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How to Keep Squirrels Away from Your Backyard

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Squirrels can be a nuisance for some property and garden owners. Primarily, squirrels can cause damage to your garden and property.

Others may include harm to people (Yes, squirrels do attack), and some may carry diseases that people should be cautious of.

Not everyone thinks of squirrels as a nuisance and some even want to know what to feed squirrels to keep them coming back to their yard. But if you’re in the squirrels are a nuisance party, keep reading.

This “Keeping Squirrels Away” guide will give you several ideas to deter squirrels from your house as well as your beautiful garden. Ideas range from Squirrel-specific repellents, suggestions to keep your birdfeeders safe, as well as other proactive measures.

what do squirrels eat

Table of Contents

Using Squirrel-Specific Repellents to Deter Squirrels

Squirrel repellents are any deterrent tools and equipment that will repel squirrels from your property. There are different types of squirrel repellents that you can easily purchase. Here are a few examples:

Predator Decoys

Using predators who hunt, kill and eat squirrels as decoys are excellent deterrents. Predator decoys may include:

Squirrels, for the most part, will run away coming across predator decoys. However, make sure you move your decoys every day. Place them on different parts of your property. If you leave them in one place too long, the squirrels will come to learn that the decoys are not real.

Predator Scents

Predator scents can be used in combination with predator decoys. Use predator scent such as predator urine spray and spray it all over your predator decoy or spray it around the areas you want squirrels to stay away. When squirrels pick a predator’s scent, instinct will naturally kick in will assume there is a predator in the area.


Capsaicin is the main chemical that makes chili peppers hot and spicy. Additionally, it is popularly used as squirrel repellents, as well as for insects and other types of animals.

Capsaicin can irritate a squirrel’s vulnerable parts, such as skins and eyes as well as its mouth. You can purchase capsaicin sprays or use a mix of cayenne pepper or hot sauce with water.

Essential Oils

Essential oils can be mixed with water and become great repellents due to their strong scent. Peppermint essential oils are primarily the most effective against squirrels.

You can add  several drops of peppermint essential oil in a spray bottle mixed with water and spray it throughout your property or particular areas that squirrels come by the most.

Pepper Sprays

Maces or pepper sprays are also effective. Popularly used for protection and self-defense, pepper sprays will also help repel squirrels away from your properties. You can easily purchase them online or in self-defense and protection shops.

Move Away Objects that Attract Squirrels

Like other foraging species, Squirrels have a strong sense of smell. Therefore, what usually attracts a squirrel onto your property is the scent of its next meal, such as food in the trash or fruits and nuts that have fallen off nearby trees. Therefore, your property will become a primary source for its food.

There are a few proactive measures to keep the squirrels away. One way is to remove anything in and around your property that might attract squirrels. Below are some examples:

  • Keep trash lid securely fastened: Make sure your trash lid is fastened every time you take out the trash. If the lid is not closed properly, squirrels will take advantage of it since it can be a great food source for them. Further, do not let your trash overflow. Squirrels can rip trash bags open and eventually make a big mess.
  • Keep your Yard Clean: Squirrels love to forage around people’s yards since they can easily find foods such as nuts, berries, and fruits that have fallen from the surrounding trees. Hence, it’s important to keep your yard clean by raking them or removing them by hand.
  • Move Attractants Somewhere Else: Another way is to create a feeding ground somewhere else. Try to deter squirrels by moving or placing attractants in other parts of your house or garden so a specific part of your house are kept away from squirrels. Like any other animals, squirrels will go where the foods are. If you place some attractants somewhere else, they will likely go for it.

Fencing and Covers to Keep Squirrels Out

Fencing and using covers to keep squirrels out can be effective but involves a lot of work and time. Using Fences and covers are popular for some people because when constructed correctly, fences and covers are strong and long-lasting. Most people trying to keep squirrels out of their garden or a section of their house utilize:

  • Wire mesh
  • Chicken wire
  • Hardware cloth
  • Plastic bird netting

 Furthermore, it is also important to identify what type of squirrel you are dealing with. Ground squirrels will more likely burrow and less likely to climb, so a fence around your property is enough. But if it is a tree squirrel, they will less likely to burrow and more likely to climb. Therefore, worry more on covering your property rather than keeping your structure deep under the ground. 

An important thing to note is that when fencing and covering your garden, remember to bury the bottom structure that holds the mesh roughly about 4 inches into the ground. This would deter them from burrowing under your fence. 

Keeping Squirrels Away from your Bird Feeders

Bird feeders should change their name to “bird & squirrel” feeders since squirrels commonly eat the seeds from bird feeders. One way to keep squirrels away is to remove your bird feeder entirely. But if you want to keep your bird feeders around, there are several ways you can deter squirrels from visiting. Below are a few examples of how to deter squirrels from bird feeders: 

Adding Safflower Seeds into and Around your Bird Feeders

Squirrels do not like safflowers seeds. Therefore, mix safflower seeds into the bird feeder that has a squirrel problem. Squirrels might try to sift through it, but most likely, squirrels will leave it alone when they run into enough of the safflower seeds. You can find safflower seeds in grocery stores and pet stores. However, they can be more expensive compared to regular bird feed.

Squirrel-Proofing your Bird Feeders

Squirrel-proofing your bird feeder is sometimes very simple. Here are a few examples that you can follow that will “squirrel-proof” your bird feeders: 

  • Install squirrel baffles on your bird feeder
  • Weight-sensitive mechanisms that close the bird feeder when squirrels get on them 
  • Add oil on the pillars or rods of the bird feeder, so squirrels are unable to climb to the bird feeder.

Trapping the Squirrels

Another way to deter squirrels away is by using traps. Now, setting traps up is not that popular because it requires you to handle the squirrel sometimes. However, there are people, especially hunters, who prefer using traps to keep squirrels away. Some release them several miles away after trapping; others just have them for their next dinner. Here are a few keynotes to remember when setting traps for squirrels:

  • Place traps in areas of your garden or property where the squirrels visit the most or are most active 
  • Place bait in the trap. Otherwise, it won’t be as effective. Use sunflower seeds, fruits, nuts, or even peanut butter

It’s  important to know that live trapping is highly regulated in some states. Before you place any traps for your squirrels, please be sure to check with the game warden. Furthermore, read about live trapping online in your state before trying it. Breaking the law to get rid of some naughty squirrels is not worth it!

What Would Attract Squirrels?

Two main things run through a squirrel’s mind. Its hunger and its curiosity. The combination of an ever-lasting hunger and an insatiable curiosity will have squirrels venture off far and wide. This is just so that squirrels can find another foraging territory or investigate anything new.

Here are a list of foods or objects (mostly food) that might peak a squirrel’s interest:

  • Acorns
  • Pinecones
  • Bird eggs
  • Light Bulbs
  • Fruits, Seeds, and Nuts of any kind
  • Other squirrels
  • Bird Feeders

Keep Your Property Clean and Deterrents in Place

For the most part, keeping a squirrel away from your house or beautiful garden requires two important proactive measures. First, try and make sure your garden or house is clean from any squirrel meals (e.g., fruits, nuts, etc.). Secondly, place squirrel deterrents of your choice as around your property. If you can’t take the squirrel meals out, such as the fruits and vegetables you are growing, then use fences and covers! Just make sure to clean the rest of the area.

If you’re struggling to keep squirrels out of your backyard and they’re getting into your flower pots, be sure to checkout our helpful tips in keeping these creatures out of your flower pots!

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Jena Slocum Co-Founder

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One Comment

  1. I know people eat squirrels, but keep in mind that some people may bait them with poison making it unsafe to eat!

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