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Keeping Squirrels From Eating Wooden Stairs


I have an elderly client that lives in the country, and he is having trouble with squirrels eating his wooden steps outside his front door. Is there anything inexpensive he can use to deter them and/or stop them from doing this? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Janice from Illinois



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By harry (Guest Post) 09/30/2008

They are eating the wood in stairs to keep their teeth in shape. He could get a have a hart trap and bait the trap with sun flower seeds. When the squirrels are trapped he could take them for a ride of maybe 10 miles and release them or he could buy metal mesh at a big box store and nail it over the area the squirrels are eating.
I dont think chemicals and moth balls will work.

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By jen (Guest Post) 09/30/2008

I put cayenne pepper in my bird feeders to keep the squirrels out. I'd try the cheap stuff at the $ stores or a few sprinkles of hot sauce and dish soap.

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By Cyinda 214 1,287 09/30/2008

Take cayenne or hot red pepper flakes & put this in a bottle of rubbing alcohol & leave it set for 2 weeks then strain it out & put it in a well marked spray bottle. He'll have to spray it on the steps each time it rains. Maybe plain Tabasco sause would work as well. You could paint it on with a paint brush.

---> A much better & more permeant fix would be to go to a Home Depot or hardware store & in their roofing area, buy aluminum roofing flashing. You can buy a 20 foot x 6 inch roll for under $7. Take this & bend it around the stairs. & screw it in. If this is a bit intimidating for you, an even easier fix would be to take aluminum gutter mesh (which bends easier) and wrap the sides of the stairs in this. You can use washers under the screws to attach it. If you don't want to mess with washers & screws you can buy construction adhesive (super strong glue). This gutter mesh is made to go over the tops of gutters to keep leaves out. Some stores only sell nylon or plastic gutter mesh, but you only want the aluminum type. It comes in a roll for under $7. I paid $5 last year for a small roll.

A third option would be to wrap rubber matting around the stairs. It's sold in the floor area of Hardware or Home Depot stores. It's that clear plastic stuff our moms put on the floors by the front door to keep our rugs looking new when we were kids. I'm sure the squirrels could chew right through this if they wanted, but it may deter them. Something better would be one of those recycled rubber mats that smell like nasty rubber tires. They are made to wipe your feet on, but the smell might keep the critters from munching them. They are black, & are sold where they sell floor mats. You can't miss that nasty rubber tire smell!

A fourth option would be to paint the steps with that gritty sand you add to paint. Also, they sell a "Non skid" sticky-back stuff that comes in a sheet or on a roll. It's made so people won't skid on stairs & handicapped ramps. This stuff has some kind of grit in it. you could try sticking it on the steps because the squirrels might not like the grit.

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By Janet 11 718 09/30/2008

You could get a Have-A Heart Trap & once you have caught the squirrel take him out to the country & release him.
A neighbor uses a barrel, fills it with water, adds a Frisbee with peanut butter (sets the peanut butter in the Frisbee in the water). The squirrels try to get the peanut butter & end up drowning!
Squirrels are rodents, but the 2nd method is cruel, however if squirrels get into a house they can cause major damage. We had one enter when on vacation.
They eat wires and everything.

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By Betty 14 78 09/30/2008

Go to your local dollar store and buy cheap rubber snakes. Put them on the stairs and the squirrels will go somewhere else. I put these in my apple trees to keep them from eating all my fruit.

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By Joan 14 122 09/30/2008

Put some Vicks Vapor Rub on the edges of the steps. They don't like the smell or the taste.

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By Betty Andrejczak 3 24 10/02/2008

I very recently ordered this product to stop the squirrels that get in my walnut tree. I haven't gotten it yet but it's organic, guaranteed effective and not expensive. It looks like this would be easy for the man to spray on his steps. I have dogs and they hate the squirrels but they also get in the tree from the roof of my house. I'm to the point of probably getting the tree cut down soon if something doesn't work!

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By Joan 13 1,482 09/29/2009

Where I live cayenne pepper, or the hot pepper spray, made for the purpose hasn't worked to keep squirrels, rabbits or gophers out of my plants.

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