If you have ground squirrels in your yard, you may wonder how to get rid of them. These furry little rodents can wreak havoc on your landscaping and garden, not to mention being a nuisance.
The good news is that there are a few different ways that you can catch ground squirrels and get them out of your yard for good. Read on for some tips on how to do just that.
Here are some initial hints.
Table of Contents
- Remove brush piles, debris, and stumps from around your property. This will allow you to observe their feeding grounds and watch for other signs of activity, such as the appearance of caves.
- Check the perimeter of your crop fields at least once a month during the times of the year when ground squirrels are active. This will help you to identify areas from which they are likely to invade so that you can take appropriate action to control them.
- Keep track of how many ground squirrels you see, where they are, and how many caves they have.
- Keep an eye on their food sources, such as nuts, seeds, and water. These can help you to predict their movements and figure out the best way to trap them.
Step 1: Taking preventative measures:
The best way to get rid of ground squirrels is to prevent them from getting on your property in the first place. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Keep food sources out of reach. If you have bird feeders, ensure they’re high enough off the ground that squirrels can’t reach them.
- Store trash properly. Don’t leave garbage or pet food outside where it can attract rodents.
- Keep your yard clean. Debris, piles of lumber, and other items provide perfect nesting material for ground squirrels.
- Seal up holes. Ground squirrels only need a space about the size of a quarter to squeeze through, so make sure there are no gaps in your fencing or foundation.
Store trash properly
The key to keeping squirrels away is managing your trash correctly.
If you live in an area with many trees, you’ve had to deal with pesky squirrels raiding your trash can. But there’s no need to call pest control just yet. In most cases, following a few simple steps can deter squirrels from rummaging through your garbage.
- Make sure your trash can has a tight-fitting lid. Squirrels are adept at prying open loose lids, so choosing a can with a secure fitting is essential. You may also want to place a heavy object on the cover, such as a brick or rock.
- Keep your trash can in a closed garage or shed whenever possible. If that’s not an option, consider covering the can with a tarp when it’s not in use.
Keep food sources out of reach.
If you’re a bird lover, there’s nothing quite so frustrating as spending time and money filling up your bird feeder only to have it raided by pesky squirrels. Fortunately, you can do a few things to keep your feathered friends safe from marauding rodents.
- Squirrel-proof bird feeders are another alternative. These feeders are meant to keep squirrels from being able to reach the food by using weight-activated perches that close off the feeding ports when something heavy sits on them or selective access feeding ports that birds can only open.
- Another possibility is to change up your bird food. Many squirrels are attracted to sunflower seeds, so they switch to a food that doesn’t contain them. You could also try adding a little hot pepper sauce to the mix, as the capsaicin will deter squirrels without harming birds.
- Finally, make sure your bird feeder is mounted correctly. If it’s not secure, squirrels can knock it over and get to the food inside.
Plants that Squirrels Don’t Like.
If you like gardening, you know nothing is more frustrating than putting time and effort into growing a beautiful crop only to have it raided by hungry squirrels.
Fortunately, there are a few plants that squirrels don’t like and will avoid if given a choice.
Some of the best options include:
- Alliums: These include garlic, onions, chives, and shallots. Squirrels don’t like the taste of alliums, so they’ll stay away from anything that contains them. You can use allium-based products, such as sprays and powders, to deter squirrels from getting near your plants.
- Hot peppers: Anything that contains capsaicin, such as cayenne pepper, will deter squirrels. You can use hot pepper flakes, powder, or spray to keep squirrels away from your plants. Just be careful not to get any in your eyes or skin, as it can be irritating.
- Lavender bush: The strong scent of lavender is off-putting to squirrels, and they’ll typically steer clear of any area that smells strongly of this herb.
- Common marigolds: Marigolds release a substance called thiophene, which has an unpleasant smell for squirrels (but not humans).
Step 2: The best way to Catch a Ground Squirrel:
One of the most effective ways to control ground squirrel populations is predation.
Several animals, including coyotes, weasels, foxes, and hawks, will prey on ground squirrels if given the opportunity.
Sometimes, these predators will keep populations in check without any human intervention.
In other cases, however, humans may need to take action to ensure that predators are present in sufficient numbers to make a difference. This can be done through hunting, trapping (here are the best traps for squirrels), and poisoning programs.
Set up a live trap:
There are a few different types of traps that can be used to catch ground squirrels, and which one you choose will depend on your particular situation. One type of trap is the live trap, which captures the animal without harming it.
This is an excellent option to release the squirrels into a more suitable location. Another type of trap is the lethal trap, which kills the animal. This option is best if you permanently remove ground squirrels from your property.
Whichever type of trap you choose, set it in an area with evidence of ground squirrel activity. With a bit of patience, you should be able to catch the creatures and get rid of them for good.
How To Set a Live Trap:
The first step is to find a suitable spot for the trap. Look for an area where there is evidence of squirrel activity, such as droppings or chewing marks on plants.
Once you have found a good spot, set up the trap according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Be sure to bait the trap with something that will attract the squirrel, such as nuts or seeds.
Check the trap regularly and remove any caught animals as soon as possible. Remember to release them far away from your home so they cannot find their way back.
Set up a snare trap:
Another way to catch ground squirrels is with a snare trap. This type is similar to a live trap, but instead of a door, it has a wire that trips when the squirrel steps on it, trapping the animal.
How To Set a snare trap:
First, you need to find an area with heavy squirrel activity. Once you have found such an area, place the trap near a burrow or a feeding route.
Next, tie the trigger wire to a stake and position it so that the trigger pan is level with the ground.
Then, bait the trap with a piece of apple or other favorite food.
Again, check the snare regularly so that animals do not die in it.
Baiting to get rid of ground squirrels
Several effective baits can help to get rid of ground squirrels. The most popular type of bait is made from a mixture of oats, wheat, and corn, which is then infused with a sweet-smelling attractant.
When placed in an area where ground squirrels are active, the bait will lure them into the trap, where they will be caught and removed from the property.
Other tricks that can be used include fruit juices and peanut butter. Whichever type of bait you choose, make sure to place it in a secure trap to avoid harming other animals or children.
Step 3: Hire a professional pest control company.
If you are uncomfortable doing the job yourself, you can hire a professional pest control company to eliminate the ground squirrels. This is usually the most expensive option but also the most effective.
A professional can identify the problem and devise a customized plan to quickly and efficiently eliminate ground squirrels.
The pest control company will likely use one of two methods to eliminate the ground squirrels.
- The first method is live trapping. A live trap is a cage baited with food and has a mechanism to close the door once the animal enters the trap.
- The second method is using a lethal trap, which is a device that is designed to kill the animal when it is triggered. Both methods are effective ways to get rid of ground squirrels.
Fumigation to get rid of ground squirrels
This process involves pumping poisonous gas into the squirrels’ burrows, killing them quickly and efficiently. Fumigation is usually performed by a professional pest control company and can be expensive.
However, it is often the most effective way to get rid of ground squirrels and poses no risk to humans or pets.
If you are considering fumigation, ask your pest control company about the cost and the success rate. In most cases, fumigation will solve your ground squirrel problem once and for all.
Gas Bombs to get rid of ground squirrels
Gas bombs, also known as smoke bombs, are another way to get rid of ground squirrels. These devices release a dense cloud of smoke that suffocates the animals and forces them to leave their burrows in search of fresh air.
Once they leave their holes, the ground squirrels will be exposed to the elements and eventually die.
Gas bombs are available at most hardware stores and can be set off easily. However, they are not as effective as fumigation and can pose a risk to humans and pets if misused.
If you decide to use a gas bomb, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
Using poison bait:
Another way to get rid of ground squirrels is by using poison bait. This method involves placing poisonous food in the animals’ burrows or along their feeding routes. The ground squirrels will eat the bait and die soon after.
Poison bait is available at most hardware stores and can be effective if used correctly. However, it is essential to use caution when handling poison bait and to keep it out of reach of children and pets.
In most cases, it is best to let a professional pest control company handle the job.
Step 4: Best Time of The Year to Catch a Ground Squirrel
- Ground squirrels are most vulnerable to control after they emerge from their tunnel systems in late winter or early spring before they begin breeding.
- Use burrow fumigation for the best results, around 2 to 3 weeks after ground squirrels emerge from hibernation.
Trapping is the most common method used to control ground squirrels around homes and gardens, but it requires some patience and knowledge of the habits of these pests.
- Ground squirrels are most active in the early morning and late afternoon, so set traps at these times for the best results.
- Bait traps with seeds, nuts, fruits, or vegetables attract squirrels. Place the trap along a run or path that ground squirrels frequently use.
Many people think that the best time to get rid of pesky ground squirrels is in the early spring before they have a chance to do too much damage to crops.
However, baiting and trapping are generally ineffective at this time because the squirrels are mostly eating green vegetation and not grain.
- The ideal time to eliminate ground squirrels is when they’re transitioning from their food sources outside the crop field and into the area itself; this occurs in late spring or early summer.
- If you have access to the neighboring property, baiting or trapping along the perimeter is the most successful control.
This way, you can target the squirrels when they’re most active and prevent them from doing further damage to your crops.
What Damage Do Ground Squirrels Cause?
Ground squirrels are often considered a nuisance due to the damage they can cause to crops and gardens.
- Their burrowing habits can damage lawns, golf courses, and other landscaped areas.
- Can uproot plants, and their voracious appetite for seeds can devastate a crop.
- It can provide a safe haven for other pests, such as snakes and mice.
Can I Kill Ground Squirrels?
If you’ve been asking yourself, “can I kill ground squirrels?” the answer is yes, but there are a few things to remember before taking action.
- Check your local laws and regulations to make sure that killing ground squirrels is legal in your area.
- Consider what methods of extermination you are comfortable with using. Some standard options include traps, poison baits, and shooting. Remember that some ways may be more humane than others, so choose the option that best suits your ethical standards.
- Killing ground squirrels is not a permanent solution; they will eventually return.
The best way to keep them away for good is to squirrel-proof your property, such as sealing up holes and removing food sources.