Michigan State University masthead


Squirrels and chipmunks are damaging all of my bird feeders. Is there anything I can do to prevent that from happening?

Squirrels and chipmunks, outdoors, can dig holes in lawn or garden, dig up flower bulbs, empty and even damage bird feeders. Indoors, can make nests in walls or attic, may create fire hazard.

Remedies include:

  • Image of eastern gray squirrelExclusion. (Screen cylinders can protect flower bulbs. Check home each fall and spring, repair any cracks or openings into attic or basement quickly.)
  • Trapping and removing nuisance animals. (Live "box" traps outside or in attic/ basement. Good bait, sunflowers seeds and peanut butter. Move minimum of 5 miles. Permits may be needed for game species.)Lethal traps. (Use inside only, to avoid killing non-target species. These include large "snap-traps" and newer electric "zap traps".)
  • Repellents. (Various types like napthalene, hot pepper & wax, etc. Usually used to keep pests off particular plants, trees, small indoor spaces. Always follow label directions.)