How to kill squirrels with traps

Written by brendan pelsue
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How to kill squirrels with traps
Squirrel nests may cause damage to homes and are considered health hazards. (squirrel image by Tanya McConnell from

Commercial squirrel traps are humanely designed to keep unwanted squirrels alive until they can be deposited far from the location they have infested. However, squirrels can be surprisingly persistent pests, and may travel long distances in order to return to a home where they have made a nest. Homeowners facing a long-term squirrel infestation may wish to take drastic measures by using poison bait to kill the squirrels they catch in their traps.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Commercial squirrel trap
  • Double dosage rat or other vermin poison
  • 2 cups bird seed
  • 1 jar peanut butter
  • Metal spoon
  • Mixing bowl
  • Rubber gloves

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  1. 1

    Put on rubber gloves.

    How to kill squirrels with traps
    Always use caution when handling poison. (small poison bottle with red cap image by isatori from
  2. 2

    Assemble a double dosage of rat poison and place in a mixing bowl. Depending on the manufacturer, this poison may be a powder, liquid, or pellet. If the poison comes in pellet form, crush it into a powder so that it may be mixed with other ingredients.

  3. 3

    Mix birdseed into the bowl with the rat poison, reserving a small amount of seed.

    How to kill squirrels with traps
    Mixed seeds are an important ingredient in squirrel bait. (seeds image by Jane from
  4. 4

    Scoop spoonfuls of peanut butter into the mixing bowl. After each scoop, use a gloved hand to knead the peanut butter into the birdseed. Stop scooping peanut butter once the mixture achieves a cookie dough-like consistency and can be rolled into a large ball.

    How to kill squirrels with traps
    Peanut butter acts as edible cement in a ball of squirrel bait. (peanut butter on a cracker image by robert mobley from
  1. 1

    Place the trap in an area with frequent, unwanted squirrel activity. According to Do It Yourself Pest Control, traps will be most effective when placed near the entry of a squirrel nest.

    How to kill squirrels with traps
    Squirrels are especially likely to nest in wooden attics. (climbing to the attic image by Marius Lazin from
  2. 2

    Place the poisoned bird seed ball at the centre of the trap. Sprinkle reserved bird seed between the poisoned ball and the area just outside the entrance to the trap. This will help lure squirrels into the trap.

  3. 3

    Set the trap according to the instructions manual for your model of squirrel trap. When the squirrel enters the trap to eat the peanut butter ball, it will ingest the double dosage of rat poison and be killed.

Tips and warnings

  • The amounts of peanut butter and birdseed given in this article are approximate. Use the amount you need to create bait with a consistency that works for your trap.
  • It is illegal to kill flying squirrels in all states, and killing ground squirrels by poison may require a special permit. Be sure to check your state and local regulations before setting a poisoned trap. Many exterminators recommend against poisoning for this and other reasons.
  • Always wear gloves when handling poison. Keep poison away from dogs, cats, and children. Wash hands and dispose of rubber gloves immediately after handling poison.
  • Dead squirrels are health hazards: they rot and smell, can release fleas looking for new carrier bodies, and may attract bugs and disease. Be sure you have a clear idea of how you will dispose of the squirrel carcase before setting poisoned bait. Be sure to keep carcases away from neighbourhood cats and dogs; the poison will remain potent even after the squirrel has died.

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