Problems with Ground Squirrels in Gardens Ground squirrels exasperate homeowners and gardeners by relentlessly eating and damaging vegetables, fruits, and ornamental plants. The pests devour seedlings and can destroy young shrubs, vines, and trees. As if that weren't enough, fleas found in their fur are capable of transmitting bubonic plague to humans. It is for these reasons that many property owners seek ground squirrel garden controls and repellents. Repellents Traps are only practical for controlling very small numbers of the pests. Natural ground squirrel repellents include anything containing capsaicin, the chemical that gives chili peppers their heat. This method involves pouring chili oil or sauce on the ground near plants. Some gardeners have also used castor oil or the urine of ground squirrel predators in the same manner. However, due to soil absorption and rain, applications of any of these must be repeated frequently. Fences and Other Control Methods Putting a fence around a vegetable patch might sound like a surefire method of ground squirrel garden control. The truth is more complicated, as constructing the right fence for the job is very expensive and time-consuming. It requires completely surrounding the area with heavy-gauge wire mesh that is at least 18-inches high, plus burying it an other 18 inches underground to prevent digging. Another type of ground squirrel repellent involves filling in their burrows. Stomping them closed will not do the job, as the pests can simply dig back through. Openings must be completely dismantled to a depth of at least two feet, using mechanical equipment and heavy implements. For all the time and expense that do-it-yourself methods require, property owners can save on both cost and labor by calling Critter Control for professional removal of ground squirrels.