If you're looking for something to deter squirrels from coming on your property or into your attic, we can help!
In this Pest Strategies review you can expect to learn:
- Our #1 overall best squirrel deterrent
- Difference between deterrents and
- How to choose the right one for you
- How to combine deterrents
Ready to get started?
1/2 Galvanized Wire Mesh
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OneLeaf Garden Cat Scat Mat
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Our Overall #1 Rated Pick
(updated as of 10/03/2018)
Of all the squirrel deterrents we looked at, our top pick goes to the Galvanize Wire Mesh.
Because it is the strongest, longest lasting deterrent available. Once it's properly installed it becomes virtually impossible for squirrels to get past it into your home.
Because the wire is galvanized against rust, it is also worry-free. Install it and forget it is the motto here.
Top 5 Best Squirrel Deterrents
Impatient to get moving or just want a quick answer?
Check out our summary list below, or keep reading for a more in-depth review of squirrel deterrents.
- 1/2 Galvanized Wire Mesh (our #1 pick for your house)
- OneLeaf Garden Cat Scat Mat (very good spikes for guarding the approaches)
- Bird Netting (an excellent deterrent for gardens and flower beds
- Squirrel Buster (a nifty idea for keeping squirrels out of bird feeders)
- Bird Spikes (spikes to discourage squirrels)
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Difference Between Squirrel Repellents and Deterrents?
A repellent is anything that tends to drive away or ward off an invader by arousing aversion or disgust. It can be something physically repellent or “icky” to the touch. Disturbing sounds or smells can also repel people or animals.
Have you ever been driving down the road and suddenly smelled a skunk? Even though you're perfectly safe from getting sprayed because you're inside the car, you still want to get away from the odor as quickly as you can. It's repelling you because it stinks.
Annoying or irritating sounds also have that same repelling quality. Remember Jim Carrey in Dumb and Dumber? His “most annoying sound in the world” sound really was annoying. You wanted to slap him to make him shut up.
But repellents don't force anyone, human or animal, to leave an area. We can choose to stay in spite of it. It also doesn't keep us from entering the area in the first place if we're determined to do so.
A deterrent is different. A deterrent is anything that serves to discourage, prevent, or inhibit something or someone from entering a protected area.
A wall, locked door, electric fence, moat, or barbed wire are all examples of deterrents. They keep you out whether regardless of your determination.
How Do You Deter Squirrels From Entering Your House?
Start at the house itself and work your way outward. First and foremost, the most effective deterrent is to attach wire mesh over all the entrances to the house. The soffit under the eaves is a good place. These vents often have openings large enough for inquisitive squirrels to squeeze through. Once they get through, they can run around the attic to their heart's content. Keep them out by putting 1/2” chicken wire or wire mesh over the soffits.
Gable end vents of your house have slats that may or may not have wire mesh between them. If they don't, nail some over the vents from inside the attic. It will keep the squirrels out without marring the appearance of your home.
If your house has a pier-and-beam foundation you'll need to put wire mesh around the underpinning to keep squirrels and other small animals from living under your home. If you've got solid underpinning already in place, you could probably just use the mesh around the entrance to the crawl space.
Below is a good video showing how to setup a wire mesh for an attic to keep pests like squirrels out.
Anti-bird spikes also work well at discouraging squirrels. Put spikes on the poles that support power lines or other cables going to your home. They also have a good track record when used along the top of fences where squirrels like to run back-and-forth and gain access to your home.
If you can't trim your trees far enough away from your house to keep squirrels from jumping off them onto the roof (they can jump up to ten feet), you can put rows of spikes on the roof where they'll land when they jump. One experience with landing on those will discourage any squirrel.
How Do You Deter Squirrels From Climbing Trees And Poles?
There are several good spike options available (see below) that can be wrapped around the base of trees and poles to discourage squirrels from climbing them. You only need to ensure the spikes are wrapped high enough around the tree (or pole) that the squirrels can't jump over them.
A band of spikes three to four feet wide, suitably high on the tree trunk will go a long way toward discouraging them from climbing it.
Spikes can also be wrapped around the support poles of bird feeders to accomplish the same thing. Any vertical object that squirrels can climb – rain gutter, tree, pole, or otherwise – can be treated in the same fashion.
How do you deter squirrels from entering your garden?
Netting can be erected over your garden or flower beds to keep squirrels out. Made from the right material, they're very effective.
So, What Deterrent Should You Use?
Depending on the problem you're encountering, as well as the severity of the infestation, a combination is probably your best option. In short, use as many of these methods as is humanly – or financially – possible.
Once you've got control you'll have to keep them in place about one to two years. After that, hunger will force the squirrels to find somewhere else to forage for food and they'll abandon your property.
Once that happens you can decide if you want to back off some of the more intrusive methods – netting for instance.
Squirrel Deterrent Products Reviewed
As a recap, there are the 5 deterrent products we looked at in the process of this review.
Our #1 pick goes to the Wire Mesh. Its strong, sturdy, and protected from rust. If you need something a little more flexible, the Cat Scat Mat might be your cup of tea. You can use it on fence tops and around trees and poles.
Some of these products require hammers and nails to secure in place, so be careful of hitting your thumb
This is a form of chicken wire, with 1/2-inch squares in it, made of 19 gauge wire, galvanized to protect against rust. It can be cut wire cutters or tin snips, then nailed into place to cover soffits, gable vents, gaps in underpinnings, and crawl space entrances and vents. It can also be put inside chimneys, just far enough down to be out of sight.
Once installed it deters squirrels from entering your house. They can't chew through wire, and if you attach it firmly, they won't be able to pull it loose either. If all you want is to keep squirrels from invading your house, stop here. This is all you'll need.
You can also use it to cover a wood or metal frame built around a garden or flower bed. Any enclosed area where you want squirrels kept out can be secured with this wire mesh.
The roll of wire is reasonably pliant, but you'll need to wear heavy gloves to avoid cutting yourself on sharp edges. Finally, this is metal so the roll is fairly heavy.
Made for keeping out cats, this spiky, roll out mat is perfect for pricking the paws of any creature dumb enough to attempt walking over it. The spikes are very stiff (ouch!) and will hurt anything putting their foot on it.
They're not long enough to penetrate or main, but a squirrel jumping on one of these from a tree will never want to do it again.
These mats can be cut with scissors to whatever length or width you like. Then it can be wrapped around a tree trunk, power or phone pole, rain gutter, clothesline pole, or any other vertical object to discourage squirrels from trying to climb it. These mats can also be cut into long thin strips then wrapped lengthwise around power lines or other lines coming to your house.
No more high wire acts for those squirrels!
Put it around the base of plants in your garden to keep squirrels from digging them up. You can do the same thing with potted plants on your patio or deck.
There is only one mat per package, however, so you'll have to buy several of these to get the kind of coverage you need. It may be a bit expensive. It also has a bit of a “memory” and tries to curl up. You'll have to secure it in place to keep that from happening.
This 3/5-inch mesh is extra strong and doesn't get tangled when you're putting it on and taking it off your plants.
It provides lasting protection and works well when it's stretched over a frame. This lightweight yet heavy-duty net is made from a very durable polypropylene (PP). It's designed and intended to be used outside, 24/7.
It comes in a roll 65-feet long and 7.5-feet wide. It's very simple to use, just unroll it, cut to the length you want (it doesn't unravel), and tack it in place. It's great for protecting plants while still letting them receive all the rain and sunlight they'll ever need. You can even water them through this netting.
The manufacturer, De-Bird, has a good reputation for their customer service. If you have any questions, they're more than happy to answer them for you. We only wish it came in rolls wider than seven-and-a-half feet.
Connect it over a wider area is slow and time-consuming. Be aware, some larger varieties of squirrels might be able to chew through it.
A lot of times squirrels will begin hanging around your house because you've got a bird feeder in the yard.
They love the seeds in the feeder as much as the birds do, you're ringing the dinner bell for them when you fill the feeder. If you could find a way to keep them out of the feeder there'd be fewer reasons for them to “come to dinner.”
The Squirrel Buster is that way. Squirrels are heavier than most birds, and the Squirrel Buster is a bird feeder that has a spring-loaded cage around the openings. When a squirrel jumps on it, their weight causes the cage to drop, covering the seed ports or openings.
Their own weight keeps them from getting to the seeds, and they have to get on the cage to access the feed. It's a near-perfect Catch-22.
The feeder is metal so squirrels can't chew through it, and the metal is treated to be waterproof and rustproof. The spring is adjustable to your specific birds and squirrels. However, springs eventually wear out under constant use so be prepared to buy a new one every couple of years.
These strips are covered with cone-like spikes to discourage birds, squirrels, and other small animals from landing or walking on them. They can be placed in a wide variety of places to deter squirrels.
The spikes on this are a bit larger than the Scat Mat above, so they're easier for squirrels to get their feet between them and avoid getting poked.
For this reason, they're best used in flat areas where squirrels will be landing after jumping there from a tree or power line. The spikes are very sturdy and “pokey” in situations like that.
Also, be aware that these strips suffer from warping after being in the sun for a few days. You'll need to screw them down in place otherwise the warping will render them ineffective.
Our Top Pick: Galvanized Wire Mesh
There are a lot of good products out there, no doubt about it.
It gets the job done on a “once and for all” basis with very little maintenance required down the road.
Used properly, it's the best deterrent money can buy.
Second place goes to a surprising contender, the Cat Scat Mat. This deterrent works better than we expected and is obviously easier to use than the heavy wire mesh. If you're not in the mood for major carpentry, this might be something worth checking out.
Other Squirrel Product Reviews
Curious about other squirrel related articles? Check out our other detailed guides to help you deal with your pest problems.