Squirrels and birds (non-trap)

Its that time of year again! To figure out how to wage war on the squirrels and birds that fight me for my fruit.

Ya’ll, I’ve read so many posts. I understand that lots of people use traps. I’m not going there, so please don’t suggest them.

I also live in the city limits, so I can’t shoot them. And, we are in an established neighborhood, so there are lots of trees.

Many of my fruit trees are located about 3-4 feet from my back fence. Its a squirrel highway over here. :anguished:

So, I’ve been researching and I’m curious if anyone has used any of these options:

  1. Bird spikes: Yeah, they are expensive, especially since my fence is long, and kinda ugly.

  2. Bird humming line: Not sure whether it would help with the squirrels. The birds have lots of trees to sit in and decide which fruit they’d like to peck, instead of hanging out on my fence.
    Fly Away Birdies Humming Line | BirdStoppers.com

  3. Flock-off bird gel: Less ugly than the spikes and maybe make discourage birds and squirrels on my fence.
    Flock Off! Bird Gel Perch Inhibitor | BirdStoppers.com

  4. Pepper: I understand this works for squirrels, but not birds. I have some ground ghost pepper that I’m NEVER going to finish that I could use!

If anyone has used any of these options, I’d love to hear your input. Thanks!

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Bagging fruit is your only other option. Make sure the bag is tied to the branch too.

I once worked in a very tall office building and outside the windows on every floor was a ledge, and pigeons would hang out there all day making noise, pooping, etc. The office building first employed air cannons- and they worked great. Once an hour it would make a very loud boom and all the pigeons would leave. about the time they started coming back in numbers, the boom would happen again and they’d be scared off. Obviously, though, the big problem with this is…you have a very loud cannon going off every hour! Now, we never intended for the boom to continue forever. The idea, and what we were told, was that after a week or two the birds would just learn that there were more peaceful places to congregate and they would move on and we could turn the air cannon off. Well, that didn’t happen. Every time we would shut the BOOM off for a day or two, the pigeons would return. I am sure you wouldn’t want to scare all your neighbors with what sounds like a big gun- even for a week- but I wanted to mention this anyway just in case you eventually add it to your list of possible solutions.

Anyway, after everyone in our building and downtown Knoxville got tired of the BOOMS, we went to a product that was called “hot foot”. I was of the understanding that it had something that burned the birds feet, but after reading your link on the bird gel I’m not sure if it was something that burned their feet or they just didn’t like the stickiness. Either way, it was a failure. It actually worked fairly well for about a week, but after the rain and sun and dust all hit it, it sort of had a crust form on the top and was no longer sticky -and if it did have some “burning” component (hot pepper, acid, etc) I’m sure it stopped working too when the top crusted over. I notice the “gel” you linked to says it lasts for several months, but I’m doubtful. After baking in the sun, then getting a layer of dust, then rain, etc I bet it would do the same thing ours did.

We never did solve out pigeon problem. The closest we ever came was when a hawk built a nest in one corner and peigeons wouldn’t go near that area. But even that didn’t translate to all-over control…we put fake owls all over the place after seeing how well the real hawk worked. The fake owls worked about 3 days. In less than a week pigeions were actually landing and roosting directly on the top of the fake owls! hahaha That made for some funny photos…a big pigeon repelling decoy with a pe\igeon perched right on its head! haha

I’m sorry this reply was a lot more about what didn’t work than what did.

I can also tell you from personal experience than hanging pie pans and CD’s in the trees don’t work, and neither does fake snakes (they work about 3 days, then birds figure out they aren’t a threat and ignore them).

Sorry I can’t be more help. Good luck.


we net our cherry tree and built an electric fence that starts above a 16 in tall wire fence. Maybe you can have a hot wire ground wire on top of your fence. That keeps the raccoons out, for now!

Squires can jump pretty far, and they never give up.

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That’s a good suggestion. Bagging will definitely be one of my solutions.

First, I’m trying to reduce the number of access points to my yard. One squirrel was feasting on my mulberry tree yesterday, which isn’t really baggable. :joy:

Lol! My neighbors definitely wouldn’t go for an hourly boom!! Thanks for sharing!

Forgot to include that option in my list! I’ll find the product that I looked up and add to my original post.

Only concern is children climbing on top of fence which happens about once per year when a ball goes too far.

My dog works best for me. After he caught a couple, they never come in the yard. I bred him and now he will train his son to do the same thing.


I hope your squirrels are not as cunning and creative as mine. They have taken fruit with bags on with no issue. The only kind of bags that offers most resistant is the one made of window screen. Still, they will try.

Even if you tie bags to a branch, these nasties will bite and ruin the fruit if they cannot take them. I don’t want to be a carrier of bad news but squirrels will fine your bagged fruit.


Last year I bagged them and then put chicken wire cage around each fruit. That was no game for my squirrels. So far nothing has worked for me except the electric wire. But only my veggie area has electric wires and I only have two fruit trees in that area.

Dogs or feral cats will work re. squirrels and birds.

Netting works. Bird scare tapes can work when the timing is right.

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I am going to try owl nests this year.

there are some pretty accurate pellet guns sold with scopes on them. i have a gamo i use if i don’t want anyone to hear me shoot but I’m out in the country so shooting in the yard isn’t a issue. i use the .22mag. and can easily hit one from inside the house up to 100ys if i can’t get closer. wife doesn’t like me shooting at dawn but thats when the buggers are most active. i think the answer is a multi pronged approach. no 1 thing will deter them.

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This is true. They have all the time you aren’t out there to work on it. They will gnaw, they will bite, they will jump, they will keep trying. It is infuriating, but it is what they were clearly designed to do - to torment fruit growers.

Please let us know if you find something that works!

So, I’m hearing that electricity might be the beer option. Can you create an electric shock on a whole tree??? :joy:

A few years ago I got tired of the birds sitting on the back of my patio chairs and pooping all over them, so I put up some improvised bird spikes (zip ties) that proved to be very effective. While it looked horrible, I no longer had bird poop all over my chairs.

Eventually I replaced the chairs and now just stack them next to the house, which has the same effect but doesn’t look as bad.

I think bagging only works for low to moderate populations of squirrels. If they become overpopulated then they get more desperate and very few things work. That’s how you get those stories of squirrels chewing through siding to get into attics or chewing through trashcan lids in my case.

The cats around here are lazy. There are so many inside/outside cats, plus I think a feral or two, and still so many squirrels. My wife caught one of mine sitting quietly in the front yard while a half dozen squirrels frolicked and dug around it!


Why no traps? I’m not going fault you for not wanting to either catch and release or kill, neither are pleasant.

Your trees by the fence just might be hopeless, squirrels can jump 4 ft easy. Are the other trees more isolated with high scaffolds? tubes around the trunks?

Or, as a last resort, be their best friend with peanuts. Farm stores sell 25 lb bags of in shell peanuts for $29. If I can’t keep them out, I’ll try to bribe them!

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That’s why it has to be real feral cats that won’t be tamed.