Squirrels may be fun to watch, but they can quickly turn a balcony into their own private playpen. Digging through container plants to bury nuts, using balcony rails for a promenade, emptying bird feeders in an afternoon, gnawing on anything made of wood, even nibbling on wire insulation are only a few of the things squirrels like to do. Take steps to rid your balcony of tree squirrels before they find their way into your home.
Stake out your balcony to learn how the squirrels are gaining access. Any daylight hour will do, because squirrels are active from dawn till dusk. You'll see them leap from a tree branch, drop from the roof or gutter or walk a cable or phone line like a tightrope to reach your balcony.
Block their access route. Prune branches on nearby trees and tall shrubs with pruning shears to a distance of 10 feet. Cut back branches that overhang the building roof if you are on the top floor. If you can't prune, install plastic trunk guards on the trunks of trees to a height of six to eight feet to keep squirrels from climbing.
Cut a 2- to 3-foot length of narrow-gauge, plastic trunk guard and install it on telephone and cable lines. This plastic tubing is cut along its length so it will snap over lines easily. When the squirrel tries to cross it, the tube will spin under its weight and the squirrel will fall off.
Add a few teaspoons of cayenne pepper to bird feed in your balcony bird feeders to repel squirrels. Pepper doesn't bother birds, and neither does hand cream, so lubricate hooks, chains and tops to keep squirrels thoroughly discouraged. Surround plants in containers with chicken wire to prevent squirrels from burying nuts in the soil.
Trap squirrels in humane traps baited with sunflower seeds or peanut butter. Release them more than five miles away or they will return.