Ground squirrels may be cute, but they can be a serious problem in large numbers. This is especially true if you have ground squirrels denning on your property.
These burrowing rodents can wreak havoc on lawns and even cause structural damage to homes and buildings. Worse, they are carriers of fleas, which can transmit serious and deadly diseases to humans and pets.
And while ground squirrels don’t typically enter houses or nest in homes, they do live in colonies and can be attracted to human resources like food, shelter and water.
Are you wondering how to get rid of ground squirrels? You’ve come to the right place. Today, we are talking all about ground squirrel removal, tips and tricks, and how to prevent these furry little pests from coming back around in the future.
What Are Ground Squirrels?
Ground squirrels are closely related to squirrels, though instead of living in trees they prefer to live below ground.
Ground squirrels are small rodents in the squirrel family that prefer to live in the ground as opposed to trees. In The United States there are roughly 26 different species of ground squirrels, including chipmunks, marmots, prairie dogs, tamias and even groundhogs!
Most ground squirrels you are familiar with will be between six and 11 inches in length. They are furry from head to toe with bushy tails, and many have white or black lines down their backs and their faces.
Ground squirrels can range in color from tan, brown, rust, and a variety of pattern types depending on their species.
They are intelligent animals that are highly social, and they tend to live in large colonies of up to 20 rodents at a time.
These animals are also resourceful, and they build intricate dens around six feet below the surface of the ground. These dens often have multiple dwellings where families of ground squirrels will live, and each den has numerous entrances.
This is one of the reasons that figuring out how to get rid of ground squirrels can be difficult. Another reason is because they are prolific reproducers. Female ground squirrels can have up to 11 young in a single litter, though most experts agree that the average litter size is between four and six young.
Ground squirrels are also relatively long-lived. In fact, depending on the species, some ground squirrels can live for as long as 18 years.
When it comes to how to get rid of ground squirrels, you’ll want to take all of this into consideration. You’ll also want to consider the damage these pests cause, and why you might have ground squirrels on your property in the first place.
Keep reading to learn more.
Why Do I Have Ground Squirrels On My Property And What Kind Of Damage Can These Animals Cause?
Ground squirrels are attracted to shelter, food and water. They eat nuts, grains, and vegetables from gardens.
Ground squirrels are common throughout the United States, but they are most attracted to open fields, grasslands, farms and residential areas with lots of open space. Greenbelts can provide excellent real estate for these rodents, especially if this open space is not commonly cared for or if it is not heavily trafficked.
Like all animals, ground squirrels need three common things to survive – water, food and shelter. They typically make their own shelter below ground, but they will also enjoy living in areas that provide them with plenty of safe hiding places during the day.
Yards with lots of debris, wood piles, trees, large rocks, and open sheds will be ideal for a ground squirrel colony. These animals are very active during the day and are likely to scamper up trees or beneath debris if they feel threatened.
When you’re looking into how to get rid of ground squirrels, you should also keep in mind that many of the same things that attract regular squirrels will attract them.
They typically feed on nuts, seeds and grains, which can include bird seed, corn, oats, wheat, fruits, vegetables and more. While they are not known to eat dog food regularly, ground squirrels are little scavengers and may not pass up an opportunity for a free meal if it is provided.
Some people enjoy having ground squirrels on their property, but an over abundance of them can be problematic. This is because ground squirrels can burrow deep into the earth and cause damage to lawns and gardens. They can also cause foundational issues for your home and chew through sprinkler lines, costing you quite a bit of money down the road.
And, as we mentioned above, ground squirrels are carriers of fleas, which they can transmit to humans. In the United States, fleas have been known to transmit typhus and the bubonic plague, which can be deadly to both people and pets.
This is why if you do have ground squirrels, it is best to keep your distance and look into how to get rid of ground squirrels for good.
With that noted, let’s talk about the best products for how to get rid of ground squirrels.
Best Products For How To Get Rid Of Ground Squirrels
Ground squirrels tend to live in colonies of up to 20 rodents at a time, so getting rid of them can be tricky.
Figuring out how to get rid of ground squirrels can be tricky, especially if you prefer using humane methods that don’t involve poisons or deadly traps.
The good news is that you have plenty of options when it comes to how to get rid of ground squirrels, including many humane methods. However, we should note that live capture and relocation of ground squirrels may actually be illegal in some regions of the United States.
In California, for example, ground squirrels cannot be relocated off of someone’s property. They must either be released back to where they were caught or humanely euthanized.
Of course, laws are different and enforced on a state-by-state basis. If you’re looking into how to get rid of ground squirrels, we suggest first doing plenty of research on your specific area and finding out not only the best methods to use for how to get rid of ground squirrels, but the methods that are legal and humane.
If you do know the guidelines in which you must follow for how to get rid of ground squirrels, we want to help. We have added a list of some of our favorite products and traps below.
Wilco Distributors Ground Squirrel Trap
While it may not be legal in all states or regions to trap and relocate ground squirrels, it is in many. Trapping and relocating these animals can be an effective form of how to get rid of ground squirrels, especially if the process is done properly.
Because ground squirrels live in large colonies, you’ll want to invest in a live trap that captures many squirrels at once. The above ground squirrel trap by Wilco works in such a way and even has multiple entrances to help capture these pests.
You can bait the ground squirrels using peanut butter, seeds, fruits, or other foods they are attracted to.
When you do relocate the ground squirrels, be sure to do so at least five miles away from your property to keep them from returning.
We also suggest making sure you do not relocate nursing ground squirrels away from their infants, as this would leave the babies to die slowly, which is inhumane.
Nature’s Mace Squirrel Remover And Repellent
We are going to talk a bit more in detail further down about how to make your own mace to repel ground squirrels, but if you’re not in the market for DIY projects, this product is all natural, safe for people, pets and the environment, and effective for how to get rid of ground squirrels and keep them from coming back.
This mace protects vegetable gardens from a number of rodent pests and, when used routinely, can be used as a repellent to get ground squirrels to vacate their underground dens.
This product is best used in smaller ground squirrel populations or early on. You can order it in a few different sizes depending on your needs and spray it directly on plants, around your yard, and near ground squirrel entrance holes.
We also like that this repellent not only works against ground squirrels, but also raccoons.
Havahart Live Animal Trap
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Another live animal trap we like and have recommended before is the Havahart Live Animal Trap. This live trap is designed to catch and release ground squirrels, rats, standard squirrels, and other small rodents you would like to remove from your property.
Again, only use this method if you know it is legal in your region and be sure to travel at least five miles away from your home in order to ensure the ground squirrels do not simply find their way back.
The only downfall of this trap is that it does not allow for multiple catches at once. It will only catch one ground squirrel at a time, so we would not recommend this for very large ground squirrel problems on your property.
Ortho Animal B Gon Spray
Just as there are bug sprays and repellents, there are also wild animal sprays and repellents. We like this product by Ortho for how to get rid of ground squirrels because it comes in a ready-to-spray container that includes a nozzle for easy application.
It can be used to repel and remove groundhogs, squirrels, rabbits, rats, mice, and of course ground squirrels.
This product is safe for people, pets and plants and covers up to 4,000 square feet. However, while it is safe to use around people and pets, this product is not organic and should only be used as directed. It should also be kept out of reach of children.
Amdro Gopher Gasser
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If you’re feeling especially frustrated with how to get rid of ground squirrels or find they keep coming back, you may be turning towards more lethal methods of removal.
The above product by Amdro is called Gopher Gasser, though it works for a number of underground pests including ground squirrels. This product contains three packets of six individual gassers.
The gassers work by being deployed into the entrance holes and fumigating the ground squirrels with a poison that kills them.
There are pros and cons to using this product. It can be harmful to the environment and dangerous for people and pets. It may also need to be used multiple times before it works entirely.
Be sure to read the directions carefully and use this product only as directed, and store it out of reach of children and pets.
Best Products For Preventing Ground Squirrels
Preventing ground squirrels is typically cheaper and less time consuming than trying to get rid of them.
Working on how to get rid of ground squirrels can be difficult, and it’s often much easier to prevent them than to get rid of them once they are a problem.
If you’ve already gone through the process of how to get rid of ground squirrels, we suggest using some of these products below to keep them from returning.
Take a look.
AMERFIST Rodent Repellent Stakes
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First on our list of repellents are these rodent repellent stakes by AMERFIST. These stakes are for outdoor use and can help repel a number of pests from ground squirrels to rats, moles, groundhogs and more.
The stakes work using solar energy and are easy to use and place in your lawn. They are also waterproof and designed to be weather resistant. The stakes deter pests using ultrasonic vibrations and they can cover up to 70 feet in diameter depending on where they are placed.
Best of all, these stakes are safe for people, pets and the environment, free of chemicals or poisons, and completely humane.
Abilly 2021 Solar Ultrasonic Animal Repeller
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Like the above stakes, this ultrasonic animal repeller by the Abilly store repels animals like ground squirrels using a motion sensor and flashing light, as well as ultrasonic sound waves. This product is ideal for how to get rid of ground squirrels because it is silent unless it is approached.
It is best used in conjunction with other methods of ground squirrel removal, of course, and will be most effective when used after you have managed to get rid of ground squirrels and you have destroyed their dens.
DIY Ground Squirrel Prevention And Control
Because they are sensitive, you can use household ingredients like cayenne and garlic to get rid of ground squirrels.
If you are passionate about natural or more humane pest control methods and you would prefer to get rid of ground squirrels without purchasing products, you’re in luck! There are a few home remedies and ingredients you probably already have on hand that can help to repel these animals.
Make A Homemade Cayenne Pepper Spray
Ground squirrels are very sensitive. So, while it can be tricky to figure out how to get rid of ground squirrels, it’s simple to prevent them once you know what they don’t like.
For instance, ground squirrels are deterred by anything that might be overwhelming or irritating to their senses, including crushed red pepper or cayenne.
You can make your own cayenne pepper spray for how to get rid of and prevent ground squirrels by following the directions below:
- 1 Gallon of Water
- 10 Freshly Chopped Cayenne Peppers
- 6 Cloves of Garlic (Optional)
- 10 – 15 Drops of Peppermint Oil (Optional)
- 1 Spray Bottle
In a pot, bring the chopped peppers and garlic to a simmer before adding the water and oil. Allow this to simmer for a good 30 minutes on low and then remove the pot from the stove. Let it sit for 24 hours, then carefully pour the mixture into a large spray bottle.
Spray this mixture over plants, fences, and your yard to help protect these areas from ground squirrels.
For more information on how to make your own cayenne pepper spray for how to get rid of ground squirrels, check out this video below.
Sprinkle Crushed Cayenne Pepper Around Your Yard
Sometimes the best solution for how to get rid of ground squirrels is to simply dig into your spice cabinet and pull out the crushed red pepper or the cayenne pepper.
When using this method for how to get rid of ground squirrels, simply sprinkle the pepper of your choice around your yard or garden. You can even make a perimeter around areas where you don’t want ground squirrels to frolick.
However, we don’t recommend using this method if you have pets that frequently play in the yard, as cayenne pepper can be irritating to them as well.
McCormick Ground Cayenne Pepper
If you’re looking for a good product to use when it comes to how to get rid of ground squirrels using ground cayenne pepper, we would recommend the McCormick Ground Cayenne Red Pepper above. This product comes in a 14 ounce container, which is good because you will likely need more than the typical size that comes in most spice containers.
Along with sprinkling cayenne pepper around your yard and property to repel and remove ground squirrels, you can also use crushed ground pepper in place of fresh chopped cayenne pepper in your spray we talked about above.
Hose The Ground Squirrels Out Of Their Den And Then Cover Their Holes
One method for how to get rid of ground squirrels is effective, but it’s also only temporary if prevention methods are not immediately taken. To get rid of these pests without killing them you can place a garden hose in their entry hole and hose them out.
Of course, only do this if you are sure there are no infants inside the den, as this method could drown them.
When you are sure their dens are empty, go about investigating your yard for any entrance holes and fill them in as best you can. Then follow the steps at the end of this article to prevent ground squirrels from coming back in the future.
Use Essential Oils To Repel Them
Essential oils have long been used for natural pest control, and this is especially true when it comes to rodents like mice, rats or ground squirrels. Some of the best essential oils you can use for how to get rid of ground squirrels include:
- Peppermint Oil
- Garlic Oil
- Thyme Oil
- Cinnamon Oil
- Clove Oil
- Lemongrass Oil
There are a few different ways you can implement essential oils for how to get rid of ground squirrels. One way is to mix 15 to 20 drops of essential oil with two cups of water in a spray bottle and spray around your yard and garden every few days.
You can also saturate cotton balls in the above essential oils of your choice and leave them in your garden or around your yard, or even near ground squirrel entrance holes. Replace these cotton balls once every two to three days for the best results.
Put Cayenne Pepper In Your Bird Seed
Yes, this really works! Cayenne pepper can help repel not only ground squirrels and keep them out of your bird seed, but also other rodents and pests. Best of all, it’s completely harmless to the birds you’re trying to attract. Birds do not react to spice the way mammals do, and it will not harm or irritate them at all.
Get A Dog Or Cat
Ground squirrels won’t want to live where they feel unsafe. This is especially true if they are trying to raise a litter.
Getting a dog or cat can help decrease your chances of dealing with ground squirrels. Of course, we never recommend getting a dog or cat simply for pest control purposes. Still, this is one of the bonuses of bringing an animal into your life!
Tips On How To Get Rid Of Ground Squirrel And Prevent Them In The Future
You can help keep ground squirrels at bay by removing debris and easy hiding spots in your yard like rocks, stones and wood piles.
As we mentioned briefly above, preventing ground squirrels is easier than figuring out how to get rid of ground squirrels. At the end of the day, preventing these pests is also often less expensive and less time consuming.
So, what do experts recommend you do in order to keep ground squirrels out of your yard and garden?
We have listed some of the best tips and tricks below!
Plant Ground Squirrel Repellent Plants In Your Yard
Ground squirrels can be frustrating, especially if you are nurturing a vegetable garden or if you have fruit trees on your property. These pests can destroy gardens in large numbers, so we recommend protecting your plants by companion planting rodent-repellent plants around your perimeter.
Some of the best plants that can help repel ground squirrels and many other types of rodents include:
- Grape Hyacinth
- Black Pepper
- And Tomatoes
Invite The Predators
If you’re not in the market for a dog or a cat, you can always use nature to your advantage when it comes to how to get rid of ground squirrels. Ground squirrels have plenty of natural predators, and you can help attract them by making your yard more hospitable to them.
Some of the best predators for ground squirrels include:
- Birds of Prey including
- And Eagles
Clear Out Any Unused Debris In Your Yard
While ground squirrels do prefer areas that are grassy and open for them to create their dens, they will also prefer properties that provide them with ample hiding places and shelter.
Ground squirrels are active during the day, when they run about foraging for food and chasing each other in what is known as a “mating chase”.
If you make your yard less inviting for them to run around in (for example, removing any areas they can turn to if they are threatened or fearful) they are less likely to choose your yard as a denning ground.
This means removing leaf litter, overturned buckets, tires, wood piles, dead trees, stumps, logs, large rocks, and other equipment or debris you are not regularly using.
Keep Your Lawn Mowed And Your Yard Landscaped
Grassy areas where grass is overgrown is ideal for ground squirrels. This provides them with plenty of room to create their entrances to their dens without you finding these entrances too easily.
By keeping up with routine landscaping and mowing you will not only be able to keep a better eye on your garden and yard for ground squirrels, but you’ll be able to catch any potential holes or dens that are being created early one.
Relocate Wood Piles Often
If you have wood piles on your property, chances are you need them. If you cannot store them in a shed or garage, then we suggest relocating them often. This can help prevent ground squirrels from building dens directly underneath wood piles where you cannot see them.
Consider Investing In Rodent-Proof Mesh
Rodent-proof mesh is super helpful when it comes to protecting your garden and even your sprinklers. This is also an option you can consider if you enjoy having a few ground squirrels on your property but would like for them to stay out of certain areas.
Keep Bird Seed Stored Inside When It’s Not In Use
When you’re not using bird seed, be sure you store it in an airtight container. This can help not only keep ground squirrels from coming about but also other pests like rats, mice and squirrels.
So, what do you think about ground squirrels and how to get rid of ground squirrels for good? Do you find these animals cute and entertaining, or would you prefer they left your property?
Tell us what you think about ground squirrels below in the comment section.
Jack founded our blog after two decades of working in the pest control industry. His vast experience dealing with a wide array of pests allows him to diagnose issues quickly and get to the heart of pest problems quickly and effectively. He has serviced more than 2,000 homes over his career and there is hardly any pest situation that he has not seen before.