How to Keep Squirrels Away | Killingsworth Environmental
  1. Homeowner Tips: How to Keep Squirrels Away

MAY 01 2022 /

Homeowner Tips: How to Keep Squirrels Away

Keep Squirrels Away from Your Yard and Home

A squirrel may look cute and cuddly, but only from a distance. Once squirrels start getting into your yard, digging around and eating your plants or birdseed, they become much less precious and more of a pest. Not to mention, if one gets inside your home — now you’ve really got a problem on your hands! A squirrel can be a tough nut to crack (no pun intended). They’re quick, and a bit sneaky, so keeping them away from your home and yard is usually much easier said than done.  However, there are a few things you can do to protect your home and keep squirrels away from your property.

What About My Yard is so Attractive to Squirrels?

There’s a reason squirrels are camping out around your house. Below are the factors that attract squirrels to your property. 

Thick Vegetation

If you have lots of hedges and shrubs, you will probably notice squirrels running in and out of them. Squirrels don’t enjoy open spaces, for fear of their safety (read: they don’t want to be scooped up by a hawk). This is why they love the cover of thick vegetation or other areas around your home that provide shelter. To help prevent this, make sure to keep your hedges and bushes properly maintained. After all, a squirrel isn’t the only pest who will enjoy a place to hide in your yard! Not only will keeping your shrubs maintained help prevent pests, but it’s also an important part of yard maintenance

Food & Water

Maybe you want to have birds around your home, so you set up some bird feeders and a bird bath. While the birds will surely love it, unfortunately, so will the squirrels. A squirrel will do just about anything to get to the food in a bird feeder. More often than not, it’s extremely entertaining and results in some pretty funny videos. Without a doubt, these food and water resources in your yard are one of the reasons squirrels keep coming back. If you do keep food and water out for other animals or birds, try to keep it in a place where only they can reach it. Or, use specific bird feeders that are squirrel-proof. 


Squirrels are attracted to trees, especially tree varieties that produce nuts and fruit.  If your yard has trees, especially large, acorn-filled ones with lots of branches, chances are you’ve already noticed squirrels in them. There’s probably even little patches of ground where they have tried to bury their findings! Unfortunately, there’s no sure-fire way to keep squirrels, or any wildlife, out of your trees. However, there are a few methods you can try to deter them. Squirrels nesting in your trees isn’t necessarily a bad thing — unless the trees are very close to your home. If the branches are close to or touching your home, squirrels could use them as a way to climb around on your roof or worse, get inside your attic

The Dangers of Having Squirrels in Your Yard

These little critters can cause more damage than you may think, which is why you should make it a priority to keep squirrels away from your home and yard.

Tree Stress

Squirrels will not only eat the fruits or buds on your trees, but they will gnaw on the bark, too. When done in excess, this can cause stress for your trees and result in damage, and possibly death. Sadly, younger trees and saplings won’t develop if stripped of their bark. 

Related: Does Tree and Shrub Fertilizer Actually Work?

Plant Destruction

Once a squirrel has stolen the fruits or nuts from your trees, it will try to bury them throughout your lawn. Not only will this ruin the look of your grass, but it poses a threat to any plants or flowers that are trying to grow as well. If squirrels get into your garden, they could uproot the roots of your plants or flowers and eat them. 

Food Theft

As we mentioned, squirrels will steal any type of food they can find. While this isn’t ideal for your lawn, it poses an even larger threat to commercial farms. When squirrels get into a commercial farm, they can steal and eat through a majority of its fruit. This can be especially harmful to the crops, and can negatively impact the productivity of the farm.

Home Damage

Just like any other rodent, squirrels love to chew. If given the opportunity, their tiny teeth can do some serious damage to your home. They can chew through wires and cause fire hazards, and destroy your attic’s insulation. What’s worse, once squirrels are inside your home they can begin nesting and quickly multiplying. 


Aside from making your home their own, these pests are threatening because of the number of diseases they carry. They can spread typhus, tularemia, plague, and ringworm to humans. Squirrels have a relatively short lifespan, and much of this is due to diseases — along with their poor decision-making skills when it comes to crossing the road. If you, your family members, or household pets contract one of these diseases, it could be extremely detrimental to your health!  Please note: If you find a squirrel in your home, always consult a specialist. Squirrels are quick and can lash out if they feel trapped or cornered. Never try to capture or remove a wild animal on your own!

Tips to Keep Squirrels Away

So, how can you keep squirrels away from your home? Here are a few tips and tricks that should help!

Plant a Variety of Squirrel-Proof Flowers

Surprisingly enough, there are a few plants a squirrel will steer clear from. While a squirrel isn’t generally picky, try planting some of these to keep them moving on from your yard:













All of these flowers are either bright in color or produce a strong odor that squirrels don’t particularly enjoy. Plant these around your garden or trees to help protect them from squirrel damage and add to the beauty of your landscape.

Use Strong Odors

Scents like white pepper, black pepper, and garlic are naturally unpleasant to a squirrel. The same goes for sweet smells such as peppermint.  Try spraying your plants and flowers with water and then sprinkling on pepper or peppermint oil to deter squirrels. If this technique seems to be keeping your yard or garden safe, reapply as frequently as needed! Don’t forget to sprinkle these scents on again after storms too. 

Spray Squirrel Deterrents 

The urine of predators will also keep squirrels away. If they can smell a predator in your lawn, they’re not going to be as willing to stick around.  Commercial repellants mimic the odor and are easy to apply. Coyote and red fox urine seem to work the best, so consider purchasing sprays or liquids that either contain or mimic these odors. In your attic, use towels doused in apple cider vinegar to deter squirrels. The strong odor should deter squirrels for a while, but the towels will need to be refreshed and replaced periodically to keep the deterrent effective.

Remove Sources of Food & Water

You can’t help if the trees in your yard bear fruit and nuts for squirrels to squander. Plus, there’s no sense in cutting down a perfectly healthy tree just to keep squirrels away! However, you now know food and water sources like birdseed and bird feeders will attract squirrels. The best option would be to remove these food sources completely, so a squirrel has no reason to stay. But, if removing them isn’t an option, try squirrel-proofing your bird feeders to keep them from eating what’s not meant for them.

Scare Them Away

Keep squirrels away by adding a statue or figurine of a predator into your space. While this might not be the aesthetic you were going for, the mere silhouette of an owl could send squirrels scurrying. A squirrel is naturally skittish, so the fear of being injured or eaten could keep them away from your lawn for good. Got more than just squirrels roaming around your home? We can help with other pests, too! Download our guide, The Killingsworth Way, to learn about our unique approach to wildlife and pest control. 


The Best Way to Keep Squirrels Away

While these methods of deterrence might keep squirrels away for a little while, the best option is always to consult with a wildlife removal specialist. Squirrels are small but still dangerous if threatened, and you never want to risk contracting disease.  Here at Killingsworth, we’ve handled our fair share of wildlife, so we know a thing or two about getting rid of pesky squirrels. We want to help you protect your yard and home from damage, while safely getting rid of wildlife in a humane manner. If you are having trouble trying to keep squirrels away on your own, schedule a wildlife service. We can come and take a look at what damage they are causing and what sources are attracting them to your home in the first place, so that they never become an issue again.