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Protecting Your Home Against Squirrels

By Chris Williams on January 28, 2011.

Squirrels are the cutest creatures to watch play around when they are nowhere near your house, but once they start invading your property their cuteness disappears. It is time to take action when they start to invade your home, garage, trash, and garden. Squirrels have become too comfortable with humans and are now moving in without an invitation. Do not let them continue ravaging through your things when there are proven techniques for preventing more squirrel encounters. Despite their cute nature, squirrel removal can be dangerous and difficult and is better left to the professionals!

Warning Signs: You know you have a squirrel problem when they start crawling around inside your walls and in your attic. There are a few signs you can look for to determine if you in fact have a squirrel making itself at home.

  • Chewed holes: If you take a close look around your building and find entry point holes that look like they have been chewed on you are likely dealing with some type of squirrel.
  • Greasy marks: Another sign near the entry/exit point and pathway can be a greasy rub mark.
  • Claw marks: Keep an eye out for claw marks near what you would expect to be their travel path.
  • Droppings: Squirrel droppings are brown, oval, smooth, and about ½-inch long. You can likely find them in your attic. Flying squirrels are unique because they leave their droppings in a pile.
  • Wood and insulation damage: Squirrels will gnaw into just about anything but usually you will see wood or insulation being bored through along their pathway.
  • Time of day: Flying squirrels will be active at night time and grey squirrels will be active during the day time. Sometimes people go searching for their invader during the wrong time of the day while the squirrel may be out gathering or sleeping.

Entry Methods: There are several basic ways squirrels can get on your home. You can help prevent an invasion by making sure to check these issues around your house ahead of time and taking care of them.

  • Overhanging tree branches
  • Power lines
  • Climbing the siding

Areas of Attack:

  • Attic: This is when you should call a professional immediately because of the damage a squirrel can do in an attic. Squirrels need to continue gnawing to keep their teeth sharp and will gnaw through your walls and even electrical wiring, potentially causing an electrical fire. They will also foul your insulation with droppings and urine, making squirrels a major nuisance in a household.
  • Garage: The garage is generally one of the easiest access points for pests like squirrels and will often have a rafter for them to make a home in. They can cause similar damage in your garage as they do in your attic so it is just as important to seal every nook and cranny that could possibly be used as an entry point.
  • Garden: Squirrels love nuts from trees but they also love the plants in your garden. They will eat your delicious vegetables before they’re ripe, ruining the crop for you. A good do-it-yourself trick to prevent a squirrel problem in your garden is to attract hawks and owls by providing roosting spots. Once you have an owl around, squirrels will stay away.
  • Trash Cans: Because people are likely to leave their trash cans outside, they are the easiest attack point for squirrels. Squirrels are smart and if they attacked your delicious trash for dinner one night they are likely to return and tell their friends about it. You do not want squirrels hanging around that close to your home so go get some metal trash cans with lids to prevent any more trash scavenging.

Solutions:

  • Trapping: Squirrels traps are good tools to help humanely move the pests away from your home. Set up the traps along their pathway and bait them with some peanut butter and crackers. You will only catch one at a time and it can become difficult catching and moving them if you have an entire family living in your attic. Colonial Pest Control has many years of experience trapping and removing squirrels, and we can help you with an infestation immediately.
  • Exclusion: Find and seal off all of the openings into your structure. Whether it is a hole in a vent or a crack in the wood, a squirrel will find it, make it larger, and enter along with all of their friends. Before permanently sealing these areas, a temporary one-way exclusion device is used. It is similar to a one-way valve that lets liquid go out but not back in. The squirrels will leave to gather more food but will not be able to re-enter, safely removing them from your home.
  • Prevention: Prevention is always the best method since it is more difficult to fix the issue once the squirrels are already pestering you. You can prevent an infestation of squirrels by carefully searching out any access point and permanently sealing it. Common areas that need to be sealed include eaves, rotted window sills, roof vents, attic vents, and chimneys.

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