My wife and I live in a log home we built in Eastern Tennessee 12 years ago. About 2 years ago, I had noticed chew marks on the outside corners of my log ends and wandered what animal was doing it and why? My dog was much too old and not aggressive enough to do this. Then, one day I heard something chewing on the back deck, looked out, and to my surprise it was a squirrel! Being a Builder, Home Inspector and Building Inspector in the log home mecca of Sevier County, TN; and just having a nerdy interested in such things, I did some research, asked around, and compiled a strategy to deal with the problem.
I like natural solutions that deal with these type problems because I do not want to harm the environment. I live here too! One pest control operator I spoke with said the squirrels are chewing to get at the salt in the wood. (This makes sense because I used a borate solution on my logs prior to staining to deter wood boring insects.) So, I decided to try getting a “salt lick” from my local farmer’s supply store. I placed it in the vicinity of where they were chewing and it seemed to work. They lost interest in chewing logs for a while, but returned when the salt lick dissolved and disappeared. If you try this, you should place the “salt lick” in an area of the yard away from your house, but preferably covered from the rain.
Another strategy I discovered was using cayenne pepper and red chili pepper mixed in a sprayer. Spray the outside of the logs with the mixture. Squirrels do not like the smell or bitter taste of the peppers and will avoid the area.
A more permanent solution is to add cayenne pepper to your stain prior to staining the logs. This makes the logs less attractive to squirrels for as long as the stain lasts. I tried this a year ago and am happy to report that to date, I have had no new squirrel activity!