How to Keep Squirrels Out of the Eaves

Squirrels can chew on wood and cause damage around the eaves of a home.
Squirrels can chew on wood and cause damage around the eaves of a home. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

Squirrels, with their natural instinct to chew, can cause expensive damage to your home's woodwork, insulation and electrical wiring. Your home's eaves are particularly susceptible to squirrel problems. Several actions can be taken to keep squirrels out of them in a permanent, yet humane, way.

Things You'll Need

  • Ladder
  • Hedge clipper
  • Tree trimmer
  • 2-Foot-wide metal tree or pole collars
  • Commercial squirrel repellent
  • Yellow onion
  • Jalapeno pepper
  • Cayenne pepper
  • 1/2-Inch wire mesh
  • Heavy-duty sheet metal

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Trim the bushes and trees around your house's eaves. Keep limbs and bushes 6 to 8 feet away from your home. If trees overhang the eaves, keep them at least 4 feet from the edge of the roof. Squirrels are more likely to climb trees to get to the roof than go up downspouts or crawl across electric lines. If there's an electric pole or tree 6 feet or less from the house, put a 2-foot-wide metal collar around them, about 6 feet from the ground. On trees, attach the collar with wires held together with springs that allow growth. This will keep squirrels from climbing the pole or tree.

Spray the eaves with repellent. Commercial repellents like Ropel can help keep squirrels away from your roof line; it tastes bad to them. Garden centers usually stock these repellents. You can make your own hot-pepper repellent by boiling a chopped yellow onion, chopped jalapeno pepper and one tablespoon of cayenne pepper for 20 minutes in 2 quarts of water. After straining the mixture, use a sprayer to apply it to the eaves. It'll last about three to five days.

Try not to attract squirrels to your property. One way to do this is by not feeding birds. Bird feeders filled with corn and seed will attract hungry squirrels. Some bird feeders claim to be squirrel-proof but that's often not the case. Placing a baffle on a bird-feeder pole above and below the feeding area will help keep squirrels away. Place the feeder at least 10 feet away from trees or other objects that squirrels can jump from. Use thistle or safflower seeds to feed birds; squirrels are not particularly fond of them. Also, a bird feeder with a tray around it will keep seed from falling on the ground. Finally, if you have a garden, pick the fruit or vegetables as soon as they're ripe.

Close openings around the eaves and in the attic. Squirrels may be hanging around your eaves because they have openings, allowing them to enter the attic and build nests. First, make sure there are no nests already in the attic. If there are, wait until the young leave; their attempts to chew their way out may cause more damage. Use strong 1/2-inch wire mesh or heavy-duty sheet metal to close the holes. Don't repair them with wood; squirrels will just chew through it again.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you enjoy having squirrels around your home, just not in your eaves, consider placing a squirrel feeder on the edge of your property; it may help lure squirrels away from your roof.
  • Some companies sell predator urine from coyotes or foxes and ultrasonic sound emitters to help get rid of squirrels. Their effectiveness has not been proven, and has been questioned by some pest-control experts and biologists.


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