Squirrels might be super cute, but they are wild and unpredictable rodents that you’ll probably want to keep away from your balcony.
Like most pests, squirrels can leave behind droppings and urine, and they can chew on wires and outdoor furniture items. They can also harbor diseases and parasites that can be spread to humans or pets.
If you’re a paranoid dog owner like me, you also might be concerned about the prospect of your dog aggressively chasing down a squirrel outside your high rise apartment.
Bottom line? Try to avoid having squirrels on your balcony.
Here are 10 ways to effectively and humanely keep squirrels away from your balcony.
1. Don’t feed them
First and foremost, don’t be the instigator of a squirrel problem.
Squirrels are creatures of habit and are excellent at remembering behaviors. If you feed them – even if it’s just once – they will remember and will recognize you (and your balcony) as a trusted source of food. It’s important, therefore, to never feed them unless you want to start the cycle unless of them visiting regularly.
2. Remove any food sources
Even if you’ve avoided intentionally feeding squirrels, remember that they are curious rodents that love to eat and will check out and try almost anything. Make sure you don’t leave any food items (dog food included) on your balcony.
3. Use Squirrel repellants
There are a number of tastes and smells that squirrels despise and will stay away from. Try wiping down your balcony railings, floor perimeters or outdoor furniture legs with dishwashing soap mixed with water or opt for a natural repellant like peppermint spray that’s safe for both humans and pets. You will probably want to do this once a week as the effects will wear off over time.
4. Avoid bird feeders
There are certain foods that squirrels particularly love, and birdseed is one of them.
While there are a number of ways to steer squirrels away from bird feeders, if attracting squirrels is of any concern at all, just don’t get one to be on the safe side… they might be too tempting for squirrels to try and figure out.
5. Plant flowers that squirrels hate
If you’re looking to plant a vegetable, herb or flower garden, ensure that you incorporate some strong-smelling plants that will repel squirrels such as garlic, leeks, peppermint or geraniums.
If you want to plant vegetables that you’re afraid will attract squirrels, surround the plant containers with chicken wire or something similar to keep the squirrels out.
6. Try noise repellant
It’s not just smell that can repel squirrels – sound can as well. The ultrasonic animal repeller works quite will and will emit a high frequency sound that humans can’t hear. The only downside is a number of animals – dogs and cats included – can also hear the sound, so you should stay away from this solution if you have other pets at home.
7. Remove standing water
Squirrels need access to both food and water, so leaving any standing water on your balcony can possibly attract squirrels to your balcony and train them to come back and check for more. It’s best to remove any standing water in general since it also attracts mosquitos and other unwelcome bugs.
8. Clean regularly
If your balcony is near trees, there’s a chance that nuts, berries or fruits from nearby trees can fall or get blown onto your balcony, which will attract squirrels. This is why it’s important to sweep your balcony regularly and occasionally deep clean your space.
Cleaning will also ensure that there’s limited debris or areas where squirrels can hide or set up nests.
9. Use decoys
Sometimes, a visual is enough to scare squirrels away.
Try using a decoy like an owl statue or similar predatory creature. Just remember that squirrels are incredibly smart and will notice if the owl never moves around, so you’ll want to move it around every other day or so to make it seem more realistic.
10. Enclose your balcony
One final suggestion is to completely enclose your balcony with netting or fencing. This would be the most time consuming option and has other implications (could impact your view, etc), but might be the best option if you want to eliminate any chance at all of having squirrel visitors on your balcony.
Squirrels can be a nuisance to any balcony space, but often times we are the cause of the problem to begin with!
The best thing you can do is to avoid attracting them in the first place. If they’re already a problem, there are luckily a number of ways to effectively and humanely deal with them.