Ground squirrels

Asked August 1, 2019, 1:54 PM EDT

We just discovered wiring damage to our pickup attributable to ‘rodents’. We have not mice or rats but way too many squirrels and chipmunk on our wooded property. I have put a wire fence around a flower bed to keep the squirrels out and when I see them on our deck I make noise to scare them... Any suggestions about how to if not eliminate the squirrels on our property atleast how do I make our yard less friendly? I have read they don’t like mint and can plant that on one side of the carport but hate the idea of spraying a harmful chemical on the more open areas. Thanks in advance!!

Coos County Oregon human-wildlife issues squirrels

2 Responses

First, is your pickup a newer (2008 or later) model? My understanding is that many manufacturers switched around 2000 to soy-based bioplastics as wiring coatings, leading to many more people having rodent vs. car wiring problems. Rodents would generally need to climb the tire treads to access the wiring, so one low-tech first step would be to set big rat traps at the bases of each tire when you park each evening. Some (internet, so grain of salt here) have recommended spraying peppermint-based rodent repellents into the engine compartment.
Bigger issue habitat management to mediate the squirrel and chipmunk issues. There are no general repellents for these species that would make them want to leave an area. Taste-based repellents, applied directly to plants you want to protect can be effective. Repellents however, are easily ignored (animals become habituated to them) after a short time, so switching among multiple products is the best way to achieve shielding that way. Managing overhanging tree limbs can limit access by tree squirrels. Attention to preventing free and safe meals provided by spillage of bird feed, downed fruit, garden waste, as well as hiding+food of shrubs near the house and garden is an important step. Ground squirrels prefer fresh, green herbaceous plants and grasses, so a lawn area provides food for individuals and also support for a large (growing) population. The University of Wisconsin recently release a nicely-updated brochure that might be helpful with some other suggestions, too https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0145/8808/4272/files/G3997-011.pdf

Thank you Dana S! You are right in that this is a 2017 pickup - the Chevy repairman explained the same thing about the 'soy based' wire coatings :-(

I did additional research and found a vast majority of suggestions included apple cider vinegar so I did that - sprayed around the whole carport. Knock on wood, so far the critters are staying away :-) I know winter is coming which means rain which means I will have to reapply again and often.

Unfortunately, we have a large 'grassy' area around the carport which we try to keep mowed... and we moved the bird feeder to the back yard so to not entice squirrels. These are both brazen as well as curious critters that's for sure! Hubby and I are trying to use the most humane methods of 'pest control' we can find...

Again, thank you for your time!