Why are Squirrels Chewing on My Wood Siding & Deck?

why do squirrels chew wood

Squirrels, if not controlled, can cause significant damage to your house and backyard garden.

  • They can eat the vegetation you have during early summer
  • They can damage the bushes, flower beds, and roots of small plants in your garden
  • Sometimes they may love to eat the bark off of small trees you have in your yard
  • They can even burrow into the lawn, under sidewalks, driveways, and other nearby areas (like patios, stairs, and decks)

Creating tunnels and large holes (up to 30 feet deep) in your yard or driveways can also be hazardous as it can make your yard uneven.

These structural damages in the grass and other landscaped areas can also welcome other rodents to pass through tunnels and get into your home quickly.

But why do squirrels chew on wood?

Well, squirrels are rodents, and their teeth continue to grow throughout their lives – yes, that’s the unique characteristic of rodents.

Due to this characteristic, rodents, including squirrels, are known for their penchant for chewing anything that they come across. This helps them to keep their teeth at the proper length.

Although it’s good for them to eat nuts, seeds, and fruit (which are hard on their teeth and can wear them down), it’s obviously not acceptable behavior for your property.

Whether it’s a wooden deck, railings, vinyl siding, beams, wires, or plastic, you can consider nothing to be safe from these critters.

Another reason why squirrels chew through wood and other things is to gather material to build their nest.

While it’s impossible to stop them from chewing, you can follow certain strategies to keep the things protected and also to keep them off your property.

Let’s dig into some of those ideas to make your house and garden squirrel-proof…

how to stop squirrels chewing wood on house

How to Stop Squirrels from Chewing Wood?

First and foremost, find out the type of squirrel

Typically, there are two kinds of squirrels – tree squirrels and ground squirrels.

Marmots (including groundhogs), flying squirrels, red squirrels, and prairie dogs are also a few other types but are less common.

Ground squirrels are incredibly destructive. They easily dig under the wood fence and can enter your property.

Once they are inside, they are generally troublesome for your lawns, gardens, yards, and landscapes. They can also harm utility lines and sidewalks and sometimes lead to roadway problems.

To prevent squirrels from chewing on the house, it’s best to use stronger and highly durable materials like stainless steel and galvanized steel. Squirrels will have difficulty chewing through these hard enough items.

Remember, metals like sheet aluminum are soft enough for the squirrels to chew through, so that won’t be very effective. 

Tree squirrels destroy your bird feeders, fruit trees, fruits, and nuts, along with some additional damage.

They may enter your attic occasionally through the trees you have, but you can control them by excluding them from specific areas.

What follows are the details about the methods on how you can keep them away from your house, deck, and outdoor wood furniture.

1- Keep your dining place, porch, and deck tidy

In case you dine out, ensure to keep the place clean. Sweep the deck off.

Check if no food particles or crumbs are left to attract squirrels, raccoons, and mice. Also, don’t leave open food outside.

Squirrels feed on plants, leaves, fruits, grains, seeds, and nuts. Hence make sure all these things are away from their access.

Squirrels often also get lured to pet food. So, please keep your pet feeder inside once they have finished eating. It will also help you keep the other pests at bay.

2- Repair all the holes and cracks

Squirrels pose a threat not only to your pressure-treated timber deck and attic but also to your wooden garage and shed outdoors.

They can cause havoc there and can hide under the house if threatened.

So, it is important to get all the cracks and holes in your property repaired. Look out for crevices, gaps, and spaces in the doors, windows, and siding.

Ground squirrels may burrow in the ground. Hence, you should look for gaps in the fence and other areas where squirrels can enter from.

Tree squirrels are a big problem when they enter the attic. So, keep the trees trimmed so that the attic isn’t accessible to them via the branches.

3- Get stinky plants in your garden

There are some plants that smell bitter to squirrels, like daffodils, allium, snowdrops, mint, etc.

Squirrels don’t like to be around these plants. If you plant them in your garden, then it may keep squirrels away from your wood surfaces nearby.

4- Get motion-activated sprinklers installed

You can use motion-activated sprinklers installed to keep squirrels away from sensitive areas.

The sprinklers are hooked with a hose which gets activated as soon as an animal passes a laser beam.

If you are really concerned about your lawn, it is important to get one that is specially designed for small animals like squirrels.

5- Keep the firewood piles above ground level

Raise woodpiles above ground level as it helps in keeping snakes and other small animals at bay.

Make sure it should be raised at least one or two feet above the ground to eradicate protected and secure homes for squirrels.

If squirrels and other rodents have already infested your area, you can consider applying some spicy hot sauce on these woodpiles when storing, which will help steer the rodents away.

6- Prevent them from invading bird feeders

Squirrels, especially tree squirrels, get attracted to bird feeders.

You can get special bird feeders installed, which keep big birds and squirrels at bay. These feeders close when a heavier animal sits on them to eat.

Ground squirrels may come by to eat the food scattered by the birds from their feeder. So, make sure you keep the ground area clean.

You can also use safflower seed installed of sunflower seed. Birds love safflower, while squirrels don’t. Do not mix anything else with it, or squirrels will sift through and eat the rest.

If you fail to do any of the above things, then just remove the bird feeder from your garden. And keep food at a distant location to attract squirrels somewhere else.

7- Keep the chewing squirrels at bay with good fencing

Another way to keep squirrels away is to install borders to prevent their entrance into your property.

While tree squirrels are simple to remove (though they are good climbers), ground squirrels can often dig their way into your home (by making burrows).

One of the best ways to prevent squirrels from invading your garden is netting, as it doesn’t allow them to reach out for the plants and fruits.

Chicken wire can be used to seal the areas around flower beds and shrubs to prevent digging.

You can make a secure fence to prevent their entrance by burying hardware cloth at least 2ft. deep below the fence line. They will find it tough to cut hardware cloth.

Remember that you should safeguard the top of the fence by installing a shock wire on the fence line. If not, they can climb and get in.

Going for an oscillating fence or an electrical fence also helps by giving a casual shock which prevents the squirrel from climbing over.

Make sure you also ban access to all the utility lines which pass by your fence, as squirrels can get access through these lines and enter the fence.

If it is not an electricity line, just slit open a PVC pipe to allow a wire to pass through and then cover it with a PVC pipe. This way, it will get tough for the squirrels to scale.

Trapping squirrels to stop chewing wood

Can I Use Traps and Baits for Trapping Squirrels?

Squirrels can be a real threat to the garden flowers like Tulips, Gladiolus, Crocuses, and Colchicum.

Also, they can dig in flower pots as they are in regular search of young plant bulbs that they love to eat.

So, using a trap in the garden can be a good solution for eliminating digger squirrels.

In general, a few kinds of traps can be used for squirrels. These are:

a) Snap Trap:

These are usually meant for trapping rats; these do not work very well for squirrels

b) Body Grip Trap:

These can be set at an entry or exit hole of the squirrel.

The downside is that it can catch one squirrel at a time and be difficult to set up.

c) Repeater Trap:

This is easier to set up and can catch many flying squirrels into them at once. Just mount it on the main entry or exit hole of the squirrel.

If you want, you can also use a rat trap for trapping and killing the squirrels. These may also work great, depending on the size of the squirrel.

Storing some of the squirrel poisons safely in your home (like in a garage or outdoor shed) can be an effective and fast way to deal with large squirrel populations invading your land.

When in need, you can hide these poison baits along the rooftops, near the attic, or in trees where you see the squirrels frequently visiting.

Keep in mind that the grey squirrel species is an endangered one and is secured by law.

So, make sure you do not kill them and pick an effective technique depending on the kind of squirrel bothering you.

In America, several states also have marked ground squirrels as non-game animals and secured them from illogical killing.

Final Thoughts

Squirrels are classified as wild animals that can go aggressive at any time.

Particularly when protecting their young ones or if they feel threatened – they can attack you, your kids, or your pets.

Plus, they can chew through the wood on the house to cause structural damages that can be expensive to repair.

Following the above tips and stopping the squirrels from coming can hopefully help you keep your property protected.

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