How To Keep Squirrels Off Your Deck

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If you’re a homeowner with an outdoor deck, you know that squirrels can be a nuisance and cause significant damage to your property. But worry not; keeping these furry visitors off your deck without resorting to harmful or extreme measures is possible.

In this blog post, we will explore why squirrels are attracted to decks, provide practical solutions for deterring them using natural remedies and humane methods, and offer tips on maintaining your deck squirrel-free in the long run.

So grab a cup of coffee and join us as we learn how to protect our beloved outdoor spaces from these persistent little critters.

Key Takeaways

Squirrels are attracted to decks due to the availability of food, water, and shelter.
Preventing squirrel attraction can be achieved by using spicy deterrents like cayenne pepper, installing motion-activated sprinklers, using decoys, and applying squirrel repellents.
Natural and humane methods are essential for keeping squirrels off your deck, while harmful practices like using poison or exclusion methods that harm squirrels should be avoided.
Keeping the deck clean and free of food sources, and encouraging squirrels to find alternative nesting areas are essential for ongoing squirrel prevention and maintenance.

Understanding Squirrel Behavior On Decks

Squirrels are usually attracted to decks because of food, water, and shelter availability. They can cause significant damage by chewing on deck rails, furniture, and other wooden structures.

Reasons For Squirrel Attraction

Squirrels are often drawn to decks for various reasons, primarily due to easy access to food sources. These energetic creatures are opportunistic feeders and will gravitate toward any scraps or morsels they can find.

In addition to their quest for sustenance, these tree-dwelling animals also engage in play behavior on decks, using them as makeshift playgrounds where they can climb, run and leap from one surface to another.

This natural curiosity and tendency toward exploration may lead them into mischief – nibbling on woodwork or even invading your home if given a chance. Alternative items like downed branches or bones can help redirect this behavior away from your prized deck.

Red Squirrel on Wooden Handrail

Damage Caused By Squirrels On Decks

Squirrels can pose a significant threat to the integrity and aesthetics of your deck, often causing extensive damage if left unchecked. These agile rodents are attracted to wooden structures like decks for various reasons, such as to find food sources or construct shelters in hidden crevices.

Over time, their persistent gnawing on the wood compromises its strength and structure – compromising its integrity and posing a risk for injury if it were to collapse under weight or during severe weather conditions, and leads to costly repairs.

Not only does squirrel activity affect your deck’s appearance with unsightly chew marks, but it also increases the risk of mold growth by creating entry points for water seepage.

Furthermore, they may target other vulnerable areas of your property like garden produce or building siding – exacerbating wildlife damage concerns.

Health Risks Posed By Squirrels On Decks

Squirrels may appear harmless and even adorable at times, but they can pose a significant threat to the health and safety of your household when they invade your deck. One primary concern is their potential to carry parasites like fleas, ticks, and mites.

Beyond parasitic invasions, squirrels can also cause structural damage that may lead to safety hazards. For example, they tend to chew on electrical wiring, which causes costly repairs and could spark fires if left unnoticed.

Grey Squirrel Eating Seed from Top of Guard Rail

Natural And DIY Methods For Keeping Squirrels Off Your Deck

There are several natural and DIY methods to keep squirrels off your deck.

Use Of Spicy Deterrents

One effective way to deter squirrels from your deck is by using spicy deterrents. Hot peppers, hot sauce, and cayenne pepper are known to keep these critters away successfully.

You can mix hot sauce with water and spray it around the perimeter of your deck or bird feeders, or sprinkle cayenne pepper around the area where you want to prevent squirrel access.

Squirrels tend to avoid spicy substances because they irritate their sensitive tongues. However, handling these deterrents carefully is essential as they can irritate if exposed directly to the skin or eyes.

Installation Of Motion-Activated Sprinklers

Installing motion-activated sprinklers is one of the most effective ways to keep squirrels off your deck. These sprinklers work by detecting the movement of animals and releasing a sudden burst of water, scaring them away.

When installing motion-activated sprinklers, strategically placing them in areas where you often see squirrel activity on your deck is crucial.

In addition to being easy to install, motion-activated sprinklers are also environmentally friendly as they do not use harmful chemicals or poisons that could harm wildlife or pets in the surrounding area.

Use Of Decoys

Another effective method for keeping squirrels off your deck is the use of decoys. You can use owl or coyote decoys as natural deterrents to keep squirrels away from gardens and other outdoor areas, including decks.

Decoys mimic predators that typically prey on squirrels in their natural habitat. This scares away any nearby squirrels and sends them searching for other places to hang out.

Decoys are an inexpensive yet highly effective way of keeping squirrel populations under control around your deck area without resorting to harmful methods such as poison or exclusion techniques that could harm these animals’ welfare.

Application Of Squirrel Repellent

Using a squirrel repellent is one effective way to keep squirrels off your deck. Many natural and DIY options, such as spicy deterrents like cayenne pepper or hot sauce, can be applied directly onto surfaces where squirrels are likely to enter.

Another option is to use commercial squirrel repellents that utilize natural ingredients like peppermint oil or predator urine. These products work by emitting scents that deter squirrels from coming near your deck without causing harm to the animals themselves.

Use Of Squirrel-Proof Bird Feeders

Investing in a squirrel-proof bird feeder effectively keeps squirrels off your deck and away from bird feeders. These feeders often feature a wrap-around baffle, creating an unstable separation between the pole and the bird feeder, deterring squirrels from stealing bird seed.

Placing a bird feeder out in the open, hanging it from a pole, or adding a baffle are other DIY methods for keeping squirrels away.

By using these types of feeders, you’ll protect your birdseed and encourage more wildlife, such as songbirds, to visit your feeding area without any disturbance.

Regular Deck Maintenance

Regular maintenance is one of the most effective and important methods for keeping squirrels off your deck. Squirrels are attracted to cluttered spaces, so keeping your deck area clean and free of debris that could be used as nesting material is essential.

Additionally, ensure any cracks or crevices in your deck are sealed up to prevent squirrels from entering.

Look for holes or gaps in the woodwork or around pipes and vents that may provide easy access for rodents.

Sealing these openings with caulk or other sealants will help keep pests out while protecting your home from damage caused by chewing rodents.

Humane Trapping And Relocating Methods

Humane Live Traps and hiring Professional Wildlife Removal Services are options for keeping squirrels off your deck. These methods allow for the safe capture and relocation of the animals without harming them.

Use Of Humane Live Traps

Live trapping is preferred for removing squirrels from your deck without killing them. Humane live traps are designed to capture squirrels without harming them.

The trap should be shaded because direct sunlight can overheat and stress the animal inside.

However, even supposedly humane traps can harm animals if not checked regularly or handled correctly. Unfortunately, relocating captured squirrels may cause more harm than good as they will most likely struggle to adapt and may end up starving or falling ill due to unfamiliar surroundings.

Grey Squirrel Trapped in a Live Cage

Hiring Professional Wildlife Removal Services

A professional wildlife removal technician can help homeowners address squirrel problems on their decks. These professionals do more than simply trap and relocate squirrels; they also assess the extent of the infestation, locate entry points, and seal them to prevent future problems.

Reputable companies use safe methods that will not harm animals during removal. They may also provide tips for preventing future infestations by discouraging squirrels from returning to your deck area through regular inspection and repair of entry points and keeping your deck clean and food-free.

It is important to note that trapping and relocating squirrels is not a permanent or successful solution for wildlife removal. However, using humane control methods learned from these professionals can lead to safer environments for humans and animals.

Things To Avoid When Trying To Keep Squirrels Off Your Deck

Avoid using poison, as it can harm squirrels, other animals, and pets.


Using poison to keep squirrels off your deck is not recommended for several reasons. First and foremost, it can cause harm not just to the squirrels but also to other animals in the vicinity.

Poisoned squirrels might be preyed upon by hawks, owls, or other predators that may ingest the toxins. Moreover, using poison goes against humane wildlife management and pest control solutions.

Instead of harming these creatures, we can look into natural ways of deterring them from our decks, such as installing motion-activated sprinklers or applying eco-friendly animal-repellent sprays.

Exclusion Methods That Harm Squirrels

It is important to avoid using exclusion methods that harm squirrels when trying to keep them off your deck. Some commonly used methods, such as metal collars and chicken wire, can cause serious injury or even death to squirrels.

These inhumane practices not only harm the squirrels but also have negative effects on the environment. Instead, try using humane and eco-friendly methods like spraying a mixture of dish soap and water or cayenne powder around the borders of your deck area to deter squirrels without causing them any harm.

Prioritizing safe pest control and environmentally conscious pest management for squirrel prevention on your property is vital.

In addition, it’s essential to understand that cruel animal control tactics should be avoided at all costs, as many effective natural squirrel deterrents are available that do not cause harm.

Regular inspection and repair of entry points, keeping deck areas clean and free of food sources, and encouraging alternative nesting areas for squirrels are other ways you can prevent squirrel infestations without harming these animals.

Tips For Ongoing Squirrel Prevention And Maintenance

The following are great tips for ongoing squirrel prevention.

Regular Inspection And Repair Of Entry Points

One of the most effective ways to prevent squirrels from accessing your deck is by regularly inspecting and repairing entry points. Squirrels can easily gain access through small cracks, gaps, or holes in the deck’s structure and cause significant damage once they are inside.

Tree branches that provide easy access to the deck should also be trimmed regularly to make it more challenging for squirrels to climb onto the deck.

Keeping the Deck Area Clean And Free Of Food Or Water Sources

To keep squirrels off your deck, remove any food sources that may be attracting them. This means regularly cleaning and disposing of fallen acorns or ripe fruits and eliminating any garbage or debris in the area.

Regular outdoor cleaning and maintenance can also help discourage squirrels from visiting your deck. Sweeping away any debris or standing water will keep your deck looking tidy and eliminate potential water sources that could attract squirrels and other pests.

Grey Squirrel Eating Seed from Wooden Bridge Handrail

Encouraging Squirrels To Find Alternative Nesting Areas

One way to prevent squirrels from making their home on your deck is by encouraging them to find alternative nesting areas. This can be done by providing a squirrel house or nest box in a nearby tree or wooded area.

These structures mimic the natural cavities where squirrels would normally reside and offer an attractive alternative to your deck.

Another way to encourage squirrels to find alternative homes is by removing any existing attractants on your property. Fallen fruit and nuts should be picked up regularly, as they are a prime food source for squirrels.

It’s also important to keep garbage cans closed tightly and make sure any pet food is stored securely indoors.


If you want to keep squirrels off your deck, you need to use a combination of natural and humane methods. You can try using spicy deterrents like cayenne pepper or decoys to scare squirrels away, and keep your deck area clean and tidy to discourage nesting. 

You can also prevent squirrels from reaching your deck by trimming nearby trees, removing food sources, and planting flowers that squirrels hate. These steps will help you enjoy your outdoor space without unwanted visitors. 

Photo of author
Sean is the founder of Conquer Critters. With more than 17 years of experience in dealing with various pests, he is passionate about spreading his knowledge to help everyone manage their pest problem in the fastest, most effective manor possible.

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