How To Get Rid Of Ground Squirrels

When encountering these nice rodents, we should not delude ourselves into thinking that ground squirrels are harmless. In large numbers, they can cause a considerable damage to the land where they have settled and the gardens in the vicinity. Whatever a gardener grows, be it pistachios or apples, ground squirrels are already there to devour your crop. They will never miss a chance to gnaw the bark of the trees or shrubs you have been cherishing for a long time. So, if the land is damaged or overpopulated with these critters, a set of control measures should be taken. There is a number of ways of getting rid of ground squirrels and each of them suits better for each and every situation.

This review provides a useful information on how to trap ground squirrels, what the best bait for ground squirrels is and how to kill ground squirrels if they have gone too far. A comparison table of the effectiveness of each of the methods will be helpful for choosing a right strategy while a review of 7 best squirrel control solutions will guide you through the variety of products that are commercially available.

Table of Contents

3 Best Ground Squirrel Control Products

1. Ground Squirrel Poison Bait, 5 lb
Works by ceasing normal blood clotting. A number of feedings are needed to kill the rodent. Best in summer. Effectiveness: 10

Ground Squirrel Poison Bait min: photo
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2. Giant Destroyer Pest Killer Gas Bomb
A gas cartridge used for fumigation. Best effective in spring. Effectiveness: 9

Giant Destroyer Pest Killer Gas Bomb min: photo
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3. SQRTO Squirrelinator Trap
Catches up to 25 squirrels at a time. Designed specifically for ground squirrels. Effectiveness: 8

SQRTO Squirrelinator Trap min: photo
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6 Steps To Getting Rid Of Ground Squirrels

What Scientists Say On How To Get Rid Of Ground Squirrels

The most effective methods of getting rid of ground squirrels imply killing the rodents and these are fumigating, trapping, and poisoning.

When choosing a method of eradicating these rodents, take into consideration the season since it impacts their behavior.

  • Poisons.  Scientists from the UC Cooperative Extension, San Diego, say that placing poison baits is a good solution in a period from the summer to autumn. This is due to the fact that at this time of the year, ground squirrels mostly feed on seeds.
  • Fumigation produces better results in the spring because the humid weather conditions moist soil helps keep the gas in the den. In addition, fumigation is recommended for this season since it helps lower the rodents’ population. Squirrels are killed before their breeding season starts.
  • Trapping is effective throughout the years, except for late autumn.

Still, there are other options available that are less radical and more humane.

Exclusion & habitat modification

How To Kill Ground Squirrels By Means Of Fumigation: Tips & Rules

Using Ground Squirrels Poisons

How To Trap Ground Squirrels

How To Get Rid Of Ground Squirrels: Methods | Effectiveness |Comparison Table

MethodAdvantagesDisadvantages
Fumigating

Atlas

Giant Destroyer Pest Killer Gas Bomb min: photo

Effectiveness: 9

Works great in the spring, before squirrels start breeding. Scientific studies show that fumigating with aluminum phosphide is a very effective way of ground squirrel control.If handled not according the label may cause a fire. Must not be applied inside the house or to dens beneath it.
Ground squirrels poisons

Kaput

KAPUT GROUND SQUIRREL BAIT 5LB min: photo

Effectiveness: 10

Work better in the spring and summer when ground squirrels feed on seeds. Cheap. Very effective for large areas.Pose a risk to pets and kids in case the poison can be reached. Should be put in boxes which can be purchased or homemade.
Trapping

SQRTO Squirrelinator

SQRTO Squirrelinator Trap min: photo

Effectiveness: 8

An effective way of eliminating a small number of ground squirrels. Can be used virtually throughout the year. Conibear traps do not require baits.When treating a large population, this method is just a supplementary measure after fumigating and poisoning. Live traps require baits and bring a problem of how and where to release the captive rodent.
Exclusion

Effectiveness: 5

Safe, environmentally friendly solution. It does not involve killing the rodents.Expensive, only a metal mesh is effective. Impractical since rodents easily overcome most barriers.
Natural enemies

Effectiveness: 6

Safe, environmentally friendly solution.Eliminate only a small number of ground squirrels.
Habitat modification

Effectiveness: 7

Safe, and environmentally friendly solution.Is not effective when ground squirrels are already present in the area, especially if their population is high.

TOP Products For Ground Squirrel Control

In the review below, we will consider products that will help you get rid of ground squirrels in different ways. In case the rodents’ population is high, apply poison baits. The bait we have examined comes in convenient pellets and is attractive to ground squirrels. If you have opted for fumigation, read about a gas cartridge available, its properties and how it should be handled. An unusual spring device is a good barrier preventing squirrels from ravaging bird feeders. Another device designed specifically for ground squirrels is a live trap cage capable of catching up to 25 critters at a time.

1. Ground Squirrel Poison Baits

Kaput Ground Squirrel Bait is based on an active ingredient diphacinone which falls into a category of anticoagulants. The product is designed to control ground squirrels, with the taste they love. This is important because encourages the rodents to eat the bait instantly rather than store it in the burrow.

The poison comes in big pellets which makes them easy to hold. At the same time, the pellets are small enough to dump them down into the squirrel dens. As the seller put it, no pre-baiting is required when using this product. However, these pellets are toxic to other animals and humans as well, that is why they must be placed in bait stations or boxes. The can has a weight of 5 pounds and a tightly fixed lid so that children cannot open it easily.

According to University of California you can use anticoagulant baits with diphacinone (like poison for rats and mice JT Eaton blocks) to control ground squirrels.

JT Eaton Rodenticide Anticoagulant Bait: photo

The squirrel must eat the anticoagulant in several feedings during a period of 5 or more days in order for it to be effective. They generally require 2 to 4 weeks or more to be effective. Continue baiting until all feeding ceases, and you no longer see any squirrels. Although few ground squirrels will die aboveground, you should pick up and dispose of those that do.

JT Eaton Rodenticide Bait:  Check current price

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JT Eaton 166004 709-PN Bait Block Rodenticide Anticoagulant Bait, Peanut Butter Flavor, for Mice and Rats (9 lb Pail of 144), Green

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How and where to place a bait. Consumers suggest placing the bait in a trap near the rodents’ pathways, near the entrance to the burrows or at the bottom of the fruit trees. However, the product is not legal in some states since it may kill tree squirrels as well. The bait kills all rodents. One customer says that he managed to kill more rats than ground squirrels when using these pellets.

One buyer claims that he used the entire can but has not seen any tangible result. He got in touch with the manufacturer and was advised to let rodents eat poison bait for four days in a row. Also, if there is food in abundance in the area, the chance of the bait being consumed is considerably decreased.

Kaput Ground Squirrel Bait, 5 lb Currently unavailable

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JT Eaton 166004 709-PN Bait Block Rodenticide Anticoagulant Bait, Peanut Butter Flavor, for Mice and Rats (9 lb Pail of 144), Green

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2. Wilco 100046603 Ground Squirrel Bait Station

If you are not fond of constructing devices with your own hands, this option is definitely for you. As we have mentioned above, when using poisons never leave them without a protective box preventing non-target animals and your kids from touching the hazardous substance. More importantly, the box should be made of solid material and have a reliable closure. For this purpose, Wilco Ground Squirrel Bait Station is the best bet. It is made of durable and high-grade plastic as well as has a child-resistant closure lid. The green color helps to disguise it as a part of the surrounding green vegetation so that the box looks natural to ground squirrels.

Wilco Ground Squirrel Bait Station: photo

Place the box with baits along the rodents’ pathway and, when using several boxes, distribute them about thirty feet apart. However, customers note that the box should be secured by concrete blocks, otherwise, rabbits or other agile animals can turn it over, making the poison accessible. Also, some buyers say that there should be something inside the box to fix the bait itself since a ground squirrel may drag it out and leave outside the box. One of the customers drilled 2 holes in the box and ran a rod through them to hold the block baits.

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Wilco 100046603 Ground Squirrel Bait Station

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3. Atlas Giant Destroyer 00333 Gas Bomb

This effective gas cartridge for fumigation is based on the active ingredients sodium nitrate, sulfur, and charcoal, targeting various species of rodents including ground squirrels. The gases should be applied to burrows and tunnels but never use it inside the house or in its close vicinity. One of the major advantages of this product is that it is a proven solution that has been successfully used for many decades. Once the cartridge is ignited, it produces toxic gases.

Atlas Giant Destroyer 00333 Gas Bomb: photo

How should it be applied? Find a den and clear its hole. Make sure the hole is wide enough to insert the cartridge. At the same time, close other holes of the burrow with soil and rocks. Then insert the fuse into the cartridge end. Light the fuse and quickly insert the cartridge into the burrow. Do not hold the burning cartridge in the hands. Close the hole instantly with soil and rocks to avoid gas escape. Take care not to breathe the gases as they may be harmful to humans when inhaled. Also, do not let the fumes contact your eyes, skin, and clothes. After the job is done, wash with soap.

The Giant Destroyer’s rating is 4.3 out of 5 stars. Most customers are satisfied with this gas killer and claim that it works well on rodents.

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Atlas Giant Destroyer 00333 Gas Bomb - Gopher, Mole and Rat Killer - Pack of 2 4packs (8 Total)

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4. Rugged Ranch Products 100063928 Squirrelinator Trap

SQRTO trap catches up to 25 squirrels within several hours and, judging by the consumers’ comments, it is really a device of mass capturing. Apart from speeding up the very process of trapping ground squirrels, this option helps you save on baits. The trap is very large, over 23 inches in width and 4 inches in height.

However, some ground squirrels are so smart and crafty that they figured out how to get the bait through the bottom and top of the cage. To avoid this, set the trap on a piece of plywood or any solid surface and put another piece of plywood on the top. In addition, put a heavy rock on to hold it down.

SQRTO Squirrelinator Trap: photo

Check the cage regularly. Keep in mind that captured critters would run around the trap scaring out others. “I’ve never caught more than two squirrels at a time, but it works well and doesn’t harm the squirrel. There is no complicated “setting” of this trap—place it on the ground and sprinkle some bait in and around it,” a customer wrote.

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Rugged Ranch Products 100063928 Squirrelinator Trap

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5. Songbird Essentials Squirrel Proof Spring Device

Sometimes, landowners need the targeted protection of bird feeders in the garden. And this is where this device comes in handy as it is designed specifically for this purpose. A 48-inch spring device has a unique mechanism which does not allow ground squirrels to climb over the poles. The product is suitable for any pole with a diameter not exceeding one inch. Its coils are tight and thick, preventing the device from stretching out over the course of time.

Squirrel Proof Spring Device: photo

Some customers say that the product is not effective and ground squirrels manage to run over it while others claim that their bird feeders have not been attacked since the device was put up. Actually, much depends on how smart your local squirrels are and how inventive you are, after all. Look at this illustrative comment of one of the buyers:

“It is fun to watch those squirrels trying to figure it out. It has been working great for two weeks, then one very smart guy figured if he pushed it up with his nose, he’d be able to get up far enough so that he could reach over and pull himself onto the feeder. I fixed that by smearing the bottom half of the shepherds hook with vaseline. It’s been four weeks. They try but can’t get up the pole,” the customer wrote. Read all customer reviews.

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Expert Opinion: Mark Nelson, USU Extension, Beaver County Specialist

Mark Nelson: photo

Mark Nelson, USU Extension, Beaver County Specialist

Mark Nelson is a Beaver County Specialist at the Utah State University Extension. His areas of interest include examining water quality, waste management, the efficiency of irrigation methods, and integrated pest management. As for the latter, he primarily focuses on studying grasshoppers and ground squirrels. Mark has received a grant to conduct research trials to compare the effectiveness of different rodenticides registered in Utah and compare different types of squirrel traps.

We have tried lots of different things over the years to try to control these different squirrels. At first, we thought they were going to be like gophers so we used those Gopher Getters but that is not the effective way to control ground squirrels. This is because gophers eat the bait under the ground while the squirrels do not. So we had to look at some different methods. By applying controls when adults emerge from hibernation, the breeding population can be targeted, thus preventing reproduction. One thing that we have found out is that the males are going to come out first and then about 2 or 3 weeks later is when those females are going to come out. We have got to wait until we see those females have come out. And that is when we got to get busy on the baiting.

Comparative Chart Of Ground Squirrel Control Products

Everything You Need To Know About Ground Squirrels

Ground squirrels are adaptive and may thrive in all sorts of habitats, however, they are unwilling to settle among dense vegetation and in damp areas. So, keep in mind that the more the grass is grazed, the more likely the land plot will attract these critters. This is the kind of habitat where they love to breed and that is where their population will get high very quickly. Ground squirrels also like settling in the areas of human activity and can be easily encountered near buildings, roads, and agricultural crops. In other words, they know how to benefit from the fruits of human’s labors.

They settle in dens burrowed in the soil, with the dimensions varying from five to thirty feet in length. Typically, such dens have several entrances looking like four-inch holes in the ground. In case you come across the den you are likely to encounter the rodent there since they use this harborage not only to sleep and escape predators but also as a resting place, a food storage, and a place to take care of their young. Moreover, the entire community of ground squirrels can dwell in one burrow as they are collective animals living in colonies. Therefore, if you have come across just a single rodent, this means that dozens of its kins are somewhere nearby.

Ground squirrels are diurnal animals, most active in the afternoon and particularly when the weather is warm and the sun is shining brightly. They hibernate in winter, however, the young ones may be active in winter months as well in case it is not too cold outside. Nor do they enjoy the sultry and hot weather, so in this period of time ground squirrels may remain inactive for several days. At such times, they close the nests’ entrances with the soil. Ground squirrels breed in the cold months of the year, from December to February, but in mountainous regions, the breeding starts in spring. The young show up on the ground quite quickly, half a month after the birth.

Their feeding habits vary depending on a season but mostly they consume vegetation. Once hibernation is over, these critters search for green grasses to eat but as soon as seeds, nuts, and grains appear — which is their favorite food — ground squirrels focus on them. This is their common diet in a period from May to October. They gather seeds and nuts in large quantities not because they are that gluttonous. Most of this kind of food is stored in the den. That is why if you suppose that a handful of tiny nice rodents are not able to steal much from the garden, you are wrong. Ground squirrels are provident guys and have an obsession with stockpiling food. And here is some more useful information for you: if you happen to see a foraging ground squirrel, this means that its den is nearby since they do no go far away from the burrows.

What Kind Of Damage Do Ground Squirrels Cause

The main issue with ground squirrels is that they damage plants and trees, most of which bear fruits like apples, peaches, oranges, and others. Ornamental plants in your garden are also likely to suffer from their invasion. Ground squirrels consume seeds of vegetables, gnaw the bark of shrubs and trees and are capable of removing the entire strip of bark from a trunk. Also, they devour leaves killing vegetation, while their burrowing in the garden’s soil damages the roots of plants, which can subsequently lead to withering and even the death of the tree.

damage from ground squirrels: photo

However, their appetite extends far beyond the bounty of nature and ground squirrels have been spotted gnawing on gardening tools made of plastic or rubber such as hoses and bottles. This certainly inflicts a material loss to the landowner and complicates the orchard management. In addition, if a gardener exploits birds as natural enemies against various pests, ground squirrels may deter them since they eat the eggs of birds whose nests are established on the ground. As for burrowing, this is not just about damaging roots. Such mounds serve as obstacles to lawn-mowers, cattle, and people. When ground squirrels burrow beneath the houses or other human-made structures, the material damage can be particularly tangible requiring doing some repair works.

But above all, ground squirrels can pose a hazard to the human health as they carry diseases which are dangerous to humans, particularly in the case their population is large. First of all, this is bubonic plague carried by the squirrel’s fleas. It is lethal both to humans and squirrels, so, if you have come across several dead rodents, do not touch them. Instead, call your local Health Department and report the problem. A person gets infected through the flea’s bite or direct contact with the carrier. Apart from that, ground squirrels transfer fever, tularemia, and some other diseases.

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