How to get rid of squirrels in your attic and yard

how to get rid of squirrels
Ways to get rid of squirrels in your attic and yard include water sprinklers, ultrasonic repellents, odor repellents, predator urine, and a variety of humane trap options.

Tips on How to Get Rid of Squirrels Fast and Humanely

Squirrels may be both small and cute, but they dig deep burrows that can cause structural damage to your home, driveways, patios, and more. Their digging can also ruin your landscape and gardens.

In the winter, they seek warm shelter and may nest in your attic, pipes, and garages. These are only a few reasons homeowners seek ways to remove squirrels humanely.

Below is a list of methods to deter squirrels:

Motion-Activated Water Sprinklers

Install motion-detector water sprinklers. The motion sensor sprinklers will spray water which will scare squirrels and make them leave.

Repellent Sprays

Purchase rodent repellent spray. Squirrels are rodents, so applying rodent repellent spray to the perimeters of your property or to an area where squirrels are active will help your squirrel problem.


Install an ultrasound squirrel deterrent. An ultrasonic device will emit high-frequency sounds that humans can’t hear but that squirrels and other critters dislike. 

Dryer Sheets & Mothballs

Fill squirrel holes with dryer sheets or mothballs. When you identify squirrel holes in your yard, use these items to deter squirrels with a pungent smell. 

baby squirrel on a table with apple and carrots

What smells discourage squirrels?

Squirrels have sensitive noses, so use this to your advantage. You can create DIY squirrel repellents by using scents that squirrels dislike. Peppermint oil is one scent you can use.

Mix peppermint essential oil and some water in a spray bottle to create a mixture that can be sprayed around your property. Other oils you can use include capsaicin and cinnamon.

Some spices can be applied directly to your yard to deter squirrels. Sprinkling chili flakes, cayenne pepper, and garlic flakes are several species that squirrels hate the smell of. 

Another option is to plant flowers with scents that squirrels dislike. Plants that naturally repel squirrels with their smell include geraniums, hyacinth, galanthus, mint, and daffodils.

Growing these plants near entry points to your garden or yard is a way to keep squirrels away. You can also plant them under trees to deter tree squirrels. 

Squirrels and other critters are frightened by the smell of their predators.

You can purchase predator urine to apply to your home or yard. Coyote or fox urine are two types of predator urine that will help with squirrel infestations. 

Should I be using poison?

Poison is not a humane way to handle a squirrel problem. There are many other options to get rid of squirrels without killing them. Poisons kill rodents slowly and painfully. 

Another reason not to use poison is that it can be dangerous to humans, pets, and wild animals. You may unintentionally kill or harm other animals by applying poison to areas inside or outside. 

If you do not want to attempt to get naturally rid of squirrels, contact a pest control company to remove the squirrels for you. Make sure the company will remove the squirrels in a way that won’t kill them.

baby squirrel with peanut shells

What about traps?

Live trapping and relocating is a humane way to get rid of squirrels. You can purchase a live squirrel trap that will not harm the animal. Use bait to lure the squirrel into the trap. Seeds, berries, nuts, grains, and peanut butter work well as squirrel bait.

Once you’ve caught a squirrel, wear heavy-duty gloves to pick up the trap. The gloves protect against diseases the squirrel may carry. Also, squirrels may attack when threatened, so the gloves protect your skin against bites and scratches.

Talking to the squirrel in a calm, quiet voice will help ease its anxieties. Also, check with your local laws before relocating the squirrel. Most states have dedicated locations where animals should be relocated.

As a general rule, make sure to relocate the squirrel at least five miles from your home in a forested area. 

To release the squirrel:

  1. Set the trap on the ground and then open the door.
  2. Step back and wait until the squirrel leaves the trap.
  3. Keep using your gloves to handle the cage in case the squirrel had a disease.
  4. Disinfect the trap with bleach and water as soon as possible. 

What attracts squirrels in the first place?

The primary initiative for squirrels to come onto your property is for food. Squirrels eat almost anything, including flower bulbs, bird seed, and pet food.

Squirrels find their way into trash cans to scavenge for anything edible. They will also eat any nuts, fruits, and vegetables that they can find in your yard. 

Squirrels also come onto your property to find shelter. Ground squirrels dig burrows while tree squirrels live in trees. Either type of squirrel may find shelter in your yard free from predators.

They may also use your home or shed as a warm, safe location. 

If you live near a pond or have a fountain in your yard, squirrels will be attracted by these features as they are water sources. Squirrels will drink from water pipes, leaking hoses, and creeks

red squirrel munching on a walnut

How to keep squirrels away in the first place?

To keep squirrels from nesting in your home, block off all entry points. Squirrels are small creatures that can squeeze through tiny openings.

One option is to use sealant to fill in cracks or holes that lead to the inside of your home. 

Eliminating food sources is a way to make your yard less appealing to squirrels and decrease your chances of having a squirrel problem. Make sure your trash cans lids are tightly secured and that you keep pet food inside the house. 

You can install chicken wire or hardware cloth to keep squirrels from digging in your garden to eat flower bulbs. The stems will grow through the holes in the mesh while the mesh protects your flowers from rodents.

Do you grow your own fruits or vegetables? You can actually protect ripening fruit by wrapping it in plastic bird netting.

You can purchase a squirrel-proof bird feeder that makes it difficult for squirrels to eat the bird seed. Make sure you place the bird feeder in an open space so squirrels cannot use other items to get to the bird feeder.


Whitney is a graduate of Georgetown College and a current graduate student at the University of the Cumberlands. She resides in the beautiful state of Kentucky, which she has always appreciated and endeavors to maintain the land's well-being. A lover of animals and the earth, Whitney strives to communicate accurate information that will help readers learn new information, ideas, and become informed stewards of the natural world.

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