Squirrels: Often a Love Hate Relationship

As I let my dog outside this morning, I was surprised to see eight squirrels frolicking in my backyard. As they made the mad dash towards the nearest tree, I had to wonder why my yard seemed so attractive to them. Personally, I like them. But then again I am the kind of person who sees a mouse scurry across the floor and think, ‘Oh, how cute!’ However, every day I am working on the hardware store floor, someone asks me for tips on how to “get rid of them” so it seems you either love ‘em or hate ‘em. Here are some pointers to attract or prevent squirrels from invading your yard….

Attracting Squirrels:

Feed the birds! Why would a squirrel gather food on its own when we humans are so willing to do it for them? Some foods squirrels especially enjoy are nuts and sunflower seeds. However, depending on the scarcity of food, a squirrel may find just about any food, including pizza, appetizing!

Squirrels love corn. Add a corn cob feeder to your yard and you are virtually guaranteed to become a favorite hangout!

Don’t like the upkeep of a feeder? Let Mother Nature do your job for you by planting natural food sources including fruit, especially berries.

Repelling Squirrels:

It seems obvious that the ways to prevent squirrels is simply by doing the opposite. Keeping tabs on property maintenance and general cleanliness can be the key to preventing these critters from loving your home. While in nature they can often find their own food, many have become dependent on us humans to provide an easy source of food.

Move bird feeders 20 feet from the house.

Treat the food supply with something the squirrels don’t like. Cole’s “Flaming Squirrel” seed sauce is a simple additive birds don’t notice it but the squirrels can’t take the heat it packs. Available at AceHardware.com.

Locate your feeders away from trees so squirrels can’t drop down from above. A large inverted cone mounted on top of the feeder will also deflect squirrels that are trying to jump onto the top while squirrel baffles below prevent them from getting to your bird feeders.

You can also try running the pole through the center of a Slinky toy. Secure one end to the top of the pole. When squirrels try to climb, their own weight will stretch the coil and keep them on the ground.

Close or cover garbage cans. To discourage squirrels from digging in containers, use hardware cloth, a heavy metal screening with a half inch square grid. Cut it to fit around the stem of the plant, and extend it to the edges of the pot or garden, just below the soil. Put some small rocks near the edge to hold it in place.

Keep grills clean and covered. Squirrels have been known to eat the drippings and sometimes build a nest if they can get inside.

Try using a squirrel-proof feeder. The Perky Pet Squirrel Be Gone III is a good option at Ace. Choose safflower seeds vs. sunflower seeds and you will easily prevent squirrels. Live traps are very effective but don’t expect to control a whole population with trapping. There are always more where they came from.

Want to know more? Check out www.squirrels.org for a fun interactive way to learn more about my furry friends!