If you live in an area that has a lot of squirrels you might want to take some preventive action before you run into trouble with them chewing on your house. It may not be an easy task; but there is one consolation and that is it will be easier to keep them out of your house than it is from your garden or birdfeeder.
The red and gray squirrels are rodents whose teeth continuously grow. To keep their teeth worn down and control the growth they have to gnaw on something. That “something” shouldn’t be your house. They chew all the time on lots of things including nuts and wood. They will chew up sticks for their homes and chew holes in trees to get inside and then there is your roof they could chew a hole in to get into your attic. A mother squirrel would like nothing better than to get in your attic to provide a warm, protected nest for her young.
If you hear any unusual sounds coming from your roof such as the squirrel scampering around on your roof or especially chewing sounds; investigate the sounds immediately. Make sure they have not chewed a hole into your attic and then take some preventive steps to ensure they don’t.
The squirrel loves to climb on houses and by doing this will cause you a lot of damage. They will chew on everything from lead roof flanges, attic vents to wood shutters and siding. You want to do whatever you can to prevent them from chewing on your house and definitely do not want to allow them to get inside.
Follow these tips to keep the squirrel from chewing on your house and making it their home too.
Apply squirrel taste repellent
Take some of the hottest pepper sauce you can find and with a paintbrush apply it to any area you suspect the squirrel has been chewing on. Ghost Chili Pepper sauce is one of the hottest on the market if you can find it. The squirrels will not want to chew on that.
Recipe for a homemade squirrel repellent:
- One bottle of cayenne pepper sauce or the Ghost Chili Pepper sauce.
- One gallon of water.
- One teaspoon mild liquid dish washing detergent.
Mix together and either spray or paint on areas where the squirrels have been chewing.
There is a taste repellent on the market, Capsaicin whose main ingredient is peppers. This can be applied to parts of your house that show signs of being chewed on. Animals tend to avoid this product and will encourage the squirrel to leave your house alone.
Another product is called, Polybutene and can be applied to your downspouts, railings and other areas you see the squirrel climbing on your house. It is an extremely sticky substance and may be hard to apply; but the squirrel will also find it uncomfortable to climb through and won’t attempt going up the side of your house. Reapply frequently to make sure it remains sticky and tacky.
Mace works well if sprayed on the area they are chewing on.
Ropel, a product you can purchase in local hardware stores, will also work to deter the squirrel from chewing.
These products will wash off in a rain and may need to be re-applied.
Remove food sources
Remove food sources so the squirrel is not attracted to your home. Squirrels are attracted to your birdfeeders. If you can; remove them from your yard for a time so the squirrel loses interest in your house. Moving them further away from the house may work also, keeping them off your deck or too close to your home.
Provide alternatives to chew on
Since the squirrels need to chew on things is constant; provide them with alternative objects to chew on so they are not interested in your house. Dog bones, downed branches or soup bones will attract squirrels and satisfy their need to chew.
Start out close to your home and then begin moving them further and further out and away from your house. This will be encouraging the squirrel to move away from your home.
As you move the chewing objects away, apply hot sauce to the deck or house where you’ve noticed chewing. You will then be encouraging the chew toys while discouraging the house.
Wrap deck edging
If you have edging on any part of your house or deck it will be an invitation for the squirrel to chew. Make it less inviting by wrapping deck edging made of aluminum flashing or hardware cloth. The squirrel can still chew through these, but will prefer to chew on a tree. It will encourage them to leave your deck or house alone and find chewing material in trees instead.
Keep tree branches cut back
Keep tree branches cut back so the squirrel cannot access your house from the trees. The branches should be cut back at least six to eight feet between the tree and the house. Squirrels are very good jumpers and you need to prevent this; so make sure you are cutting branches back far enough to prevent them from reaching your roof or siding from a tree.
Block entries into your home
Block any possible entries into home with hardware cloth. If the squirrel cannot find an easy entry they may be discouraged and look elsewhere to build their home. Back this blocking of vents up with the pepper sauce application.
Trap and remove the squirrels
Trap the squirrels and remove them from your property. The squirrel needs a 24 inch long wire trap and at least nine inches wide so they are not inhibited from entering it. The traps with openings on both ends work best so the squirrel can see through it. Place the traps where they have been chewing on your house with preferred bait of walnuts, pecans or peanut butter so they are encouraged to enter and trip it.
Place bait in the trap for a couple of days so the squirrels become accustom to it and begin to see it as a food source. Other items they will go for are; apples, orange slices and peanuts. Keep the doors tied up about two days and then begin trapping them. Make sure to check the traps a couple times during the day.
Take the trapped squirrels to an uninhibited area away from your house and release. Remember these are wild animals and can bite. The squirrel also can carry disease, if unsure on how to transport and release, contact a control professional for advice or help.