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There are many different types of pest animals that can cause problems in domestic properties in the United States, and one of the troublesome species is the fluffy squirrel. These agile little creatures are naturally found in the trees in the wild, but with increasing urbanization in the country more of their habitat is changing into towns, and this means more people are encountering squirrels in urban areas. They can cause several different types of problems both in terms of the damage that they can cause and the nuisance of having them present.
Identifying Entry And Exit Points
The first step to getting rid of squirrels from a property is to thoroughly examine the area where they are causing issues, and in most cases this will be in the attic or roof space of the property. Carry out a search of the area, and find all of the holes that the squirrels are using to get in and out of the attic, and it is worth examining both the interior and the exterior to complete this work, to try and find all the access points. This will then allow you to carry out the work to either trap and remove the squirrels, or simply to exclude the squirrels from your property.
Installing Repeater Traps Around The Roof-line
The option of using repeater traps is one way to catch and remove the squirrels, and the basic technique is to seal several of the holes, and then to install a trap over one or two of the holes the squirrels are using to get in and out. These will need to be checked regularly, and once you have started catching the squirrels, you can look to release them a good distance away from the property where they are causing a nuisance. You can also use a one-way funnel or exclusion netting, which will prevent the squirrels from getting back in, but this doesn't remove the animals from the area around your property.
Checking The Property Is Free Of Squirrels
Once you have your measures in place, you will need to be checking your traps regularly, and even if you are using exclusion measures you will need to check to see if these are working by looking for signs of squirrel activity. In some cases it is possible that you may not see the squirrel activity reducing, then in this case you will need to see if you can identify another access point. In most cases, if you have carried out your survey and found all of the access points, then dealing with squirrels should actually be quite a quick process, and should only take a few days to complete. Before you seal the remaining holes, make sure you carry out a search of the attic, in case there is a nest of baby squirrels present.
Preventing Future Infestations
Once you are confident that all of the squirrels have been removed from the attic, you will need to carry out repairs, and seal the area to prevent squirrels from being able to get in to the area in the future. Materials such as chicken wire and metal flashing can be useful in sealing the holes that squirrels can use to get in, but it is important that the materials are durable and will be a permanent barrier around the roof line of your property. The other steps that you can take to prevent future infestations are in terms of maintenance, as keeping this area of your property well maintained will usually be able to stop squirrels from getting in to the property in future.
There are 4 stages to getting rid of squirrels. Skipping any of these 4 stages will likely result in the problem coming back, or the problem not even going away to begin with. Taking the easy route out is not an option when you're up against a creature that is as determined and as stubborn as the squirrel is likely to be, especially a mother squirrel with a nest full of babies to protected.
Step One: Removal of Food
Food can come in many forms when you're a squirrel, ranging from seeds, nuts, berries and other fruits, to small insects and leftovers from your trash can. They will feast until they're no longer hungry, but they won't stop there. They'll continue to take food all the while it is made readily available to them, stashing it in various food-hoard spots, and they have also started adapting their diets to match the food left by humans.
If you seem to have a constant and persistent squirrel problem, it might be worth checking out what squirrels are eating these days, in greater detail. You can use that information to eradicate food sources from your front or back yard. Insecticides, for example, can keep insects populations down, and this can go a long way to keeping out a fair number of nuisance animals. Raccoons, opossums, skunks, rats, mice, squirrels ... the list of insect-eaters is long.
For every source of food that you have in your back yard, there is a way to prevent that source of food from being accessed. A framework made from timber and chickenwire or hardware cloth can easily be used to secure and protect new crops and other plants that nuisance wildlife feast on. Bafflers can be added to bird feeders to stop pests from getting to them, and even cat and dog food can be moved so that they are no longer accessible to wildlife you don't want hanging around.
All the time these wild animals have access to food, they'll keep coming back to it. Squirrels won't stop when they're full up either; they'll keep going, stashing the food because it's still so freely available to them. Take that source of food away and they'll be forced to go hunting somewhere else … somewhere that isn't your problem.
Step Two: Access Avoidance
If you take away all sources of food and then make it more difficult for the squirrels to get onto your property, they'll have less of a reason to stick around. Trimming tree branches back, for example, is a great way to make it difficult for the animals to get into your property. There isn't a way to 100% eradicate them, but by stopping them from being able to get in by using the trees, you're protecting your attic just as much as you're protecting your property.
As well as making sure tree branches don't lead to your attic or overhang so that the animal can simply scamper and hop right in, you will also want to make sure that other methods can't be used by the animal to gain entry. There's no way to totally stop the army of critters, but you can make life difficult.
You could try to add a fence, but squirrels are pretty good at getting over them. That doesn't mean that you can't use the structure to keep other nuisance wildlife out though. It might be time to seriously consider a fence if you don't already have one and seem to be constantly bombarded with furry interlopers.
Step Three: Entrance Blocking
It's time to take a closer look at your actual building now; if the squirrel knows that there is a way in, it will do everything in its power to get in. These animals are usually female squirrels looking for the perfect nesting spot for a new family. Competition is high out there; the ‘natural' spots that squirrels would usually flock to are being knocked down or have been already taken over. They need to find another place to stay and that's exactly why they're intruding on residential properties.
If there are holes in your building, the squirrel will get in. Even if the squirrel doesn't, another animal will before long. If you have no entry points at all — no holes or patches of damage that could lead pests right in — you won't have an internal problem. Infestations INSIDE the building are considerably more difficult to resolve than infestations OUTSIDE it.
Step Four: Cleanup
The waste (urine and feces) of wild critters is filled with bacteria, viruses, parasites, and other nasties that can cause disease outbreaks in your home — in both pets and your human family members alike. Cleaning up after a pest animal invasion is a long and laborious task that requires many steps, all by itself.
You will first need to start by removing the waste itself. Squirrel poop isn't as dusty as the poop of bats, for example, so the cleanup operation is usually a bit easier. That doesn't mean it's a tidier job, however; you will still need to use either a dustpan and brush or a vacuum filter in order to make sure you've gotten rid of every last bit of it.
Even when the poop has gone, your job isn't. You will then need to turn your attention to the patches of urine, which may even appear invisible for now. As time goes on, the urine stench will get stronger, as will visible signs — splashes and stains. Poop and urine combined makes a terrible moisture problem, which could then result in mold, electrical problems, health problems, and even structural problems. That's before you even start to think about how unsightly it is.
If you don't make sure that you have removed all waste that squirrels have left behind, you still haven't done your job. The stages are not yet complete. With all the sealing in the world, your home still won't be safe. The smell of urine works as an attractant to squirrels — it will attract more of its kind.
For more information, you may want to click on one of these guides that I wrote:
How much does squirrel removal cost? - get the lowdown on prices.
How to get rid of squirrels - my main squirrel removal info guide.
Example squirrel trapping photographs - get do-it-yourself ideas.
Squirrel job blog - learn from great examples of squirrel jobs I've done.
Repellents That Work to Get Rid of Squirrels
Everything You Need to Know About Squirrels to Get Rid of Them
What happens to squirrels after they are professional trapped?