There’s something so adorable about those big brown eyed, bushy tailed squirrels you see in the park, jumping from tree to tree and chewing on the foraged nuts and acorns they gather.
Not so adorable when they invade your garden and dig up your prized bulbs and lawn, worse still, invade your loft space and chew through cables and wires causing hundreds of pounds worth of damage!
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Are Squirrels Vermin?
The grey squirrel gets bad press and is often referred to as a bushy tailed rat, though it isn’t classed as vermin, it is a rodent.
The reason it is so maligned is because of its relationship to the much more acceptable and admired cousin, the red squirrel.
The grey carries diseases which humans aren’t susceptible to, but red squirrels are and therefore the red squirrel’s population is on the decline whilst greys multiply at pace.
Prevention is better than cure
But who thinks to squirrel proof their garden “just in case”???
If you’re unlucky enough to have an invasion in your garden, I’ve put together a few useful tips to help get rid of them:
They have sensitive noses….
They really aren’t as tough as they make out, they take offence at certain strong odours.
MINT – plant a few bunches here and there, the strong aroma deters them
COFFEE – fresh coffee grounds dotted around the garden is their worst nightmare
CHILLI – chop up come jalapenos and put them in a spray bottle filled with water. When it has marinated for a while, this mixture sprayed around the garden will act as a deterrent.
MOTHBALLS – again, it’s the smell. It is so strong they quickly flee to get away from it.
Squirrels really aren’t party animals, they are terrified of high pitched sounds and strobe lighting.
There has been some excellent customer feedback from people who bought Ultrasonic Pest Repellent devices. The high pitched squeal they emit frightens them away. They are relatively cheap to buy and simple to use. They cause no harm to domestic pets or birds but are useful in eradicating unwanted rodents and insects.
Strobe lighting is also effectual though not so cost effective. Some people have suggested the use of common solar lighting with a flash function has worked with some level of success too.
Squirrels Love Bird Food!
Just like us, the squirrel is attracted to your garden by the scent of food. Filling your bird feeders up with nuts, suet balls and seed, is the equivalent to Dad throwing a t-bone steak on the barbecue!
This doesn’t mean you should stop feeding the birds, just do it with caution. Greasing the pole helps stop the squirrel stealing the food and provides entertainment watching it slide back down! Seriously though, you can buy a squirrel proof bird table if the blighters are still managing to get into your garden.
Enclosed bird feeders work well too, smaller garden birds negotiate the narrow entrance with ease, this totally foils the squirrel and some of the larger ‘bully boy’ birds too.
Clear plastic domes that go over the top of your feeding stations are readily available and make it very difficult for the squirrel to get the bird’s food.
Keep the ground around the table swept and free of seeds and nuts, he will see this as a clear invitation!
Squirrel deterrent sprays are an inexpensive and simple to use.
A quick squirt around the bird table offends his nose and he will scarper. It’s harmless to the birds and doesn’t affect the taste of the food.
SUCCESS AT LAST!!
By far and away the most successful way of eradicating squirrels from your garden yourself is to invest in a trap.
These work in much the same way as a humane rat trap, in that you load the trap with lots of squirrel treats and a pressure sensor drops a door down to enclose the squirrel, causing him no harm at all.
You then take the trap to woodland, far, far away from your precious garden, and release him.
Squirrels have been known to search for the warmth and security of an attic, this can have huge financial effects as they are capable of causing catastrophic damage. Gnawing through timber and electrical wiring, even water pipes and plastic aren’t safe and they can destroy insulation too.
Early detection of holes and cracks on the outside of your property will require immediate attention, seal and fill those to give him nowhere to gain entry.
If you have climbing plants or ivy that has grown tall enough to cover the outer of the building, consider cutting this right back as the acrobatic squirrel will use it as his ladder to scurry up to the top of your property.
If you have left it too late and can hear the scampering and scratching noises coming from above your head as you sleep, then the best tried and tested way to get any squirrels out is by using the trap method. Some of the larger traps can hold up to five squirrels at one time.
Once your loft is squirrel free, batten down the hatches! Keep it clean with no attractive smells and repair any holes quickly and this should hopefully halt any attempt to re-enter.
The Final Option
When you feel you have exhausted all other options then you can always call in the professionals. There will be several pest control companies in your area, most offering 24 hour callout. Shop around for best prices.
Hopefully you’ll find some tips here and your garden and home will soon be squirrel free.
Then if you’re anything like me, you’ll grab a bag of peanuts and take the kids to the park…to feed the squirrels!