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Squirrels as a nuisance species

  • No Kill Permit required from VDWR if landowner is killing for their own use during closed season.
  • You must contact the Commonwealth Attorney’s office in your county/city for information regarding legal methods of animal removal. Local ordinances are usually more restrictive than state laws.

If you are up for a challenge, then this is the group for you. With the right motivation (say, sunflower seeds in a feeder) squirrels will learn to work around just about any known obstacle placed in their path. Empty birdfeeders are only one problem created by squirrels. Another is when they take up residence in your attic or chimney. Flying squirrels are most notable for inviting themselves in. Here are a couple of problems and associated solutions.

Squirrels at Feeders

  • Place feeders at least 15 feet from anything they can jump from and then place a metal exclusion device on the post to the feeder. These are available at most bird and hardware stores.
  • If no space exists this far from another structure, try suspending your feeder from a wire strung between two trees or posts. On both sides of the feeder, strung on the wire, place PVC pipe or plastic two-liter bottles so that they rotate freely around the wire coming from the trees or posts. This prevents, at least for a while, the squirrels from walking along the wire to the feeder.
  • Several “squirrel-proof” feeders are sold in birding specialty stores. Some are more effective than others. Talk to your local dealer for suggestions.
  • Many people have had success filling their feeders with safflower seeds. Squirrels tend not to like safflower seed and will avoid it at feeders. Buyer Beware: safflower seed is significantly more expensive than sunflower seed.
  • Try spraying your feed with chili or cayenne pepper. Birds have no sense of taste, but as a mammal, squirrels do. There are also several commercial feeds sold that come pre-treated.

Squirrels in the Attic

  • The most common culprits here are flying squirrels. These small rodents are nocturnal, so once you have identified the entry point, plug the hole with wire mesh or metal sheeting. Make sure no young have been left behind inside before plugging the hole.
  • Placing a radio with talk or loud music in the attic may encourage the squirrels to leave. Once again, once you have identified the entry point, plug the hole once you are sure they have left.