Squirrel control techniques

Setting up squirrel traps

There are several methods as far as how to get rid of squirrels easily and humanely. One of the most bothersome squirrel species is the Eastern Grey Squirrel that is quite adaptable to different environments and can thrive on a wide variety of foods. These squirrels' normal habitat is a forest with plenty of tall trees with holes in the trunks for storing nuts and seeds. Squirrels frequently feed on birdseed from backyard feeders and even fruit taken from suburban garbage cans. 

Due to their high rates of adaptability, squirrels can easily live alongside humans who have built their housing developments in the animals' former habitats. The animals can also frequently lose much of their natural fear of humans. Many squirrels have made their nests in the soffits or attic spaces of these houses. The average squirrel weighs only one pound and measures about 16 inches long from nose tip to tail. Squirrels also have teeth sharp enough to chew through plywood or other wooden building material to gain access to houses. 

Squirrel nests found in attics are often full of various material that can sometimes present a fire risk because they also frequently chew on electrical wiring. This can lead to sparks and shorts that can often catch attic material on fire. The animals nesting in homes can also create a variety of other problems. Squirrels can fall down chimney flues or into the spaces between walls. Stuck squirrels can eventually suffocate in these spaces, making their corpse removal a difficult and unpleasant undertaking. Squirrel droppings left in attic spaces are equally unpleasant and often an attraction for additional rodents, making the original squirrel problem even worse. 

Primary methods for removing a squirrel infestation include preventing, trapping, repelling, and excluding. Each of these methods is considered effective based on individual circumstances. The following guidelines are frequently used together in the process of squirrel removal. 


Small steel cages are preferred tools for capturing squirrels and safely returning them to the wild. Large cages carry the risk of squirrels injuring themselves in attempts to escape, so smaller trap cages are usually safer. Most squirrels are also not able to spring open the cage latches in order to escape the traps. Squirrels can easily suffer from heat stroke, so these cages should be set up in a cool, shaded area. Trapping is a preliminary step, although it is not effective alone because trapping the entire squirrel population of a neighborhood is normally not feasible. 


Keeping squirrels from stealing birdseed or garbage can be difficult, though some substances such as habanero sauce will keep them from chewing through the house's building materials. The same hot sauce can be applied to chimney access points as well. Sealing all open entry points for squirrels is also essential to keeping them out of the house. Closing up these usually needs to be done with steel rather than wood so that the squirrels are not able to chew through metal. 


One-way exclusion is one of the most effective ways to keep squirrels out of attics, chimneys, and wall structures. Once a squirrel leaves an attic space temporarily, its entry point can be located and sealed off with metal that cannot be chewed through. Exclusion measures should only be done at certain times of the year so as to avoid trapping nests of baby squirrels in the attic space. This method is normally the one that is the least harmful to the animals.

Measures for how to remove squirrels may take some planning and determination, but they are worth the effort for keeping the rodents outdoors where they belong. One of the most common problems is addressing the areas of the house that are easy access points for determined squirrels to chew into.