5 Ways Homeowners Can Keep Squirrels Away

  • Written by: Killingsworth Environmental
  • March 22, 2019

Tips To Deter Squirrels From Your Yard And Home

A squirrel may look cute and cuddly, but only from a distance. When squirrels start getting into your yard, digging around and eating your plants or birdseed, they become much less precious and more of a pest. Not to mention if one gets inside your home—now you’ve really got a problem on your hands!

A squirrel can be a tough nut to crack (no pun intended). They’re quick, and a bit sneaky, so keeping them away from your home and yard is usually much easier said than done.

However, there are a few things you can do to protect your home from these bushy-tailed pests!

What About My Yard Is So Attractive To Squirrels?

There’s a reason squirrels are camping out around your house. Here are four things squirrels love about your home and yard:

Thick Vegetation

If you have lots of hedges and shrubs, you probably notice squirrels running in and out of them. Squirrels don’t enjoy open spaces, for fear of their safety (read: they don’t want to be scooped up by a hawk). This is why they love the cover of thick vegetation or other areas around your home that provide shelter.

To help prevent this, make sure to keep your hedges and bushes properly maintained. After all, a squirrel isn’t the only pests who will enjoy a place to hide in your yard!

Not only will keeping your shrubs maintained help prevent pests, but it’s also an important part of yard maintenance. And while you’re at it, you may as well feed your bushes with some fertilizer, too!

Food & Water

Maybe you want to have birds around your home, so you set up some bird feeders and a bird bath. While the birds will love it, so will squirrels.

A squirrel will do just about anything to get to the food in a bird feeder. More often than not, it’s extremely entertaining and results in some pretty funny videos.

The food and water in your yard is one of the reasons squirrels keep coming back. If they have food, shelter, and water, why would they ever want to leave? If you do keep food and water out for other animals or birds, try to keep it in a place where only they can reach it.


It’s no secret squirrels love trees. What a squirrel loves even more? Trees that produce nuts and fruit.

If your yard has trees, especially large, acorn-filled ones with lots of branches, chances are you’ve noticed squirrels in and around them. There’s probably even little patches of ground where they have tried to bury their findings!

Unfortunately, there’s no sure-fire way to keep squirrels, or any wildlife, out of your trees. There are a few ways to deter them, however, so don’t go grabbing the chainsaw just yet!

Squirrels nesting in your trees isn’t necessarily a bad thing—unless the trees are very close to your home. If the branches are close to or touching your home, squirrels could use them as a way to climb around on your roof or worse—get inside your attic.

The Danger Of Having Squirrels In Your Yard

A few squirrels in your yard can’t cause too much harm, right? Actually, squirrels can cause more damage than you may think!

Tree Stress

Squirrels will not only eat the fruits or buds on your trees, but they will gnaw on the bark, too. When done in excess, this can cause stress on your trees and cause parts of them to be damaged, or even die. For younger trees and saplings, bark stripping can prevent them from developing completely.

Plant Destruction

Once a squirrel has stolen the fruits or nuts from your trees, it will try to bury them around your lawn. Not only will this ruin the look of your yard, but it poses a threat to any plants or flowers that are trying to flourish.

If squirrels get into your garden, they could dig around and uproot the roots of your plants or flowers. They may even eat them! No one wants to invest time and money into their lawn or garden just for it to be destroyed by squirrels.

Food Theft

Like we talked about earlier, squirrels will steal any food they can find. While this isn’t ideal for your lawn, it poses an even larger threat to commercial farms.

When squirrels get into a commercial farm, they can steal and eat through a majority of its fruit. This can be especially harmful to the crops, and can detrimentally impact the productivity of the farm.

Home Damage

Just like any other rodent, squirrels love to chew. If given the opportunity, their tiny teeth can do some serious damage to your home! They can chew through wires and insulation, and once inside your home (normally in the attic) they can begin nesting and multiplying.

Aside from making your home their own, these furry pests are threatening because of the number of diseases they carry. Squirrels have a relatively short lifespan, and much of this is due to diseases—and their poor decision-making skills when it comes to crossing the road. If you, your family members or household pets contract one of these diseases, it could be extremely detrimental to your health!

Please note: If you find a squirrel in your home, always consult a specialist. Squirrels are quick and can lash out if they feel trapped or cornered. Never try to capture or remove a wild animal on your own!

Tips To Keep Squirrels Scurrying

So, how can you keep squirrels away from your home? Here are a few tips and tricks that should help!

Plant Flowers Squirrels Don’t Like to Eat

Surprisingly enough there are a few plants a squirrel will steer clear from! While a squirrel isn’t usually picky, try planting some of these to keep them moving:

  • Daffodils
  • Fritillaries
  • Geraniums
  • Hyacinth
  • Galanthus
  • Lily-of-the-Valley

All of these flowers are either bright in color or produce a strong odor that squirrels won’t enjoy. Plant these in or around your garden or trees to help protect them from squirrel damage.

Spray Your Home With Squirrel Deterrents

The urine of predators will also keep squirrels at bay. If they can smell a predator in your lawn, they’re not going to be as willing to frolic around! Since capturing predator urine isn’t exactly on everyone’s to-do list, there are thankfully some repellants you can purchase to mimic the smell. Coyote and red fox urine seem to work the best, so consider purchasing sprays or liquids that either contain or mimic these odors.

In your attic, use cloths doused in apple cider vinegar to deter squirrels. The strong odor should deter squirrels for a while, but the cloths will need to be refreshed and replaced periodically to keep the deterrence effective.

Remove Sources of Food & Water

Obviously, you can’t help if the trees in your yard bear fruit and nuts for squirrels to squander. Plus, there’s no sense in cutting down a perfectly healthy tree just to keep squirrels away!

However, things like birdseed or bird feeders will attract squirrels. The best option would be to remove these food sources completely, so a squirrel has no reason to revisit for a snack. But, if removing them isn’t an option, try squirrel-proofing your bird feeders to keep them from dining on your seed!

Scare Them Away

We aren’t suggesting to run around yelling every time a squirrel comes in your yard! Instead, scare squirrels away with a statue or figurine of a predator.

While this might not be the look you were going for, the silhouette of an owl in your yard, trees or garden could send squirrels scurrying. A squirrel is naturally skittish, so the fear of being injured or eaten could keep them away from your lawn.

Spicy (Or Minty) Odors

Squirrels definitely aren’t fans of spicy smells. Things like white pepper, black pepper and garlic will smell unpleasant to a squirrel. The same goes for strong smells like peppermint!

Try spraying your plants or flowers with water and then sprinkling on pepper or peppermint oil to deter squirrels. If this technique seems to be keeping your yard or garden safe, reapply as frequently as needed! Don’t forget to sprinkle these scents on again after it rains, too.

The Best Way To Keep Squirrels Away

While these methods of deterrence might keep squirrels away for a little while, the best option is always to consult with a wildlife removal specialist!

Here at Killingsworth, we’ve handled our fair share of wildlife, so we know a thing or two about getting rid of pesky squirrels! We want to help you protect your yard and home from squirrel damage. By working together, we can help you say “sayonara, squirrels!”

Got more than just squirrels roaming around your home? We can help with other pests, too! Download our guide, The Killingsworth Way, to learn about our unique approach to wildlife and pest control. Then, schedule an inspection so we can come and take a look at what pests might be lurking around your home.


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