Squirrel Damage

Squirrel DamageSquirrel damage to homes can be costly. Squirrels can chew through just about anything that’s not made of metal. Their front teeth continue growing throughout their entire lives. To keep them trimmed to a proper length squirrels chew on stuff.

A major problem arises when squirrels don’t have available to them, their normal methods of teeth trimming which include chewing on acorns, walnuts or other hard coated seeds gathered from trees, and will instead chew on your house, and property or anything else to keep their teeth trimmed. They might chew on your wood siding, roofing shingles, doors, sheds, barns, grill covers, patio furniture, plastic yard lights, non-metal parts of parked cars, etc..

So how do you stop them from destroying your stuff. There are several methods that can be used. The most important one being that you act as soon as you notice the first signs of damage. Don’t wait until these pesky critters have chewed a gaping hole in the side of your home or top of your roof.
Squirrel Damage Stopped
If you see wood damage from squirrels on your home, shed or barn in a location that isn’t overly obvious to guests and visitors, you can cover it with a piece of welded wire mesh or chicken wire or even a tin metal sheet.

But if the damage is in a location on your house that’s readily visible, use a rodent repellant such as Ropel Animal & Rodent Repellent. Spray it on and around the damaged area.

If the damage is already severe, or if the squirrels have made an opening through which they can enter your home, you might consider using a Havahart Live Trap and then removing the animals from your property.

Read my advice on trapping squirrels and on using a squirrel trap.

Another method that can have good success is to offer the squirrels an alternative item to chew on. By simply placing the item at or near the damage location, you may find that the squirrels will abandon their habit of chewing on your home and instead begin chewing on the item you placed there for them.

(If the squirrels are chewing in order to gain access to your attic for the purpose of giving birth, then alternative chewing items won’t have much effect. In such cases use the Animal Repellent or Live Trap.)

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  1. i have just paid for new sheets of plastic for my roof because it was leaking water.
    i don’t want to have to get a new lot as i will have to pay a builder to fit new ones.
    at the present the squirrels keep runing and jumping on my roof i am sure if it keeps
    it will damage my roof again.
    so can i put wire mesh or chicken wire on the roof to stop them.

    Thank You.
    Mr.j.t.Parker

    1. Dear Mr. J.T. Parker,

      Let me get this straight. Your roof is leaking, and you’ve put plastic sheeting on the roof to stop the leaks. You’ve got squirrels running on the roof top and you don’t want them to damage the plastic sheeting. Is that correct?

      If that’s correct, you’re idea of placing wire mesh or chicken wire on the roof, will not prevent the squirrels from running on the roof top. They would simply run on top of the wire mesh. Wire mesh is used to keep squirrels from chewing on things because the squirrels can’t chew through metal.

      It’s likely that the squirrels use the top of your roof as a pathway to travel from one tree to another. Squirrels will leap from tree branches that are closest to your roof, land on the roof and then run across it in order to leap into a tree that is close to some other portion of your house. So if you have tree branches that hang close to, on, or directly above your roof, you might consider trimming those branches a little so that they aren’t as close to the roof. This might help to prevent the squirrels from being able to leap onto your roof. Remember that squirrels can jump pretty far. Also, check your local ordinances to verify that you can trim the trees.

      You might also consider placing a live trap on the ground near the base of the tree they’re jumping to from your roof. Use peanuts or cracked corn for bait and remember that relocating squirrels requires a considerable distance because squirrels are often able to find their way home, even from a few miles away.

      Let me know how things work out.

  2. Squirrels are tearing my screened porch panels out of the metal housing they were mounted in. It is fiberglass screen. I need something to keep them off before actually trying to repair the panels. Any suggestions.

    1. Hi Steve,

      Thanks for visiting my website, How To Stop Squirrels. If I were at your home one of the first things I would set out to do is to observe the squirrels. When you wrote that they are tearing the screen panels out, I assume that they are climbing your screen. If that’s correct, I would observe the squirrels to find out where they are going when they climb the screen. Perhaps they do so in order to leap from your roof into a nearby tree. If that’s the case it might help to trim branches from the tree that are closest to your roof.

      Perhaps they climb the screen because they have a nest on or in your roof. If that were the case I would take measures to remove the nest and seal up any holes that may allow them to enter your attic.

      At my dad’s house, squirrels climb the screen in the backyard then traverse the roof top in order to jump into an oak tree located in the front yard.

      You might ask the professionals who install those types of screens. I have no doubt that they’ve dealt with this issue before. They may have a more durable mechanism to bind the screen into the frame or may even have a heavier gauge screening that could support the weight of a squirrel. Then the squirrels could climb the screen without damaging it. (But I understand you don’t want to have to buy a whole new screen), my point rather is to just check with them to see if they don’t already have a common solution to this problem. And I’ll research it myself also and let you know what I find.

  3. Help! The squirrels are chewing literally at our house (the wood siding). My husband has allergies to pets-cats/dogs-so that isn’t an option. But they are ruining the house. My husband put plastic around the garage opening and that helped but they are chewing around the door frame coming into our home. I have sprayed the area with deer repellent but there has to be a better fix. Any ideas?

    1. Hi Jenny,

      Thanks for visiting my website, How To Stop Squirrels. There are a couple of different things that you could do to prevent squirrels from chewing on your house. I would try implementing all of these suggestions all at once; just to make sure you’re efforts are successful.

      First: Wash the deer repellent off of the areas you sprayed and instead get a repellant made specifically for squirrels. There are many taste repellants available. When the squirrel chews on your house he gets a horrible taste in his mouth.

      Second: put up a squirrel feeder that has hard coated nuts. Squirrels that chew on houses are typically doing so to grind down their ever growing teeth. By placing a squirrel feeder on your property with hard coated nuts, you’ll give them something else to grind their teeth on, while also distracting them away from your door frame by giving them food to eat. Place the squirrel feeder away from the areas they’ve been chewing on. For example, you might hang the squirrel feeder in a tree on your property. It’s really important that you encourage them away from your door. If you were to hang the feeder next to the places they’ve been chewing, your effort to stop the behavior might backfire.

      Also, a free alternative to purchasing hard coated nuts is to gather acorns. Acorns typically start falling from oak trees in October, but there may still be some available in your area throughout November. Gather up all you can and store the excess in the fridge. To decrease the amount you might spend on store bought nuts you can mix in the acorns. You can also mix the store bought nuts with inexpensive peanuts or cracked corn. But what’s important is that the squirrels are offered some hard foods to grind their teeth on. Walnuts, pecans, acorns, chestnuts, etc, all have hard shells.

      Third: after you have sprayed the door frame with a taste repellent, go to a hardware store and get some scrap pieces of PVC. A short length with a large diameter and thick walls will do. Place the piece at or near the area the squirrels are chewing, but not in such a way that it will get the taste repellant on it. If the squirrel feeder isn’t enough to change their behavior then they may start chewing on the PVC instead of your sour tasting door frame.

      Another option is to trap and relocate the squirrel. Place a live trap near the spot he’s been chewing. Put some peanut butter, peanuts or cracked corn in the trap. Catch him and then take him far away from your home. Remember that squirrels have a homing ability and can find their way back home from even two or three miles away, so drive him a good distance before releasing him. Before transporting and releasing wildlife be sure to email your local animal control and ask them if it’s OK.

      If they say that they’ll come and get it, make sure they are aware of the fact that squirrels have a homing ability. In large counties, animal control officers are often few in number and thus very busy. You don’t want the guy to release the squirrel within a mile or two of your home just because he’s busy and in a hurry.

      I feel fairly confident that a taste repellent and a squirrel feeder with hard coated nuts will probably be enough to stop the squirrel from chewing on your house.

  4. Down in Texas, what we find effective is putting some lead into the animal. If we can observe ‘em, we shoot ‘em. A pellet gun works great.

    1. Hey Scott,
      That’s a great point. If a person has a nuisance squirrel they can’t get rid of with any other method, especially if the squirrel is damaging the owner’s home, dispatching the squirrel is probably the most effective method for solving the problem.

      However, I purposefully chose not to promote that method on this blog because most of the people reading this blog are likely living in neighborhoods where houses are close together. Many people may not be familiar with gun safety and might end up shooting out their neighbors window while trying to shoot a squirrel in a tree. Furthermore, I can picture somebody having the cops called on them while they’re standing in the front yard with a BB gun that looks like a rifle.

  5. Squirrels have continued to eat through our wood shed for years. We have tried covering the holes with metal and foam insulation but they keep making new holes. They destroy items in the shed, store nuts and make nests.We have given up and have decided to tear down the shed and buy a new one. Obviously a wood shed is out of the question. Will they chew through resin? Are there any other options besides a metal shed?

  6. Pam,
    Thanks for visiting How To Stop Squirrels. Squirrels can chew through anything non-metal including resin, however if the resin you’re referring to is fiberglass resin, it will be much more difficult for them to chew through than wood. It may even taste bad to them, considering how bad freshly made fiberglass smells. Your situation, however, sounds extreme and I would consider contacting an exterminator. It’s possible that the holes in your shed were created by only a few individuals and that once those individuals are permanently removed, other squirrels may not share the same habit of chewing on your shed. It’s curious that they have consistently targeted your shed and never your house. This causes me to wonder if there isn’t something about the shed’s wood that has attracted them, perhaps the age of the wood or its condition has made it easier for them to chew through. If that were the case, we can have some confidence that the new resin shed will not share those same properties and the squirrels won’t be so inclined to chew on it. Never the less, I would still contact an exterminator.

  7. I had a squirrel dig a hole behind my rain gutter into the eve of my house going into the rafters by the attic. I just had new siding put on the house and soffit. Once the siding was put I observed the squirrel scratching at the thin white sheet metal covering the wood at the eve of the house. Will this squirrel gain entry into this thin sheet metal? I read they cannot get through metal I am just worried if he scratches enough he will make a hole in the sheathing and get back into the eve. Amything else I can do or am I safe?

    1. Hi Rich,

      Thanks for visiting “How To Stop Squirrels”. It’s not likely that the squirrel will gain entry through the metal. I suspect that since he’s accustomed to getting into your house by way of that spot, he may try a few times until he realizes he can’t get in and then will give up.

      However, not knowing how thin your new siding is, I would definitely make a habit of taking a close look at it every day and if you see even the smallest bit of damage I would take immediate precautions, such as either some hot wax, taste repellant, a squirrel trap on the ground near the location, or other method that will prevent the squirrel from regaining entry into your attic.

  8. I had a squirrel ripped shingles at the edges of the roof, entered the attic and made a nest where four babies were born apparently before I noticed it. I had the entire roof renovated after removing the babies and nest. However, the mother squirrel is trying to get in to the attic every day, mostly in the morning. It ate through a plastic vent in a day. The contractor changed the plastic vents to aluminum vents. To our astonishment, it ate through the aluminum vent as well in four days. So, we are scratching our head what we could do about it. The squirrel is now free to enter the attic at this point.

    1. Nobby, Thanks for visiting my site. It’s my opinion that having squirrels in an attic is the worst of all squirrel related problems because there is a potential for fire if those squirrels chew on electrical wires in the attic. For that reason, if you have a squirrel who has not been deterred by reasonable methods, It would probably be best to hire an exterminator to dispatch the squirrel.

      1. Gary, thank you for your comment on my problem earlier. This is a follow-up with a success story. First of all, I set-up a spot light pointing to the entry point and left a portable radio music on in the attic as a temporary measure, an advice from a friend. It deterred the squirrel to coming in. Once I heard a thud in the ceiling and saw the squirrel jumping from the roof to a tree. It was obviously surprised by the light and music. Then I purchased a $70 squirrel trap cage, a good one. I set it up in the morning on the backyard patio with peanuts in front and inside the cage. By noon it was caught. (I could identify the particular squirrel. I was ready to release if other squirrels were inside). I covered the cage to calm it and took it to a dense forest about 40km away and released it. It disappeared in to the forest. Since then I have no squirrel problems.

  9. hi,under my front and back porch on the right and left side their is wood that crosses over each other where in between their are holes big enough for squirrel to get thru ,i would like to cover it with wire mesh,but they have alluminum,charcoal,calvinise(sp),etc,etc,could you please tell me which is better to keep squirrels from chewing thru and also has smaller holes to keep house mice from getting thru,please tell me cheaper option,i’m on disability and need to purchase over internet,thank you,

  10. I have squirrels destoying a Maple Tree in our yard. They eat all the bark around the branches and the branches die. The only branches left are at the top of the tree and they have started working on those. One summer I trapped and relocated a dozen squirrels. I have tried hot sauce; plus I have a dog and two cats, but they are not deterred.
    How can I save this tree before it dies?

    1. Hi Dar,

      Thanks for visiting How To Stop Squirrels. You mentioned that squirrels are chewing bark from the branches of your maple tree causing the branches to die. It also sounds like you’ve already tried a lot of methods to stop the behavior without success.

      First, however, I want to point out that your maple tree is capable of growing new branches so it’s very unlikely that the tree will die, even if all the branches die. The tree can put out new buds and grow new branches. However, if squirrels strip bark off the trunk it can, in fact, kill a tree. Water and nutrients are brought from the ground up through the trunk and into the branches and leaves. cutting off this vascular system will permanently damage and/or kill a tree.

      Also, keep in mind that many species of maple trees have a habit of shedding branches. For some reason, unlike most other trees, maple trees go through a lot of branches and will frequently drop dead ones during gusts of wind.

      But back to squirrels: If squirrels are in fact seriously damaging your tree and you’ve had no success with other techniques to get ride of them, a final option, like Scott mentioned above, may be to purchase a pellet gun to shoot the squirrels (but only if you live in a rural area and the law does not prohibit such actions). I would advice great caution with such advice because of the inherent problems associated with shooting pellets into the sky and not knowing where they may come down. But again if you live in a rural location, this may be an option. Check laws regarding hunting on private property, and the removal of nuisance wildlife from private property. If you’re not in a rural area, I would not recommend this.

      Another option may be to inquire about hiring a pest removal service.

      I hope this helps, and I hope you’re tree recovers.

      From Gary

  11. We just discovered that two strands of decorative patio lights have been chewed through completely. The squirrel(s) left only 8-9 inch lengths of the wiring (clearly gnawed on) and amazingly took all of the clear round bulbs in their outlets!! It’s the weirdest thing. I wouldn’t believe it if I hadn’t seen it myself. I was picking the short lengths of plastic wiring off our patio and out of the bushes and now have about 25 small sections. Not one bulb (or casing) or broken glass can be found anywhere. Any explanation to this?!? Better yet, how can I keep it from happening again – we loved those lights (they were only up for 2 weeks…) Thanks!

  12. I love my squirrels. BUT this year has been the worst for chewing. Over the years they have chewed the 1/4″ tubing for my bird mister. I even enclosed the 1/4″ tubing in a heavier plastic tube that they gnawed through. Even the heavy-duty nozzle I thought for sure would stop them they gnawed 2 holes in it ! I discovered they have chewed holes in our foundation irrigation tubing {that will cost over $750 to replace} and now they are chewing on the rubber hose that another new mister is attached to!!! They have plenty of water available. They have whole peanuts and sunflower feeders and over 8 places to chew corn. How can I stop them? I had 2 momma’s that had a total of 8 babies. Would buying the white dog bone chews help?? {Damage to my house has been minor.} Using hot pepper spray would have to be redone every several days. Help this squirrel lover! Sue

    1. Sue,
      thanks for visiting my site and I’m sorry to hear about your troubles. Anytime that I hear about squirrels causing severe and expensive damage to a home, my first advice is going to be to hire a professional exterminator. Most likely if the current culprits are exterminated, future generations of squirrels are unlikely to pick up the same peculiar habit unless there is something about that environment that draws them to your tubing which is unlikely. It make be an expense to hire an exterminator but doing so is better than $750 repair costs on repeatedly damaged irrigation.

  13. Good evening. Recently we (the Fire Dept) built a brand new station in a rural area. We have had a constant problem of squirrels getting underneath our vehicles and chewing on wires under the hood. To the point of spark plug wires needing to be replaced (yours truly). Other than traps that have been set out by the Professional industry, what can I do personally to protect my vehicle? Thank you for your time.

    1. Hey John,

      thanks for visiting my site. Sorry to hear about your car trouble. You mentioned traps set out by professionals. Actually squirrel traps can be purchased for around $20 or $30 and you can set them out yourself without the assistance of professional trappers. Place the traps under or near the vehicles, baited with peanuts and peanut butter. Trap them and then relocate them far away. You might also try putting up a squirrel feeder in a location that isn’t near where the vehicles are parked. By doing so you might give the squirrels something else to do.

      From Gary

  14. So I live in a two-floor house and my room is specifically located on the second floor. Recently; I’ve been woken up to sound sound of a squirrel chewing the wooden frame of my window in the morning. What worse is that the squirrel has taken advantage of a loose brick near my window and has dug a really deep hole inside my window. What is your best suggestion? We have a cherry tree in our backyard that the squirrels frequent often. I’m concerned about the squirrel chewing through the dry wall and entering the house.

  15. I say just trap and kill. They have destroyed all of my windows!!!! My kids fed a few thru the winter time, when they failed to leave food for them they tore thru the bug screens on 3 of the windows. they kept on coming and started chewing on the window frames, 5 windows in total plus the mesh. Now they started to build nests on my tree. I make it a habit of waiting for them on the porch with a high pressure hose. As they arrive, wait till they are within the range and spray. When i get lucky, they fall off the tree ;). Tried setting up Rat traps, but they are too smart to bite. Is it legal to actually kill them on my property if they are causing damage??? I’d consider them like rats or mice???

    1. Art,
      It’s illegal to discharge a firearm within city limits, however, you may be able to use a BB gun so long as the BB’s do not land on or hit your neighbors property, (that includes ricochets).

  16. I don’t think I’ve read something like this before. So good to discover someone with a few genuine thoughts on this topic.
    Really.. thanks for starting this up. This web site is something that is needed on the internet!

  17. Squirrels are chewing on our outdoor patio cushions. They also chewed up a lava stone like grill tool We’ve been here for 3 years and never a problem. What can we do? We live in an urban area with lots of trees. We also have a dog and young kids who sit on these cushions as we eat outside (the kids, not the dog).

  18. I had a squirrel dig a hole behind my rain gutter on my house going into the rafters by the attic. Last fall I had someone from a roofing company come place metal over the hole behind the rain gutter and another location towards the back of the house. This fall, I had a gutter removal business come clean my gutters who informed me that a hole had been bitten through. I asked them to take pictures and have them. What else should I do? Thanks for any suggestions.

  19. I currently live in Ga east of suburban Atlanta. I had my home sealed with metal strips (quite expensive) all around to prevent squirrels from entering the attic. I then had the small family of squirrels remove by a trapper. The first four days after sealing the attic, the mother squirrel return and was madly trying to reenter and was unable to do so… until this week, more than a year later. I never thought that a squirrel would eat their way through metal gutters and soft metal plate behind the gutters. I am afraid that the squirrel will continue to try and gain access to the attic and cause more costly damage. I have heard so many horror stories about squirrel but never on to eat right through the gutters… IF you have any sound proof suggestions, I am open… Also, I would love to share a picture of the actual damage….
    Thanks

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