Sage Advice: Homeowners Going Nuts Over Squirrels

By Amy Dickinson | January 21st, 2020

A handful of unwanted yard critters may be caused by the neighbors...


Three squirrels in a tree Image

Dear Amy:

We have just moved into a new semi-detached home and have not yet met the neighbor in the adjoining house.

We’ve noticed that there is a trio of plump and happy squirrels; they spend most of their time on a small tree just outside of our window. Our yard and flower beds are constantly littered with hundreds of store-bought peanut shells. It is a disgusting mess.

Amy, there is not a single moment that I’ve looked out the window and not seen a squirrel. They are on our roof, tree, or lawn, and they almost always have a peanut in their mouth. They are also digging our lawn to bits.

It seems that our wall-sharing neighbor is buying peanuts to feed the squirrels. And by the looks of it, she buys in bulk!

Not only is this making a mess of our lawn, but I am worried about our children picking these up (we have two toddlers).

We were also looking forward to having a large garden in the summer, and although any garden can have its fair share of pests, this is over the top.

I think the neighbor should have to clean up the atrocious mess on our lawn and stop feeding these pests, but having that be our first-ever communication doesn’t make for a friendly start.

Should we make a show of if by going out with gloves and garbage bags, trying to cover the tree, and leave squirrel repellent bottles outside? Or do we knock on the door and ask them to stop?! The squirrels are living and feasting exclusively on our side of the lawn!

– Going Nuts in Niagara Falls

Dear Going Nuts:

You should introduce yourselves to your neighbors. Ask them about the neighborhood, about trash and recycling pickup, etc.

In the course of your conversation, you should also ask them what they are doing about the squirrel infestation. Ask if these rodents have been scampering across their roof, gnawing on the woodwork, and chewing through their wiring (squirrels love the rubber coating on wiring, by the way).

Depending on how your neighbors respond, you can simply make it very clear that you are going to do everything you can to eradicate or relocate this trio. Say, “If you are feeding them, we hope you will stop.” Then, you can take all of the steps you mention. You should also consider trapping these pals (the squirrels, not the neighbors) and relocating them (again, the squirrels, not the neighbors) to a far-off habitat.

Even though they are contributing to it, I don’t agree that the neighbors should have to clean up the mess these squirrels leave on your lawn.


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In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers. Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068

© 2020 by Amy Dickinson

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