Ground squirrels are non aggressive mammals that are still in the same family as chipmunks, mice, pocket gophers and of course the regular squirrels that we commonly see on the tree. Ground squirrels get their name from their habitat. They spend most of their lifetime on the ground to hibernate 250 days a year. Some of the ground squirrels live inside hollow trees, some of them live under the ground and some others build water dams in the winter season. Many people are trying to find out how to get rid of ground squirrels, especially when they have farmhouse or old house.
We can easily spot ground squirrels entrance. The tunnels are visible from the ground surface and they usually camouflage it with leaves, sticks and rocks.
Ground squirrels are usually living in a complex system, about 2 -4 feet deep under the ground and it could reach about 30 feet long. Each of ground squirrel have their own entrance on the ground, so when we shut one hole, it will only affect one ground squirrel, it won’t affect the rest. The burrows are homes for the squirrels and it will be their shelter during the winter season. It’s their place for resting, hiding, hibernate and storing food. Unfortunately, not only that we could have a problem with ground squirrels eating our fruits and vegetables, their house can also endanger us, our livestock and even our home construction. Therefore, keeping them away from our area is a long term goal.
Some of the ground squirrels can be tamed and approached, but if they make a home on our home, we will start to get some problems. Not only that they could eat our fruits and flower, but also danger our children and pets because their could bite them.
Similar to rats, ground squirrels are considered to be disturbing rodents, even though they are not dangerous, some of them could carry diseases and cause some damages on the house construction. Just like other rodents and insects, ground squirrels will only come to the housing area if they smell foods. Therefore, if we want to get rid of them, the first thing we have to do is knowing what could attract them to come and find some ways to get rid of them for good.
Killing ground squirrels is not a solution as other ground squirrels can still come to the area. Ground squirrels are also beneficial in some ways. They have an important role in the small food chain by eating insects.
Ground squirrels eats fruits, vegetables and all kinds of nuts. They lived in a woodland area, so if our home is somewhere around it, it would be great to do some prevention actions or if are unlucky and have them in our yard already, don’t get too quick to call the professional and spend a lot of money, try these 5 effective ways on how to get rid of ground squirrels.
1. Keep The House and Yard Clean
As mentioned, ground squirrels are not dangerous, they are making a way to our home because they smell foods. Therefore, the most basic way to keep them away from our home is to make sure that our home and yard area clean. If we have pets, then it would be so helpful to make sure that their food is not left on the yard and there’s no leftover on the ground. Ground squirrels are mostly attracted to the food on the yard, especially if our pets are having the same foods as them.
To keep ground squirrels out of the house, make sure to patch holes, cracks or any possible entrance points. For us who are living in a farmhouse, then extra effort might be needed as there would be more entrance points and bait for the ground squirrels to come to our area with the cattle foods. Ensure that the pets or cattle foods are not accessible for ground squirrels by closing them properly or put them in the higher place.
2. Use Motion Active Sprinkle
To get rid of ground squirrels in the most humane way, we can give a motion activated sprinkler a try. Unlike the regular grass sprinkler, this sprinkler is made to repel rodent like ground squirrels. The sprinkler is completed with an infrared motion that will detect any movements from animals or pests. Once it detects a movement, it will turn into a deterrent tool.
Motion active sprinkle gives so many benefits and can be an effective way on how to get rid of ground squirrels without any chemical products. It works effectively for any rodent and animals and if we have pets, they will adjust with this device easily. Animals and rodent are usually avoiding the area that scared them, so it would get rid of ground squirrels and they will not coming back. Just like the regular sprinkler, motion activated sprinkler will also water the soil as it does its work to keep the unwanted animals away, so we will get dual benefits.
3. Garden Plants
Whether we have a yard and tired of ground squirrels eating our fruits and vegetables or simply a garden and tired of ground squirrels eating our nearly bloomed flowers, putting some garden plants to get rid of ground squirrels can be a good idea.
Geranium is one of the plants that worth to try to get rid of ground squirrels. This all season plant has a scent that ground squirrels don’t like, so planting them as a fence would work to keep ground squirrels away from our area.
Daffodils is another recommended plants for keeping ground squirrels away of our area. As the part of Narcissi family, daffodils can help us to get rid of ground squirrels and also rabbits that’s also seen as pests in some areas. Ground squirrels don’t like the smell and taste of daffodils. Not only can daffodils help us to deter the unwanted rodent, but also a lovely border plants.
Fritillaries is a good alternative for us who have a garden and try to main it’s beauty. Just like daffodils, fritillaries is a pretty- looking plants that has the strong odor, which ground squirrels dislike. Add on this plants for an interesting color pattern and variant for our garden.
4. Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne pepper is a perfect natural way to get rid of ground squirrels, especially for us who have quite a big yard and want to keep the soil quality as well as avoiding environmental hazard. This pepper has a very strong odor and taste that ground squirrels hate. There are so ways to use cayenne pepper to get rid of ground squirrels.
If we love birds and usually have bird seeds, we can put cayenne pepper powder on the seeds bowl. Ground squirrels might hate the pepper, but birds really like it. We can also sprinkle cayenne powder on the ground and plants as well. Don’t worry about damaging the plants when using cayenne powder.
Besides in powder form, we can also use cayenne pepper in liquid form. In a container, mix a small bottle of cayenne pepper, a tablespoon mild liquid detergent and a gallon of water. Spray the mix onto the ground or plant and we can also spray it around the house and yard area, creating a fence from the ground squirrels and other rodents.
When we are using cayenne pepper as a solution on how to get rid of ground squirrels, make sure to apply the spray for few days within every two weeks or depends on the weather condition. During the mixing and spraying process, don’t forget to wear protective gloves as cayenne peppers can be quite burning, especially when it’s mixed with liquid detergent.
5. Feed The Ground Squirrels
Ground squirrels and other rodents come to places where they can find food. Therefore, one of the effective solutions is to feed them. Find an area that’s away from our home area and put nuts or fruits that they like there.
Ground squirrels love fruit tree. If we had enough of them eating our fruits and vegetables, make sure to take them once we harvest them and share some with the ground squirrels. Ground squirrels are known to enjoy fruits like apricot, apple, peach and orange. Apart from all those fruits, this mammals love to eat most types of nuts. We might have seen squirrels digging soil to hide the nuts given to them in the park, for them, nut is life. Take some pistachios, walnut or almond and spread them away from our area.
Another alternative to feed the ground squirrels is by using greens or root veggies. It will be cheaper option compared to nuts and fruits. If we have some eggs on our kitchen, ground squirrels also take eggs as a treat. Last but not least, we can feed them with seeds. Ground squirrels are not so picky, they like most kinds of seeds. Wheat crop or corn can be a good options to attract ground squirrels away from our area.
If we want an effective result and keep the ground squirrels away from our house and yard for good. Try to combine both feeding and cayenne pepper method. By using those two methods, we will tell them that there’s another food source in another place and our area is not good for them. With that way, even though we forgot to feed them, they won’t come over to our area for a treat.
If we are unlucky enough and have ground squirrels making their home in our yard or even our construction, then calling the professional can be the solution. Even small few burrows worth calling the professional. Not only that it will develop in the future and could damage our construction, also dangerous for family health. None of us want to share the same air circulation with a wild rodent that could bring disease.
After all the processes are done by the pro, it’s very important to clean the ground squirrels waste like their urine. Be very careful during the cleaning because just like mice and other rodent, their urine is the source of diseases. The cleaning process itself can take time and need to be done carefully. During the whole cleaning process, make sure to wear vinyl, latex or rubber gloves. Use the commercial cleaner or make our own mix by using the mix of bleach solution and water. Prepare one plastic bag for the paper towel used to take and wipe ground squirrels droppings and urine.
When we are done with it, don’t throw the container inside the house. Seal the plastic and throw it to the bin outside the house. When all the urine and droppings are removed, mop and spray the area that’s potential affected area with disinfectant. Mop the floor or any hard surface and steam carpets and any furniture with fabric. For any washable materials, make sure to wash them in a hot water.
If we feel that ground squirrels left some waste on the ventilation system, then it would be helpful to call the professional. Ventilation system is quite hard to reach and cleaning it can be too risky.
To find the solution of how to get rid of ground squirrels is not an easy thing. There are some cases where ground squirrels come again after a long and exhausting repellent process. The key is to pay attention to the result of any repellent effort and if it works, make sure to maintain the process and not stopping it. Combining some methods can be a good solution. Even though the professional has came to our house and we thought that everything is clean, it’s worth for us to do prevention actions such as spraying cayenne pepper solution to keep them away of our area. Remember that squirrels need some food and they even stock them to face winter. A continuous effort is required, especially when ground squirrels become a common problem on the area we are living in.