Squirrels are unafraid of heights and can spend time on balconies much higher up than you would expect. If you have squirrel visitors on your balcony, you may want to discourage them. Squirrels can damage plants and furniture. They may only visit for food, or they try to raise their young in your space, or try to take shelter from very hot or cold weather. Here’s how you can keep squirrels off your balcony.

1. Get Rid of Foods

Squirrels that are attracted to your balcony just for food are easy to discourage. All you need to do is remove the food from your balcony. Remove plants, any food you store on the balcony for guests, and bird seed.

If you have California ground squirrels, these critters typically only eat vegetables when they are seedlings. Once your veggies are more mature, you can place them back outside. Also, you may not have to remove other sources of food permanently, just long enough to help break the squirrel’s habits and allow our other solutions to work.

2. Remove Nesting Materials

Squirrels nest year-round because they use the space to sleep and to shelter from the weather, not just to raise their babies. Squirrels like to create nests made of twigs and branches, but they won’t shy away from using man-made materials when they are readily available. If squirrels are chewing into your fabrics, paper, or other materials on your balcony, they may be taking it back to the nest. Move these materials inside temporarily to stop the damage.

3. Offer Alternatives

Squirrels will head to better sources of food and shelter if they can find them. If your building has a green space, placing bird feeders with nuts and seeds can attract squirrels and keep them away from balconies.

4. Cut Back Trees

Squirrels can’t get onto your balcony if they don’t have a path up. Speak to your building owner or HOA about trimming back trees from balconies. If the gap is too large for squirrels to jump, they won’t be able to get onto your property.

5. Fumigation and Baits

What if the squirrel population is too high in your area for these methods to work? There are two effective ways to reduce the squirrel population: fumigation and toxic baits. From January to May, the ground is wet enough that gases are more effectively sealed in ground squirrel nests, making fumigation a great option.

From May to October, baiting with treated grain is effective because squirrels naturally eat grain during this time. You need a license to create a bait like this, as there are many rules about what kind of treatment you can use and how you can protect non-squirrel animals from the bait. You can reach out to a pest control specialist to create baited traps for squirrels.

Don’t Relocate Squirrels

It is illegal in California to relocate animals, including squirrels. You can either discourage squirrels or kill them, but you can’t relocate them to new areas unless you have a permit.