You’ve likely read our piece on another cute and fuzzy creature, the raccoon. Time for another cute and fuzzy, but ultimately pesky creature—the squirrel.
These small rodents are adorable as heck, but they aren’t exactly the most ideal houseguests. They can make a massive mess of your deck, chewing on the wood, leaving droppings and food scraps everywhere, as well as snacking on your plants.
Additionally, they can carry a whole host of diseases and parasites that you simply don’t want your pets getting: ticks, Lyme disease, rabies, mites, fleas, ringworm—the list goes on.
Not So Cute Anymore, Eh?
Squirrels, like raccoons, can eat basically anything and can get into a wide range of areas. Animals generally will do just about anything for food, but they also will take the path of least resistance, so preventative action is the best option. Luckily, unlike raccoons, they are very unlikely to get in a scrap with one of your household pets, and opt for scurrying up a treat and shouting at them from afar instead.
10 Tip-Top Tips for Keeping Squirrels off your Deck
In this post, we’ll take you through the ups and downs of dealing with a squirrel infestation, and what you can do to keep the little rodents away and keep them from coming back too. So, let’s go over what you should be thinking about when trying to prevent squirrel invasion.
Tip 1. Don’t Feed the Squirrels!
Like all animals, squirrels go where the food is. When it comes to your deck, that means eliminating the possibility of food for them to eat. If you’ve got a bird feeder, lose it! Or, get one of those handy feeders that prevent the squirrels from feasting. Bring the pet food inside too. If there’s a ready supply of kibble sitting outside, you can be sure that this is prime rodent real estate.
Tip 2. Animal-Proof Trash Cans
In spite of how cute they look, squirrels have sharp little teeth. These rodents have been known to chew through plastic in search of food. This includes trash cans, so make sure you get the heavy-duty variety! Sturdy trash cans sealed tight can be too much effort for many animals and they will move on to a new place when they’re looking for a meal.
Tip 3. Remove the Possibility of Making a Home
Like many mammals, squirrels like to nest. Where is the best nest? A cozy, warm place, like a pile of leaves, debris or untrimmed shrubbery and bushes, chimneys, and other hidey-holes can be the perfect places for these critters to nest and start causing problems.
If your yard is a mess, that’s a golden opportunity for squirrels to create nests, and that it makes getting rid of the little critters even more difficult. Yard cleaning is tedious but necessary for pest prevention. If you have a lot of yard cleaning to do, check out our outdoor trash cans to help haul away debris and potential homes for squirrels.
Make sure that even if your chimney isn’t seeing regular use, it’s cleaned out frequently and, if need be, is sealed so they can’t get all nested up in there. Close garages, sheds, greenhouses, and remove dog houses or birdhouses to make sure they’re not a motel for unwelcome guests.
If you have squirrels lurking around your deck in search of food, give them a reason to stay away. There are a few ways to discourage squirrels from setting a paw on your deck.
Tip 4. Soap
Soap can be a great way to keep squirrels away because, for some reason, they really dislike the stuff. Just get a garden sprayer ready, and add a mixture of dish soap to some water, and spray down the borders of the area you want to keep them off—or just clean because that’s the point of soap and water, right? Be careful when it’s wet though, it may be interesting to watch a squirrel slide around your deck, but it’s less funny when a person takes a tumble.
Tip 5. Vinegar
Prepare a mixture of vinegar and water like the soap trick above, and that will also likely do the job. It should be diluted enough to the point where it won’t both human noses, but it will repel squirrels and other rodents.
Tip 6. Spices
Another mixture to try spraying on the deck is a mixture of hot sauce or cayenne pepper and water. Capsaicin, the chemical that gives hot sauce its heat, is an irritant that is commonly used in repellents. Humans like to eat it, squirrels flea from it, just don’t touch your eyes after handling it.
Tip 7. Commercial Chemicals
There’s a whole bunch of options in this regard, and a quick trip to a hardware store or an Amazon search will get you what you need.
Tip 8. Sound or Light Emitters & Electronics
A little bit more intense than some of the options above, you can set up motion sensor activated electronics that emit light, sound, or even spray water—that will send the squirrels running, and the latter works for people repellant too. Although, some homeowners may not want an animatronic stage show for a deck, but the squirrels probably won’t enjoy it.
Tip 9. Spikes
You can also get spikes that adhere to surfaces that will keep squirrels from skittering about. They’re no medieval torture device, but they’re not the most attractive, and they can also disrupt your own enjoyment of your deck.
Tip 10. And Don’t Come Back!
Finally, you can explore lethal options, but we don’t really recommend it. Poisons are the least humane, and a lethal decoy can reduce the squirrel population, but since there’s a lot of them, they’ll likely keep coming back regardless of the deaths of their friends and family.
Do you now have a squirrel free backyard? Well, let’s keep it that way. By investing in good trash cans, you’ll keep your yard and deck free from squirrelly invaders. Luckily, we’re here to help with that part too.
We have an enormous selection of trash cans—wood, steel, plastic, concrete—and animal-proof! Browse our enormous collection of cans, and find the one that works for you. If you’ve got more questions, get in touch with us. Best of luck keeping the squirrels where they belong—in trees!