The Q&A Archives: Those Pesky Squirrels

Question: We had a deck built off our kitchen 2 years ago and everything was harmonious. This year, however, our squirrel neighbors have been making themselves into huge nuisances.

They use our deck as if it is their own personal property. They are always on the railings and leave their droppings there as well as on the stairs. This is disconcerting for many reasons, but we have two young sons that shouldn't have to worry about where they step. The squirrels eat on our deck (we are supposed to do that) and are becoming more and more assertive.

How can we get our deck back?

Answer: Squirrels really can be pests. You might try using one of the commercial squirrel repellents, or a home-made one based on garlic and/or red pepper. Some people report that a pet dog or cat works as a deterrent, too. Once you have made the deck less attractive to them, perhaps you can set up another, separate area possibly even with food for them, that they would prefer to use -- sort of a "bait and switch" operation. Another alternative would be to have them professionally trapped and removed.

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