So plentiful, so commonplace, that it’s easy to look right past them unless they hurl themselves in front of your vehicle when you least expect it, or until they rob your birdfeeders and end up chasing the birds away. You could have also had them either trying to get in your attic or have actually had them in your attic and in that case, you are well aware of what a nuisance that they can be. The urban landscape has its most loathsome pest, the black rat, and likewise, the suburban landscape has the Squirrel. While the comparison may be a bit harsh to some, because they look cute and are running around doing silly squirrel things in the day, these animals can be a huge source of frustration for many homeowners every year, or even throughout the year.
Because their teeth constantly grow, they need to be filed down so the squirrels will chew on the siding of your house (Wood, Stucco, MDF), the edge of your gutters, create holes in your soffit returns, and if your construction gap is not large enough they will create a hole through your fascia board. To add to this lovely list, trimming your trees back can often be a fruitless expense because of their ability to scale many types of siding and to climb up through your gutter’s downspout.
Home and property owners often think its just one squirrel that’s an issue, and if it is dealt with (trapped and relocated, killed, etc) then their issues will end along with the squirrels’ occupation. While this can work in some cases for a little while, the majority of the time the issue is more complex than that for a few reasons. Rodents have pheromones in their urine, feces and the sebum they leave when they use an entrance for long enough. These pheromones can communicate many things such as the species, dominance, current occupation, suitability of that location to occupation and so on. But the most important thing about those pheromones is that they tend to attract other squirrels to your building. What this usually means in most situations is that even if something happens to the current nuisance squirrel, within as little as three months another squirrel could take up residence depending on the time of year and the weather. In addition to this, once a squirrel gives birth to her young and they mature, this new generation of squirrels will seek out the comforts of an attic when its time for them to take shelter or give birth. While a mother can be protective of an attic when raising her young, chasing off any other adult squirrels to defend her babies, she will tolerate her offspring using the same attic-space (depending on the space available) and in the worst-case, you can have multiple successive generations coming and going at varying times.
While trapping is a good way to control the local squirrel population, its really a numbers game, which means the chance of trapping that specific squirrel can be rather low. Squirrels are plentiful, with estimates between 2–20 squirrels living in an acre. And, if it is pregnant, or is currently taking care of babies, that squirrel will often be incredibly difficult to trap. Preferring the routine it has established, locating food sources that have proven to be safe and sound instead of risking itself for some unknown payoff.
So, what is the solution then? Exclusion. This means sealing off access to your attic, or whatever space the squirrel(s) are currently occupying. This does not mean hiring some handyman to find the one entrance the squirrel is using, which often they can have multiple entrances depending on how long they have been there. Because of those pheromones, we spoke of, and the habituation of squirrels to accessing our structures, the only real solution is the seal ALL of the possible points of entry that squirrels can and will use. To guarantee your greatest chance of success, and therefore the most return on your money spent in this frustrating situation, you will want someone accustomed to dealing with these pests. This means a professional Nuisance Wildlife company.
First, a word on this. I firmly believe in the power of the ‘Do It Yourself’ mentality. But there are a few factors that can work against a home or property owner’s efforts to handle it on their own. First and foremost amongst these factors is the accessibility of the affected area and the determination of the squirrels. While one hole or entry can be easy to access, often sealing most of your construction gap requires tall ladders, the right tools, and the right materials. It’s dangerous and can be a waste of your time because people underestimate the chewing power of these critters and the effect of the weather on the materials they use to exclude them making the effort temporary at best and damaging at the worst because of tears in your shingles, screws or nails that can back up and allow water in, and so on.
You need a nuisance wildlife company (<a href=”https://southernpest.net">Squirrel Trapper</a>) that is well-acquainted with the tenacity of these creatures, their persistent need to gnaw and chew and the climbing capabilities that will guide them in sealing up your home so it is impenetrable to the squirrels. Another vastly important factor in regard to the wildlife company you choose is their materials and their practices. Are the materials they use of the highest quality, able to stand up to time and the weather? If they use nails, those can back-out of the holes over time leaving vulnerabilities for water. If they use screws, are they powder-coated and do they have washers to protect your woodwork? Are their practices conscientious of the general health of your home? Are they setting their ladders against your gutters and damaging them? Are they not limiting the amount they walk on your roof and are therefore damage the top grit-layer on your shingles prematurely aging them? Sometimes the price is not a reflection of quality, but often, in this case, you get what you pay for. Going for the lowest bidder, in this case, can put you in a situation where you now have a professional that is trying to get through that ‘job’ as fast as it is possible to squeeze out whatever they can from their slim profit margins. Whereas a reasonably-priced company allows themselves the time to give a higher quality of attention and effort to your home because they charged accordingly and therefore do not have to rush. Because of that, this work should come with a warranty, but do not expect there to be a lifetime one for free for a few reasons, weather and other contractors. Even in a perfect world where everything is done right, forces like expansion and contraction and wind can cause water to get into the places you least want it to be which means wood-rot which can inevitably create another entrance for rodents or compromise the exclusion work that was done. This brings us to the work of others. Roof work is a guaranteed way to affect the exclusion, it’s nearly unavoidable if they have to replace any wood or completely remove the current roof to apply new roofing. This is why there may be a renewal-fee or a maintenance-fee for a warranty with wildlife exclusion work.
Who you hire should be able to educate you further, because if I fit all the information in this article that you need or should be aware of, I may as well have written a book…and who wants to read a book on nuisance squirrels? If you have any questions, you can call or email us, we want to help however we can even if that means we are not the ones doing the work on your home.