You've seen them. They scamper from tree to tree, flicking their fluffy tails. They chase each other around the yard. They swing from bird feeders with the greatest of ease. There is no doubt that little gray squirrels can be fun to watch. And some people even keep them as pets. The problems come when these cute little rodents aren't content to stay outside where they belong.
When Squirrels Aren't So Cute
"Aren't squirrels bad to have around?" you might ask. When they stay outside, they are usually not a problem, but the more squirrels you have on your property, the more likely one or more will get inside your attic space or other sheltered areas, especially as the weather turns colder. Here is a list of some of the reasons why having squirrels inside your home is a bad thing.
- Squirrels chew. Squirrels are rodents. Like all rodents, they need to constantly chew in order to wear down their teeth. Inside a home, a squirrel can chew on anything from wood and plastic to boxes and stored items to plumbing pipes or electrical wiring.
- Squirrels leave messes. When squirrels get in and find a nice sheltered place in your attic, they will dig around and find things to build nests. They often rip up insulation or other soft materials that are stored nearby, causing destruction and leaving a mess.
- Squirrels leave more messes. Wherever squirrels roam inside an attic, wall voids, and other areas, they will leave their droppings and urine.
- Squirrels can spread diseases. Some of the diseases squirrels have been known to carry and transfer to humans are tularemia, typhus and plague. This occurs through bites or other forms of direct contact and can be deadly if left untreated.
- Squirrels can bring in parasites. Ticks, fleas, mites and lice can all be transported into homes in the fur of squirrels, possibly causing a whole new set of problems.
- Squirrels make babies. If you think one or two little squirrels in the attic is no big deal, think again. One female squirrel can have up to 8 babies in one litter.
Where Are Gray Squirrels Found?
Eastern gray squirrels live throughout the eastern United States, just past the Mississippi River, and up into Canada. Abundant food sources such as the nuts of oaks, beeches and hickories provide squirrels with all they need to thrive. Gray squirrels do just fine in a great variety of woodland, parkland, suburban and even urban areas.
How Squirrels Get Into Homes
Since squirrels are great climbers, they usually don't have too much trouble making it to the roof areas of homes, especially if there are large trees that overhang or come close to the roof.
Squirrels are great at chewing. If there is a small hole on the outside of a home, a squirrel can chew on it until it is large enough to squeeze inside. Another way they can get in is if there are loose boards, or open windows with ripped screens or no screens at all.
Squirrel Prevention Tips
To keep these little acrobats out of your attic, you'll have to do a little work.
- Check all areas around your roof for openings. Look for boards that have come loose and refasten them before unwanted guests can move in.
- Check ventilation openings to make sure there are no holes and that screens are in good shape.
Trim back tree branches that overhang or come in close to your roof area.
- Make sure attic windows are closed or have effective screens.
- Avoid attracting squirrels to your property. Keep bird feeders well away from your exterior walls, don't feed squirrels peanuts or other foods, and remove water sources from your property if possible.
How American Pest Solutions Can Help
Keeping squirrels out of your attic is one thing. Getting squirrels out is a different story. When any wild animal has established itself inside a man-made structure, it can be dangerous. Cornering a squirrel in an attic can result in being bitten or scratched, especially if the animal is protecting babies. The best and safest way to get rid of squirrels (for homeowners and squirrels) is by partnering with the professionals at American Pest Solutions. We have the experience, tools and know-how to remove pest squirrels safely. Then, you can go back to enjoying having squirrels where they belong, scampering around in your backyard.