This year, we are over-run with squirrels. They are even picking green apples off my tree, taking a bite out of them, then tossing them to the ground. A late freeze killed most fruits, so I'd like to keep the few apples I have left. If anyone has ideas on what to do to deter these pests, I'd appreciate all the help I can get.
Susan from Arkansas
Let them eat, squirrels are not a pest, they are an essential part of nature. Enjoy them in their habitat, leave them alone.
Solution: Squrrels can't go to the shops and buy apples, you can, so why not do that. (06/17/2007)
By A Drachmann
I guess that I did not make myself clear in my first post. The problem is not whether or not I get apples, but with the sheer number of squirrels we are bombarded with this summer. We have a pecan tree that was planted when our house was built in 1902 that is huge. We also have an oak tree. Neighbors have numerous trees, so there is always plenty of food for them, yet they are not happy.
They have destroyed my garden (this summer I've planted it 4 times), have raided my berry patches (strawberry, raspberry, gooseberry, and blueberry), dug up and killed several plants in my flower beds, made their way through my flower boxes, and dug up most of my potted plants on my porch --who knew squirrels liked avacado pits that had already grown into trees? They go into my German shepherd's pen when he is asleep, to eat his food and squeeze into my cat's pen when he is in the house to eat his cat food. I've put out squirrel feeders that you place corn cobs on hoping that they'd leave other things alone, but that idea failed. They've destroyed a bird feeder I paid over $150 for that was supposed to be squirrel-proof (metal is only a minor deterrent to them). They have eaten through our phone and cable TV lines, dug into our home's eaves trying to nest in our attic (we have a 3-story house, so it's no small matter to repair the damage), got caught in our electric lines where they've gotten fried so badly that we've lost our electricity at times, and dug out the cement between the bricks of our chimney to nest in it. Did I mention that they've destroyed our roof to the point that it had to be replaced? Do you know how hard it is to find someone to reroof a home as tall as ours with a pitch this steep in a small town? The reroof cost us $20,000, we are not rich people.
Living in town, these animals are able to jump from tree to tree to fence to house to garage, to get around. Now I love animals. I take ones in that others have thrown out and find homes for them. I volunteer at our local shelter. I'm the person who carries dog food in the car to put out for starving dogs I cannot catch. But these squirrels are a destructive nuisance. There are far too many to catch and I simply am bewildered on how to handle them.
Suggestions would be appreciated. (06/17/2007)
My friend used pepper spray. Spray it as close to the nests as possible. Spray them if you can. They hate it! Guess what? Every squirrel left their yard. No more at all! Neighbors might be upset because the move elsewhere but they can buy spray too! : ) (06/18/2007)
By Debbie Columbia, SC
Jerry Baker, garden "expert" claimed the squirrels are just thirsty and that if you keep a bird bath full of water nearby, they will not eat the apples. This works for us. Good luck and God bless you. : ) (06/19/2007)
Coyote urine works for me, don't try and just use it around 1 tree, put it around your entire property, maybe even your neighbors. The stuff isn't cheap but if you are clever you can find ways to stretch it. (06/22/2007)
Feed them some peanuts and give them water. They love peanuts much more than apples. (06/27/2007)
I have just experienced raccoons eating apples from a new dwarf trees. I am very frustrated. We are in a residential area. I was going to hang windchimes from the limbs to alert me when they were "stealing" but I would probably be asleep.
They have traps for catching mice that work very well. I would think one could construct one larger for raccoons or squirrels and then take the occupant on a nice drive. It is a rectangle with one door that lets them push in to enter and get the goodie, but then is too long for them to push back out.
I also had more fun watching squirrels I was trying to detract from my bird feeder by tying peanuts in the foot section of a pair of tights. When I used string like rope, they got them down in 1 min. But when I used an electric cord they could not chew through so easily it stayed on the tree limb. They could not chew through the tights either. It was on a limb in a fir tree and they were hanging on it and that limb would go way up and down like a bungee cord while they were trying to get the nuts. They hung on for dear life as it kept going up and down. It was wild watching them.
Also, another thought, if seeds are left on the ground it could attract rodants. (09/28/2007)
Squirrels are a huge problem in my yard. They eat the buds, flowers and fruit if there is any left on my apple and pear trees. The neighbor feeds them peanuts, filberts, walnuts, corn plus there are several bird feeders. We also have 3 birdbaths and a pond where they can get water. So it is not because they don't have anything to eat. We also have 19 fir trees so they eat the pine cones also. They chew on my wooden mason bee houses and bird feeders of which I don't fill anymore. One of the squirrel proof feeders I purchased, they learned how to unhook the latch. I thought it was accidental or coincidental but it is not. It has been repeatedly unlatched. Last year I hung pouches of fox urine crystals in the fruit trees and had limited success. I am going to try hanging moth balls in the trees this year. (04/15/2008)
I read that hanging 1-foot long nylons filled with mothballs at various places in the tree will deter the squirrels. After three years of EVERY apple disappearing after growing to 1-2 inch diameter, I'm trying it this year! (05/14/2008)
I put an oscillating sprinkler under my almond tree, one of those long ones that go back and forth, and this seems to scare the squirrels away. I almost have a full crop this year. (5/26/08) (05/26/2008)
I've always had a dog who chased the squirrels when given the chance. She died last year and the squirrels have started to eat our strawberries as well. If you can get a dog that would work good, if not definitely do not befriend the squirrels. (06/21/2008)
Relax people, let these critters live. They don't know that the apples "belong" to someone. They are merely trying to survive. A.drachmann is right- go to the store and buy apples. Let these creatures eat. (06/29/2008)
Try bottle rockets, they're loud and harmless, just sit out on your porch quietly and launch at the first sign of trouble. They should hopefully relocate to get away from the fireworks. (09/19/2008)
I use the cheap rubber snakes available in the toy section of your dollar store or other. Hang them in your trees, changing their location everyday or so. Works for me. (09/30/2008)
Thanks for all the ideas, I think I will try the mothballs next year. I had baffles under the tree which helped for a while then as the apples matured they wiped them all out in one week. Since they are small trees, I could not get the baffles any higher than 4 ft. So much for spraying weekly.
I had tried years ago to trap them in Have a Hart traps but after trapping approximately 40 and moving them to a location 2 miles away on the other side of a lake I noticed I trapped the same one a week later. Did I move the same one all the time?
Since then I read that you need to move them 20 miles or so and with the price of gas, so much for trapping. (10/23/2008)
By Don B
To find out if you are deporting the same squirrel from your block. Catch the squirrel, hung a jingle bell to it's neck, paint the tell with a florescent paint, red, yellow, orange and release it. (07/06/2009)
I have been fighting those beautiful animals for several years, I have pear, apple, peach trees, cherry trees, and grapes. They chew on the apple and pear until they get to the seed, they eat the seeds and through the rest. Very wasteful.
Each Squirrel has its own zone of trees, if you get rid of one, you are resting for at least 10 days, until the rest of squirrels know that nobody own that zone, they they move in fighting each others until one of them wins.
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The best thing I have found to keep squirrels out of your fruit trees is to buy a couple of cage traps put peanut butter on crackers and put a few peanuts in the cage to sweeten the deal and check it a couple time s a day . I did this and was catching two a day then one a day now it's been a few days and no squirrels . After catching them I would take them to a nice park and release them so far it is working before I did this they would clean my trees off fruit.
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