Another strategy for controlling squirrels is erecting an electric fence around vegetable beds or other planted areas attractive to squirrels. Various models are powered by transformers that “step down” the house current to harmless levels, or simple flashlight batteries. A strand or two of electrified wire or mesh will not harm people, pets, birds, or other wildlife. It doesn't even hurt the squirrel; it merely repels it and forces it to dig in other areas for buried nuts.
Electrify an existing chicken wire fence around your vegetables or plants by insulating the fence posts and then stringing a single strand of “hot” wire around the top edge of the fence. For an electric fence without chicken wire, use only two strands of wire, one set at about 4 to 6 inches above soil level and the second at 12 inches. This will deter other pest animals too.
Other Yard Barriers
Barriers for bulbs: Protect crocus or other bulbs in open areas by stretching plastic bird netting over the ground during the winter. If aggressive squirrels bite through the netting, you may have to resort to placing squares of hardware cloth, their edges bent to form shallow boxes, over bulb beds. An alternative is to plant crocuses in chicken wire cages. Dig a trench slightly deeper than bulb planting depth and fit chicken wire at its bottom. Add soil and plant the bulbs. Then place another strip of chicken wire over the plantings so that the bulbs are surrounded, and cover them with soil
Barriers for small fruit trees: Dwarf and miniature fruit trees are small enough to effectively cover entirely with bird netting. Gather the edges and tie them at the trunk so that squirrels can not get inside.
Barrier for corn: About 2 weeks before the corn ripens and tempts squirrels, slip a brown paper bag over each ear and fasten it with a wire twist. This will not affect the ripening process and will keep the squirrels (and raccoons) from the corn.
Barriers For Houses
If squirrels are inside your house, watch to see how they enter. Then prune any nearby tree limbs that are within jumping distance--5 to 6 feet--of the house. If squirrels are traveling along the cable TV, power, or telephone lines, slit a 2-foot piece of plastic PVC pipe lengthwise and place it over the wire. When a squirrel tries to cross it, the pipe rotates and the animal falls off. Before trying this, alert your utility companies.
Cover chimneys or attic vents with ½ inch mesh hardware cloth. As needed, repair rotten boards along soffits or behind eaves and troughs, replace broken windows, and fill electrical-wire and utility-pipe openings. If you find a squirrel trapped in the house, do not try to chase it out. Just open doors or windows and let him find his own way out. If this doesn’t work, bait a humane trap with peanut butter or nut meats. Once the squirrel is trapped, release it outside.
Barriers for Bird Feeders
The best barrier for bird feeders seems to be a large, wide metal cone-shaped shield, or squirrel baffle, similar to rat guards on ships’ hawsers. Install it on the wire or pole which supports the bird feeder. As a squirrel attempts to climb the pole or shinny along the wire, he crawls up into the cone. If it is at least 20 inches in diameter he will be unable to climb around it. If you purchase one check the size of the opening for a proper fit on your pole or wire.
Another strategy is to install a two foot section of 2 or 3-inch diameter plastic pipe on the wire from which your feeder hangs. Slit the pipe lengthwise, spread it open and place it over the wire. Yet another is to put a sheet of metal under a post mounted feeder that juts out at least 6 inches beyond the edges of the feeder so the squirrel cannot climb past it onto the feeder platform.