Whilst some of us like to see squirrels bounding around the parks, most of us are not so happy to see them in our own garden, or even worse the house. So for those of us taunted by boisterous squirrels in the loft or scaring off our feathered friends, below is some useful advice to deal with them.
How to get rid of squirrels in the loft
Squirrels can be a complete disaster for property owners and cause thousands of pounds of damage, by nibbling through wires and woodwork or tearing into insulation and plasterboard.
Here's a few short term solutions to scare squirrels away to allow enough time for access points to be detected and sealed to prevent a further infestation. It would also be advisable to try a combination of ‘solutions’ to increase chances of success in removing the squirrels from the loft.
Make sure squirrels can't reach your loft
Make sure that any trees or tall shrubs are more than 5-8 feet away from the property. This is the recognised distance that squirrels are able to jump, so if they can’t jump to the roof, they can’t get access to the roof.
Prevent squirrels from accessing the loft
Prevention is better than cure, as always it’s always easier to prevent a problem than solve it. Ensure there are no access holes into your property. Use mesh less than 25mm wide, to cover all access points from the space behind soffits to the arrow slits in the gables.
Live trapping is another method of removing squirrels from the property, but this can be highly ineffective unless you know exactly how many squirrels have taken up residence. They will also have to be humanely destroyed if they're grey squirrels as they are classified as a pest.
Deter squirrels with the scent of natural predators
Products are available that contain the scent of squirrel predators such as foxes and these can be sprayed all over the area in which the squirrels have taken up residence to scare them off.
Sound and light tactics
Leaving a light on (a cool LED one) in the attic or a radio tuned to a ‘talking station’ can disturb squirrels and drive them out of your loft.
How to get rid of squirrels in the garden
Generally speaking, it is incredibly difficult to remove squirrels from the garden. Whilst they are considered to be a pest, they are also wild animals and so notoriously difficult to get rid of. Here is our advice on deterring squirrels from setting up home in your garden.
Take away sources of food
Like most wild animals if there is a source of food they are likely to remain. So the simple answer would be to remove all nuts, fruit, vegetables, fungi, insects. However, this isn’t really practical in a domestic garden! Therefore limit the amount of easy food that is available. Leave bird food out in squirrel-proof feeders (see more on this below). Cover particularly susceptible fruit and vegetable plants with a wire mesh cage.
Protect trees & shrub bark with spiral tree protectors
This will stop squirrels from flaying the bark from the tree for use in dray building.
Plant bulbs that squirrels can’t stomach
Squirrels don't like the taste of daffodil, hyacinth, allium and snowdrops.
Sprinkle chilli flakes around plants
Squirrels can’t stand the hot, spicy flavours of chilli and so a liberal scattering of these could help deter them from the garden. Alternatively put plenty of pots filled with mint around the garden; squirrels find peppermint too strong for their sensitive noses.
Mulch around plants and pots
Use a heavyweight mulch around plants and on the top of pots to prevent squirrels from attacking the roots.
Install motion activated sprinklers
Sprinklers activated by movement could help to deter squirrels from the garden, as well as other unwanted domestic visitors like next doors cat.
How to stop squirrels eating bird food
There are lots of bird feeders on the market and very few are squirrel resistant. If you have a problem with squirrels or want your birds and squirrels to live happily alongside each other in your garden, then follow these tips.
Buy a squirrel resistant bird feeder - a caged feeder restricting access to the food by squirrels but which still allows smalls birds from feeding.
Purchase a ‘Guardian’ which is a squirrel resistant cage that fits over the top of a regular bird feeder.
Invest in a more technological feeder which has a weight-activated shut off to the feeding port, so as soon as the squirrel lands on the feeder the access is closed.
Add a squirrel baffler, or dome to a hanging feeder to act as a blocker so that the squirrel cannot shimmy down the hanger to the feeder. A cheap way of doing this is to make a hole in the base of a plastic bowl and hang upside down over the top of the feeder.
Dust chilli powder over the contents of the bird table or bird feeder. Whilst birds don’t mind a hint of chilli, squirrels don’t like the hot, spicy flavour and will leave the food alone.
Try diversionary tactics by providing a squirrel feeder and leaving out food that is blended especially for them. What do squirrels like to eat? Here's our guide.
Have you successfully managed to get rid of squirrels from your loft? What worked for you? We'd love for you to share your ideas and tips with us.