Watching that cute squirrel jump from tree-branch to tree-branch may be entertaining, but dealing with them living in your home is a different story entirely. While most squirrels are tree-dwelling animals, when given the opportunity they will happily take up residence in your attic or garage. These warm, dry locations are perfect for squirrels to store food, build nests, and bear their young.
The problem typically begins when a squirrel discovers a crack in your roof, attic, basement or chimney and chews its way inside. Once it has taken up residence it can cause an array of problems. Squirrel droppings may carry bacterial and fungal pathogens which can cause human disease, and they often bring fleas, ticks, and other parasites in with them. If your air conditioning unit is in your attic, an infestation can spread airborne pathogens throughout your home. Additionally, squirrels are natural chewers and will enjoy gnawing on personal items that may be stored in your attic, HVAC duct work, and electrical wiring. Wiring chewed by squirrels and other rodents has been known to cause thousands of house fires every year.
Squirrels are not classified as “pests” but rather “nuisance wildlife.” To deal with the problem, you must humanely remove them and then ensure that all areas of entry are properly sealed so that they are unable to get back into your home. Squirrels often burrow under insulation to nest, so it may be difficult to locate and remove them. Once the home is squirrel-free, the next step is referred to as full exclusion. This involves an extensive check of your home for entry points including holes, cracks, and vents along your roof, eaves, foundation and basement areas. It’s necessary to vacuum any remaining droppings and possibly remove and replace contaminated insulation. Each step of this process can be difficult and is best handled by a registered professional. Our technicians are experienced, knowledgeable, and have access to the professional equipment needed to eliminate the problem.
Squirrel Exclusion: The first step to effectively manage tree squirrels is to locate how the squirrels are entering the building and create an exclusion plan targeting those locations. Potential entry point locations include: attic and basement vents; utility lines; drainpipes; and chimneys. The exclusion plan seals all the targeted entry points and guarantees tree squirrels will not re-enter those locations. Keeping squirrels off the house can also help control the situation. Squirrels can easily gain access to homes from overhanging tree limbs, therefore to prevent these situations it is encouraged to prune back the limbs.
Live Trapping: When repelling and removing tree limbs does not solve the problem and an exclusion plan is not an option, live trapping or trapping the squirrels may be necessary. Baits can be used to attract the squirrels to the trap and the traps can easily be removed with the squirrels.
Most commonly encountered species of squirrels are the grey, red, flying, and fox. Tree squirrels are active in the early morning and late afternoon while flying squirrels are most active at night. With a diet consisting mainly of fruit, bark, nuts, plant materials, and insects, squirrels spend most of their active time seeking out food and hoarding and storing it in preparation for the winter months.
Tree squirrels generally give birth twice a year, while flying squirrels breed only once annually. Litters are born in the early spring and late summer and vary in count from three to eight, depending on the species. Other than seeing squirrels around your home, signs of an infestation include finding droppings or gnaw damage in your attic. You are also likely to hear animals scratching or running around in your walls or attic, especially during the day. If you believe you may have an infestation problem, please call us for a professional consultation.