Squirrels are abundant in many parts of the United States. While their antics can be entertaining, the furry critters can also be a nuisance. Squirrels can damage property in a number of ways -- including chewing on wooden decks. Squirrels don't gnaw on decks because they like the taste, however. Chewing is necessary to wear down their teeth, which grow constantly. There are a number of ways you can try to deter your backyard squirrels from ruining your deck.
Purchase a squirrel deterrent at your local home and garden store. Look for a taste repellent -- many contain red pepper. Follow the manufacturer's instructions. Apply it liberally to your deck. Repeat as directed or after heavy rains.
Move all food sources, such as bird feeders, away from the area around your deck. Try moving them to the opposite side of your yard if possible.
Put out other objects that can be used for chewing. Dog bones, soup bones or deer antlers can be placed around your yard (away from the deck) and provide an alternative to wooden decks.
Place a motion detector on your deck that makes some sort of sound when activated. This may scare squirrels away. You can also try spraying a hose next to (not directly on) the squirrels when they come to your deck, though this method requires you to catch them in the act.
Place several mothballs in a mesh or wire screened container. Hang the containers on the deck railing or scatter them around the perimeter to deter squirrels, who do not like the smell. You'll need to replace the mothballs every three to four days to maintain effectiveness.