Getting Rid Of Squirrels: Furry Fiends

When somebody says 'squirrels', it instantly brings to mind a pair of rascally rodents (perhaps wascawy wodents?), perfect embodiments of the word 'mischief', scurrying about getting into all sorts of trouble. If you've ever had squirrel problems you're probably already smiling (or gritting your teeth, as the case may be) and realizing that the image in your mind is not too far off the mark. Squirrels, including chipmunks (which are close relatives of squirrels and differentiated only by their morphology and habitat), are one of the worst enemies of the suburban yard owner. Second only to the dreaded poison ivy, these creatures are every gardening enthusiast's worst walking nightmare.

Squirrel Trouble: The Extent Of Damage

The destruction they cause can be phenomenal, ranging from stealing your tomatoes to digging up bulbs and tubers, and basically chewing up everything they can get their teeth into. Since their teeth are extremely sharp, and their bite surprisingly strong, they can even chew your siding and wooden fascia boards. They also use their superior strength (well, relatively anyway) to muscle their way into getting the best morsels from the bird-feeder. In short (and with a tied tongue), you could say that these tree huggers are a massive drain on the mind and money of most moderately mild mannered manure miners. And if you think the buck stops in your backyard, consider this: one university in South Carolina alone is reported to be spending at least $100,000 a year on squirrel control. Extrapolate that to the entire country and the figure is mind-boggling.

Squirrel Elimination Techniques: Trapping And Relocation

So we agree that these lovable looking creatures are a real menace and need to be dealt with. The cost of squirrel control is high, but much lower than the cost of squirrel damage. Now let's take a look at some of the successful methods used in the fight against fur. Trapping is arguably the most humane way to deal with the problem. Traps are usually very effective against squirrels – their curiosity easily gets the better of their instincts. Although, a good thing to remember here is that traps only work if you're also using other control mechanisms in tandem; otherwise, you'll just be trapping new squirrels all the time in an endless cycle. Also, with trapping, it's your responsibility to make sure you're able to relocate them to a place where they won't start bothering someone else. Remember, a NIMBY (not in my back yard) attitude will literally bite back with all its karmic fury.

Squirrelimination 102: Alternatives To Trapping

Since bird feeders are the main attraction for foraging squirrels, any method that involves affecting their ability to get to the seeds will work, at least for a time. Baffles on bird feeders work well if there aren't any posts or trees nearby. Pest sprays applied to the base of the feeder will also work, but be sure to read the label carefully – you don't want to use strong rodenticides, just something to keep them away. Some folks say that adding hot pepper to birdseed works for a while, at least until they figure out how to separate the seeds first (don't forget they're pretty smart). Others find this too cruel a method and advocate against it. However, you can at least be happy about the fact that the birds won't be affected by it. And probably the very last thing you could resort to (if all else fails and you're really desperate) would be to remove the birdfeeder altogether. Of course, the birds won't come but then neither will the squirrels.