What To Do About Squirrels

Squirrels are diurnal animals and are active year around. They usually build their nests in trees, using leaves and other materials. In the winter, they prefer nesting in holes or crevices of decaying tree branches. Squirrels give birth twice a year, in the spring (January-April) and in the fall (August-September). There are 2-4 babies per litter. The babies are self-sustaining at about 12-14 weeks of age and will leave the natal area in search of their own territory.

Squirrel Repellants
Ropel is a long lasting, extremely bad tasting commercial repellant and will stop squirrels and many other animals from chewing things, such as wood, wire, screens, lawn furniture, etc. It is available at many garden centers.

Hot Pepper Repellant Recipe
You need:

  1. One chopped yellow onion
  2. One chopped Jalapeno pepper
  3. One tablespoon of Cayenne Pepper

Boil ingredients for 20 minutes in two quarts of water. Then let it cool and strain the mixture through cheesecloth. You can apply this with a pesticide sprayer or a spray bottle. This will deter just about any animal from an area where it is applied. The only draw back is that it only lasts for three to five days.

Squirrels in Attics
Squirrels in the attic are a very common problem. Damage to attics as a result of squirrel habitation is very rare. Squirrels will often leave attics in the summer because the attic becomes too hot. You can wait until the hottest part of summer and then block the holes. This is the most humane solution.

Note: These techniques are appropriate for adult squirrels. If babies are involved, humane eviction should be delayed until the babies are old enough to leave the nest and survive on their own.

Find Their Method of Entry

Check for Babies

To Block the Entry Hole

One-Way Door

Block and Trap

Squirrels with Babies in the Attic
It is best to wait to evict squirrels with babies until the infants are grown and gone. Usually all squirrels leave the natal area 12-14 weeks after being born for territorial reasons. Sometimes, one may stay behind, and then eviction techniques may be used. If you really need them out immediately, then you will want to get the mother to move the babies on her own.

Note: In the winter, it is harder for the squirrel to find new nesting material. Tree leaves that the squirrel uses to construct a new nest have fallen from the trees. The squirrel may have to improvise to find a new home. This may be sheds or barns, non-running cars or trucks, covered porches, patios or a neighbor's attic.

Squirrels in Chimneys or Exhaust Fans

Note: Under no circumstance should a fire be used to evict any animal. Starting a fire will only burn and/or kill the animal.

If the chimney is made of metal then use the above methods. If the chimney is firebrick then the squirrel can climb out on its own. But if it falls through the flu into the fireplace it usually cannot get back up into the chimney. Open the fireplace door and place a board or branch from the fireplace up to the flu. This way the squirrel can climb out on its own.

Note: It is a good idea to prepare for removal from the house before you open the fireplace door. Usually, the squirrel will stay in a back corner out of fear, but also out of fear, it may bolt into the house. The squirrel will not move out after dark, he will be sleeping. If the squirrel is discovered after dusk, the board or branch can be placed in the fireplace and chances are it won't bolt into the house but remember it won't leave until daylight comes.

Removal Through the House

Note: If the squirrel is in the chimney, then you must open the flu, so that the squirrel will drop into the fireplace.

Squirrels in Bird Feeders

Squirrels Chewing on Lawn Equipment

Squirrels Chewing Trees

Caution: Do not spray on fruits or vegetables that you plan to eat. Be careful not to inhale the mist of the spray because it will leave a bitter taste in your mouth for a couple of hours. You might want to alert any neighbors that live close that you are spraying.