Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Reader's Questions: Squirrel Problems

If you don't like something change it; if you can't change it, change the way you think about it. ~Mary Engelbreit

Every Wednesday I'll be answering reader's questions. If you have an additional tip on the topic please post them in the comments. We love reader's tips!

Squirrels are eating my house alive. Nothing I do seems to scare them. They run across my attic and have eaten holes in the side of my eaves so that they can run in and out. ~Elayne

When I lived in the city the squirrels were without mercy. They chewed holes in plastic tubs, tore up plants, ate vegetables from my small garden and caused so much damage. There are many things people recommend. None of them work ALL of the time, so it's a matter of trying different methods until one works for you.

Hot peppers and cayenne pepper are worth a try. You can melt petroleum wax or petroleum jelly with halved hot peppers, then cool it, and smear it where the squirrels are chewing. This may be a solution for parts of the house they are damaging. You can try sprinkling cayenne pepper down too. However if have cats or dogs you'll want to limit this to where they can't get to it.

Sheet metal, chicken wire or 1/4-inch wire hardware cloth can be used to cover areas they are getting into also. You should use this in the spot or spots they are getting into the attic through. Just an extra note: I used chicken wire over garden beds after planting bulbs with good success.

Moth balls placed where they are doing damage may help too, but again, you want to keep these away from kids and pets.

I need some help on how to keep squirrels away from my fruit trees.I have tried home remedies and those sacks they tie into the trees and nothing has worked. Last year I didn't get but one peach from 3 of my trees,the squirrels took them green even. I'd appreciate any help. ~Darlene

Moth balls hung in the trees in the spring before the trees start blooming may help. You'll need to replace them as the smell lessens. You can use knee high nylons tied at the top, or old nylons cutting the legs off to hold the moth balls. Hang them from the tree branches, but where they aren't touching the fruit. Make sure the moth balls are a good brand, and haven't been sitting on a shelf so long that the smell has weakened. The rain and air will weaken the odor, so replacing them will be important right up until you harvest the peaches.

Other than this you could try hanging pie plates and other noisy items in the tree, but I doubt this will deter an aggressive squirrel.

We have more tips on wildlife pests on OFL:

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