A squirrel’s diet mainly consists of nuts, hard seeds and fruit which wears down their teeth. In order to combat this, their teeth are constantly growing. So, they chew on things to keep their teeth from getting too long. Most squirrels will chew on things like small tree branches and twigs. However, some squirrels have found electrical wire works just as well and typically have a delicious soy-based plastic covering that they just love to nibble on.
During the holiday season, it isn’t just the wires that draw the attention of squirrels. Christmas light bulbs are sometimes stolen by squirrels thinking the bulbs are food. C7s and C9s are a common victim due to their similar acorn shape. The time of year most people put out their holiday lighting is a very hectic time for squirrels. It’s when they are busily collecting, hoarding, and burying their food for the winter, and they do it so fastthey don’t take the time to double check the light bulbs for edibility.
What Can Be Done To Stop Them?
Fortunately, there are plenty of options to help keep your rope lights and string light safe from them, each with their own pros and cons. Some people think to use pesticides or some other method to “permanently” be rid of the critters, but this should be a last resort. You never know what unintended creature could get ahold of the poison and in some states it is illegal to do so if you aren’t a professional exterminator. It’s also important to note that even if the current colony of squirrels is removed in this manner, another colony is very likely to move in afterwards. Squirrels are very territorial; because of this, the best way to deal with squirrels is deter them from the wires without driving them away. True fact, once you’ve trained your local colony to leave your wires alone, they essentially start working for you by keeping any new squirrels out of your yard.
The first thing to try is using a ready-made squirrel repellent, mint mouthwash, pepper spray or citrus solution on the rope or string lights (some would suggest predator urine is very effective, but that’s not for everyone). The smell and taste of these acts as a deterrent, however they need to be reapplied at regular intervals and after a day of rain. A great option is an Owl decoy since almost all same rodents are afraid of owls. These realistic decoys should be placed near the wires or rope lights you want to protect. Keep in mind more than you may need more than one for larger yards and should be moved every now and again so that the squirrels don’t become desensitized when the owl never moves.
Or, if all else fails, take up the noble sport of falconry.