How To Get Rid of Ground Squirrels (2021 Edition)

Ground squirrels are cute and may be pleasant to look at, but they’re highly destructive to our homes, gardens, sheds, garages, and any buildings they may break into. If you're an avid gardener, you may especially suffer from having squirrels and other wildlife pests, like voles, break into your garden. If you're noticing dug-up bulbs, gnawing marks on your home, or an increased number of squirrels around your property, you may want to consider that you have a furry infestation. 

If you have a ground squirrel problem, you may be asking yourself, how can I get rid of ground squirrels? 

Our guide of how to get rid of ground squirrels includes: 

  • How To Get Rid of Ground Squirrels
  • How To Keep Ground Squirrels Away
  • How To Identify Ground Squirrels
  • Signs & Causes of an Infestation

If trying to get rid of ground squirrels on your own becomes too challenging, we recommend Orkin, Terminix, and Aptive. These exterminators have some of the best-trained professionals that can use traps, baits, and other chemically treated solutions that are often more effective than standard DIY methods. 

For Terminix quotes, you can reach them at 866-577-5051 or with this form.

For quotes from Orkin, call 866-701-4556, or fill out this form.

For a free quote from Aptive, call 855-521-7075 or visit the company's website.

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How To Get Rid of Ground Squirrels 

  • Set up decoys. Squirrels have many predators, including owls, hawks, eagles, coyotes, foxes, and felines. Purchase a decoy, such as an owl decoy to scare squirrels off your property. Place these decoys in positions where the actual predator may hide and throughout different areas of your yard. Changing these decoys’ positions regularly can also keep squirrels on their toes and away from your property. We recommend starting with at least three to four decoys throughout your yard and switching them regularly to keep squirrels guessing. 
  • Use a squirrel trap. Live capture traps are an effective way to trap squirrels. Place squirrel bait, such as pretzels, peanut butter, acorns, birdseed, or other attractive food sources inside the live trap to entice the squirrel. Once they’re captured, you can relocate the squirrel 10 to 15 minutes away from your home. Please look at your local laws and regulations before trapping squirrels, though, as some areas do not allow the trapping of wild animals. 
  • Try squirrel poison bait stations. Like many rodents, squirrels can be killed with mouse or rat bait. However, this can be tricky because rodent bait is not nearly as attractive to a squirrel as it is to other rodents. Try using Contrac Blox Rodent Control Rodenticide, which is effective against squirrels because it contains Bromadiolone. However, be cautious using this product around children or pets because they can easily consume this product and be harmed. 
  • Use ultrasonic sound repellents. High pitched frequencies irritate ground squirrels, so using an ultrasonic sound repellent is a great way to deter squirrels from entering your yard. Please keep in mind that this repellent can also irritate our pets, who can hear the frequency, although humans cannot hear it. 
  • Make a DIY natural ground squirrel control product. The taste of spicy peppers repels squirrels due to the capsaicin inside the peppers. Try making a DIY mixture of water and cayenne pepper, then spray this around and at the base of your plants to discourage squirrels from eating in your garden. You will need to reapply this solution, but it can be an effective method to repel ground squirrels before they cause damage to your yard.
  • Use a ground squirrel gas bomb. Gas bombs for wildlife pests, like moles, gophers, and ground squirrels, can effectively smoke pests out of their underground tunnels. The gas should not affect plant roots and is an effective way to kill these pests quickly. Please check with your local laws and regulations before using this product, as some areas may not allow products that kill ground squirrels to be used. This product will also not be safe to use around children and pets, so please be wary. 
  • Hire a pest control professional to fumigate your yard. Fumigation is commonly used against ground squirrels and is most effective during the spring. It's conducted underground, making it safer for other animals but effective against ground squirrels. 

Deal with other pest infestations. Ground squirrels will eat insects, so if you have other pest infestations, make sure you immediately deal with them before the insects attract other pests. Regularly apply pesticides and keep an eye out for signs of pests so that you can avoid ground squirrels and tree squirrels coming after the insects.

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How to Keep Ground Squirrels Away 

  • Rake your yard regularly. Start by purchasing a yard rake and raking up all fallen nuts, leaves, fruit, twigs, etc. By keeping these raked, you’re eliminating a potential squirrel food source. It's recommended that you rake your yard twice a week in autumn when leaves are falling. If you have a garden, make sure to rake the flower beds. 
  • Build a chicken wire frame. Squirrels are great climbers, so many fences are ultimately pointless. However, using chicken wire frames around your garden or flowers can prevent squirrels from eating at your garden plants. Fine mesh chicken wire is a great option because it will prevent squirrels from squirming through it. Ensure that you bury the chicken mesh at least four to six inches deep so that the ground squirrels cannot dig underneath the frame. 
  • Plant different types of plants that repel squirrels. Ground squirrels eat almost anything, but they are repelled by certain plants, including narcissus, castor beans, and crown imperials. Try planting these in your garden to repel ground squirrels. 
  • Try using pepper spray throughout your yard. Pepper spray is a popular choice to spray around your yard to help discourage ground squirrel problems. Ground squirrels dislike peppers and will steer clear of pepper-sprayed areas. 
  • Make a DIY castor oil solution. Mix 1/4 cup of castor oil and two tablespoons of dishwashing liquid, then add a gallon of water, mix, and pour into a spray bottle. Spray this anywhere in your yard that squirrels commonly inhabit. 
  • Control your trash. Seal off trash cans with a locked lid and place trash in tied bags. This is a good pest prevention measure for a variety of wildlife pests. 
  • Update your bird feeder. Bird feeders are an excellent food source for squirrels because they love to feed on birdseed. Look for squirrel-proof bird feeders with a surrounding cage, which will prevent wildlife pests, like squirrels, from eating the birdseed while allowing the birds to eat the provided birdseed. Never scatter birdseed on the ground, as this is a great way to attract ground squirrels and other wildlife pests. 

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How To Identify Ground Squirrels 

Ground squirrels are frequently mistaken for tree squirrels and chipmunks. So, how can you easily tell these critters from each other? 

Like chipmunks, ground squirrels are typically on the ground foraging for food. However, they will not have head stripes like chipmunks. Unlike tree squirrels, ground squirrels will have stripes on their body. 

Ground squirrels will also be larger than chipmunks and have a more prominent, fluffy tail. In addition, ground squirrels are more grayish than chipmunks, who are a lighter brown color overall. 

Another notable difference between these three critters is where they live. Ground squirrels typically live on the ground like chipmunks, whereas tree squirrels live in holes in trees. Like chipmunks who create burrows by digging in the ground, ground squirrels prefer to live in grassy areas and create smaller burrows to sleep and mate in. 

Please note that ground squirrels can carry a variety of dangerous diseases, including rabies, leptospirosis, and even the bubonic plague. These diseases can be spread to humans through bites, saliva, and even by touching the dead animal. So, be sure to handle dead animals with gloves and be careful of the fleas and other insects that may be living on the squirrel. 

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Signs & Causes of an Infestation 

In short, food and water are the primary things that will attract squirrels to your property. 

Ground squirrels are known to eat the following: 

  • Seeds
  • Nuts
  • Flower and plant buds
  • Grains, such as corn and wheat
  • Insects
  • Fungi
  • Bird eggs, including chicken eggs
  • Frogs
  • Birdseed
  • Garbage
  • Human leftovers

They will also seek out bird baths, ditches, puddles, streams, and fish ponds as water sources. If your yard has access to water and food, squirrels are likely to follow. 

Signs of a ground squirrel infestation

  • Increased sighting of squirrels
  • Gnawing, chewing marks
  • Chewed up wiring
  • Droppings
  • Missing chicken eggs
  • Destroyed garden and flower beds
  • Dug up flower bulbs
  • Nests
  • A strange odor
  • Strange noises
  • Scratching noises coming from your walls or attic
  • Ground squirrel holes (look for two to three inch holes, they may appear shallow at first glance)

Final Thoughts on How To Get Rid of Ground Squirrels

Ground squirrels are cute, fluffy critters, but they’re highly destructive and should not be taken lightly. On top of this, ground squirrels present a threat to human well-being because they can carry dangerous diseases and fleas and may cause fire hazards with their incessant chewing of wiring in our cars or homes. 

If you discover ground squirrels on your property, don't hesitate to reach out to your local pest management team. They can assess your property for pests and then discuss different ways to target animals on your property. This could include ground squirrel repellents, ground squirrel baits, motion sensor sprinkler systems, or squirrel removal. Taking care of squirrels on your own can be time-consuming and may destroy your yard or vegetable garden while you figure out which techniques help minimize squirrel activity on your property. 

Don't wait to call an exterminator today to have your ground squirrel problem taken care of. An exterminator can also advise you on local laws and regulations which may prevent the use of ground squirrel traps that harm animals or kill traps entirely.

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