The Q&A Archives: squirrels

Question: These squirrels are destroying my garden! Ive used organic pellets, moth balls (crushed and spread), taken bird feeders away to cut off food supply and sick my dog on them (he's a great dane, and never gets them-it's a fear tactic), and used (Ew) human hair, yet they still dig holes, destroy my sunflowers and eat certain bulbs and seed!I know they are doing what natures taught but HELP!

Answer: I consulted with extension agents at Colorado State University and here's what they suggest:
Squirrels can also cause extensive damage in the vegetable garden or flowerbeds by eating vegetables flower bulbs and freshly planted seeds, and may strip the bark off of ornamental trees and shrubs. They are often a nuisance around bird feeders, frightening desirable birds and scattering seeds.


Trim overhanging tree limbs and limbs that are within jumping distance (5 to 6 feet) of the house.

If they are traveling along a power, cable TV or telephone line have the company or an electrical contractor place a slit piece of plastic PVC pipe , 24 inches long, over the wire. When a squirrel or raccoon tries to cross it, the pipe rotates and the animal loses its footing. Do not attempt to do this yourself.

Distract squirrels away from bird feeders by providing ear or shelled corn away from bird feeders. Place bird feeders at least 8 feet away and 6 feet off the ground. If the bird feeder is atop a pole, place a baffle on the pole so that it cannot be climbed or lubricate it with petroleum jelly to keep the animal from getting a good foothold.

Animal-proof trees by placing 2-foot wide metal bands around them, 6 feet off the ground.

You can protect vegetable gardens by surrounding them with a fence of 1-inch mesh wire at least 30 inches high. The fence should extend 6 inches below ground, with an additional 6 inches bent outward at a 90-degree angle to discourage burrowing. Set at least two electrified strands, one 2 to 6 inches above ground and the other at fence height, off the fence about 3 inches.

Protect newly planted bulbs with l-inch mesh poultry wire over the plantings and covering it with mulch. You may also want to try soaking the bulbs in a squirrel repellent before planting.

Protect trees by wrapping their trunks with metal sheeting or using baffles to keep the squirrels from climbing the tree. Remember to allow for tree growth when applying wrapping.

Consult your local animal control agency before attempting to trap any animal so that you don't violate any local laws and always take precautions to reduce hazards to non-target wildlife or pets. If you do resort to trapping, good bait to use with squirrels is peanut butter.

There are repellants that target both squirrels and raccoons available at most nurseries and garden centers. Poisons are not recommended because they place other wildlife and pets at risk.

Sorry there's no absolute solution!

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