If your backyard haven has become under siege by those furry, long-tailed pests known as squirrels, there are numerous ways to deter the critters without causing them harm.
Disrupt Their Food Source
Squirrels are attracted to areas with trees, gardens and other wildlife most notably because such areas offer a rich and plentiful food source. If you have bird feeders on your property, squirrels will often destroy them to obtain the treat inside. One way to deter squirrels from destroying bird feeders or digging up flowers or plants is to sprinkle pepper around the area. Squirrels do not like pepper and will avoid areas that smell or taste like cayenne pepper, black pepper or red peppers. Inserting these peppers into bird feeders does not harm birds, who enjoy the flavor. As an alternative, you can sprinkle Tabasco sauce instead.
Another way to deter squirrels from destroying your property is to place mothballs around your perimeter and in the areas most frequented by the pests. Squirrels are sensitive to the smell and will usually avoid it at all costs.
If Nothing Else Works, Call Animal Control
Some will argue that the only way to deter squirrels is by removing them completely. Most county animal control offices lend out small traps that collect the squirrels and allow you to remove the squirrels from your property. You can also buy small squirrel traps at hardware stores, such as Lowe's, or by hiring a pest control company.
Angela Campbell began writing professionally in 1997 for Easley Publications in Easley, SC, and later for Gannett newspaper properties. A graduate of the University of South Carolina's mass communications and journalism program, she has won numerous South Carolina State Press Association awards for spot news reporting, business reporting, feature writing, photography and page design.