague!

How to get rid of squirrels? To get rid of squirrels, use traps, fumigation, or repellents, or trim branches and plug holes to make it more difficult for squirrels to enter your property. What keeps squirrels away may depend on the kind of squirrel or the damage it’s causing, and multiple methods may be necessary.  

Keep reading to learn some of the best ways to get rid of squirrels and the best squirrel removal products. Whether you have squirrels in your house, garden, or bird feeder, this article has a way to make the squirrels go away! 

Squirrel Information

What Is a Squirrel?

Squirrel Information

A squirrel is a rodent, taxonomically of the Sciurus genus and Sciuridae family, with a distinguishing characteristic of a bushy tail that is long and flexible. The squirrel family also includes chipmunks, groundhogs, ground squirrels, and prairie dogs.

How Long Do Squirrels Live?

Some squirrels live up to twenty years or longer, with an average lifespan ranging from ten to eighteen years. The grey squirrel and fox squirrel may reach these long lifespans, particularly if held in captivity. Squirrels living in the wild have a life expectancy as short as one to two years. 

These figures vary between species and may be altered by the environment also. For instance, the mean life expectancy for a newborn Eastern gray squirrel is between one and two years. Once they become adults, these squirrels generally live around six years. Still, the longest recorded lifespan for an Eastern gray squirrel is twelve years in the wild and twenty years in captivity. 

Where Do Squirrels Live?

Where Do Squirrels Live

Squirrels live on every continent except Antarctica and Australia. Tree squirrels and flying squirrels live in wooded areas, while ground squirrels are found in deserts, prairies, parks, hillsides, and pastures. Many squirrels have become acclimated to humans and live in densely populated areas.

What Do Squirrels Eat?

Squirrels are both omnivorous and herbivorous animals that eat fruits, seeds, and nuts most of the time and supplement their diet with insects, caterpillars, and even small vertebrates like baby birds and snakes.  A squirrel’s diet typically changes with the seasons. 

Types of Squirrels

There are over two hundred different species of squirrels found around the world. They range from the tiny African Pygmy Squirrel, which is smaller than a mouse, to the Black Giant Squirrel, reaching nearly three pounds! Taxonomists divide the squirrel family into three branches.

Tree Squirrels

Tree Squirrels

Tree squirrels nest, eat, and hide from predators in trees. They can be found in forests, farms, suburbs, cities, or places where they can find trees. There are over 100 different species of tree squirrels found around the world. The tree squirrels found in North America are:

  • American Red Squirrels
  • Black Squirrels
  • Eastern Gray Squirrels
  • Western Gray Squirrels
  • Fox Squirrels

Flying Squirrels

Flying Squirrels

Flying squirrels have broad webs of skin that connect their fore and hind legs at the wrists. When they jump from trees, they can use this skin like a parachute and glide to a new perch. Flying squirrels are clumsy walkers on the ground and spend as much time as they can in trees.

The Southern Flying Squirrel can be found from Maine to Florida and west from Minnesota south to Texas. The Northern Flying Squirrel is primarily found in Canada but reaches as far south as northern Pennsylvania and Idaho. Because they are nocturnal, flying squirrels are not often seen in the wild.

Ground Squirrels

Ground Squirrels

“Ground Squirrel” generally refers to medium-sized burrowing squirrels. Larger ground squirrels are called “Marmots” or “Groundhogs.” The smallest ground squirrels are called “chipmunks.” While some ground squirrels can climb trees, they live in burrows that they dig themselves.

The California Ground Squirrel is a common pest in California gardens, and their burrowing can damage building foundations. Eastern Chipmunks and varied species of Western Chipmunks might damage flower beds, though they generally don’t cause problems for humans or pets. 

How Do You Get Rid of Squirrels? | Step-by-Step Instructions

To fix your squirrel problem, follow these steps:

1. Inspection: Inspect your house and yard to find out where the squirrels are living.

2. Exclusion: Seal any entry holes with steel mesh.

3. Trapping: Mount a trap or a one-way door on the biggest hole.

4. Removal: Remove and relocate any squirrels you catch.

5. Cleaning: Disinfect the former squirrel home to get rid of squirrel droppings, urine, and debris.

Related: 9 Best Squirrel Repellents to Buy and Keep Squirrels Away

How To Get Rid of Squirrels in Specific Places?

To get rid of squirrels in specific places, trap them for release elsewhere or use repellents to get them to leave. Squirrels can find their way into small, odd places that may require a professional to get rid of them safely. Also, what gets rid of small squirrels may not work for large ones.  

How To Get Rid of Squirrels in Attic (Roof)?

To get rid of squirrels in your attic or roof, use caulking and hardware cloth with 1/4 inch mesh to close any openings they could enter. Also, place a squirrel excluder like the Tomahawk Excluder With One Way Door; unwanted squirrel guests can check out, but they won’t be able to check back in.

Tomahawk Model E30 One Way Excluder
  • Tomahawk Professional Excluders are durable and easy to use. Made...
  • For use in Any structure where exclusion is needed
  • Rats, Flying Squirrels, Chipmunks

You can also try coating your roof with a sticky squirrel repellent like the JT Eaton 4-The-Birds Bird Repellent Gel. This polybutene coating makes squirrels uncomfortable when they try walking on it.  

How To Keep Squirrels Out of Garden?

To keep squirrels out of your garden and protect your flower beds, cover seeds and bulbs with 1/4 inch hardware cloth, like the Amagabeli Garden & Home Square Galvanized Hardware Cloth. Cover the wire cloth with soil, extending it at least 1 foot (⅓ of a meter) past the margin of each planting.

AMAGABELI GARDEN & HOME Hardware Cloth 1/4 inch 48inx50ft Galvanized After Welding Square Chicken Wire Welded Fence Mesh Roll Garden Bed Plant Supports Poultry Netting Cage Wire Snake Fence JW001
  • Amagabeli Hardware Cloth is used predominantly as screen and...
  • Material & Size: Heavy duty hot dipped galvanized hardware cloth,...
  • Gardening Mesh: Wire mesh fencing use on the bottom of a raised...
  • Poultry Enclosure: The 1/4" galvanized hardware cloth for a huge...
  • Guards-Tree Guards & Gutter Guards: Work with T posts and wooden...

How To Get Rid of Squirrels in Trees?

Get rid of squirrels in trees, and use trunk collars for flashing. Attach a 2-foot-wide strip of aluminum flashing, like Billy Penn 6559s Roll Valley Flashing, around the trunk, keeping the barrier top at least five feet off the ground. Secure with screws, nails, or wire. 

Billy Penn 6559s Roll Valley Flashing, 24" X 50', Aluminum
  • Billy Penn 24Inx50Ft Aluminum Roll Valley 6559S

How To Get Rid of Squirrels in Garage?

If you want to get rid of squirrels in your garage, try the Diaotec Indoor Ultrasonic Squirrel Repeller. This electronic squirrel repellent broadcasts a high-pitched sound to scare squirrels away.

Diaotec Squirrel Repellent Mouse Deterrent Indoor Ultrasonic Squirrel Repeller Pressure Wave Pest Deterrent Control Chaser Squirrels Mouse Mice Rats and Other Rondents Indoor Use
  • Diaotec rondent repellent consists of transducer and dual...
  • Diaotec naturally drives rondents out without killing them. No...
  • Four different sound modes to choose from based on the...
  • It is a humane way to drive squirrels, chipmunk, mice, rats and...
  • Before using the ultrasonic squirrel repellent, make sure there...

Or, try sprinkling a repellent like Plantskydd Animal Repellent in the rafters.

Plantskydd Animal Repellent - Repels Deer, Rabbits, Elk, Moose, Hares, Voles, Squirrels, Chipmunks and Other Herbivores; 3.5 LB Granular Shaker Jug (PS-VRD-3)
  • For year round control of deer, rabbits, elk, moose, hares,...
  • Protects approximately 1,750 square feet
  • Application frequency: Active growing season (6-8 weeks), Dormant...
  • 100% Dried Blood (Porcine and/or Bovine). No animals parts are...
  • OMRI listed (Organic Materials Review Institute) for Organic Use....

How To Get Rid of Squirrels in Walls?

Pest control specialists are likely needed to get rid of squirrels in walls. They’re experienced in determining the squirrel’s access point and how to safely remove it. Often, mother squirrels seek shelter inside walls to raise birth and raise their babies, and a professional will be needed.

Unlike raccoons and rats, squirrels are most active in the daytime. So if you hear scratching in your walls during the day, squirrels are likely the culprit. 

How To Get Rid of Squirrels From Bird Feeders?

Confusion is your best tactic for getting rid of squirrels from bird feeders. Squirrels will raid bird feeders for suet and seeds and hummingbird feeders for sweet nectar, but this prevents squirrels from climbing the feeder pole and crawling onto the hanging bird feeder.

If you’ve never used a baffle before, try the Stokes Select 18″ Squirrel-X Squirrel Baffle. It’s the perfect size for most birdfeeders.

More Birds Squirrel-X Wrap Around Metal Squirrel Baffle Protects Bird Feeders From Squirrels, 18-Inch
  • SQUIRREL BAFFLE: All six spring-loaded feeding perches collapse...
  • EASY INSTALL: The Squirrel-X squirrel guard installs easily to a...
  • MEASUREMENTS: Squirrel baffle is 18" in diameter and can fit any...
  • SQUIRREL-PROOFING TIP: We recommend bird feeders be placed at...
  • DURABLE CONSTRUCTION: Steel baffle has a weather-resistant finish

How To Get Rid of Red Squirrels in a Shed?

To get rid of red squirrels in a shed, sprinkle cayenne pepper on the shed’s floor or in the roof rafters. The fiery taste and pungent smell of cayenne pepper are undesirable and should get rid of the squirrels without harming them. If unsuccessful, use a trap to catch the squirrel.

Try the Havahart 1084 Easy Set One-Door Cage Trap to help you trap and relocate unwanted guests.

Havahart 1084 Easy Set One-Door Cage Trap for Rabbits, Skunks, Minks and Large Squirrels
  • Best used for squirrels, rabbits, and skunks
  • Easy Set design allows you to set and release the trap with just...
  • Spring-loaded door securely holds the animal inside and prevents...
  • Smoothed internal edges protect and prevent injuries to animals
  • Made to last. Resists rust and corrosion

How To Get Rid of Squirrels in a Car Engine?

The easiest way to get rid of squirrels in a car engine is with mothballs. Simply place mothballs beneath the hood and around the wires, which squirrels love to gnaw. Once they get too close, the smell of mothballs repels the squirrels away, saving you from an expensive repair bill.

How To Get Rid of Squirrels in Chicken Coop?

To keep squirrels out of your chicken coop, use a hardware cloth to block any vent areas where squirrels might enter. Fencing of some kind is vital because squirrels will not only eat chicken feed, but they also eat baby chicks on occasion. Also, clean up spilled food and gather eggs regularly. 

Related: Does Chicken Wire Keep Squirrels Out of Gardens?

How To Get Rid of a Squirrel Nest

If you need to get rid of a squirrel nest, first trap the squirrels using a live trap, or have a professional catch your squirrels. Once trapped, relocate them at least four to five miles away, with the nest if possible, so they will not be able to find their way back to your home.  

How To Get Rid of Squirrels Naturally?

How To Get Rid of Squirrels Naturally

Getting rid of squirrels naturally is done easily using the essence of cinnamon, clove, garlic, red pepper, lemongrass, peppermint, or thyme. Simply mix spice or essential oil in water and add a teaspoon of liquid soap to create an all-natural squirrel-repellent spray. 

Home Remedies To Get Rid of Squirrels

Home remedies to get rid of squirrels safely and naturally are essential oil or spicy food items. For example, 10 ounces of hot sauce mixed in a gallon of water with two teaspoons of organic liquid soap creates an effective but harmless spray to get rid of squirrels.

How To Make a Squirrel Trap?

To make a squirrel trap yourself, start by determining the path a squirrel is taking to get inside somewhere. Place the trap near an access point, and place bait around the path to lure the squirrel to your trap. Once captured, remove the squirrel to an alternate location.

This video shows you how to get rid of squirrels without harming them using a humane squirrel trap made from PVC pipe:

How Do Exterminators Get Rid of Squirrels?

Exterminators get rid of squirrels using powerful fumigants like aluminum phosphide or pressurized carbon monoxide exhaust systems. They are licensed and trained to use rodent poisons like brodifacoum, bromadiolone, difenacoum, and difethialone used to eliminate squirrels permanently.  

Large squirrel infestations are typically handled by professionals. But if your efforts at squirrel deterrent have failed, a pest management specialist can help with this issue too. 

Related: Do Wind Chimes Scare Away Squirrels?

List of Sources

Falker, S. T., Brittingham, M. C. (2006). Chipmunks. Penn State Extension.

Saunders, D. A. (1988). Gray Squirrel. State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry.

Thurston, S. N., Brittingham, M. C. (1997). Tree Squirrels. Penn State Extension.

Lampman, J. (2015). The squirrels are coming, the squirrels are coming!!. Cornell Blog Service.

Quinn, N. M., Dimson, M. J., Baldwin, R. A. (2018). Pests in Gardens and Landscapes: Squirrels and Ground Squirrels. University of California Statewide IPM Program.

Thomas Matthews
Follow me