Urban, suburban and rural areas are typical places where squirrels live close to humans, which makes a home an easy and accessible shelter for them. Even tree squirrels, named after the area they prefer to live in, can make their way into your home, especially in cold weather. Most tree squirrels are active in the daytime and quiet in the evening. However, flying squirrels, by contrasts, are nocturnal and move around at night. Their nighttime activities can cause noise that interferes with the home owner’s ability to get a good night’s sleep.
Although squirrels do not usually infest homes in large numbers, even a single individual is capable of causing considerable damage, as they will chew anything they can, from plastic to metal, event electric cables, thus causing blackouts or fires. Squirrels are messy and noisy, inflict structural damage on buildings, and spread diseases via their faeces and urine. They also hide food in the yard or garden, only to dig hundreds of holes later in an effort to find it. They can be more of a nuisance than basic rodents like mice and rats, because getting rid of them is more difficult. Using traps, baits and poisons is not as effective as with their more common rodent cousins. The best way is catch any intruders and then apply preventive measures in the hope that it will hinder the squirrels from returning to your property.
Proper preventive measures need to be taken in order to avoid the possible damage or health related problems that may occur with the presence of squirrels in your yard. The first step is inspecting your property for signs of any any squirrel presence. Such signs are noises in the attic, damage made to insulations, new entrance holes created in the attic, eaten plants and flowers in the garden, damaged bird feeders, holes dug in the yard or garden and squirrel droppings. Should any of these signs appear, be sure that you will have to deal with the rodent, as it will cause further damage to your property, if it will be left unattended.
Preventive squirrels from entering your house
As squirrels love nesting in the attic of houses, they will try to make way and enter by all means, thus damaging walls, roofs, cables, or anything else standing in their way. In order to avoid having squirrels entering your house:
– keep a constant level of sanitation, and do not store food that could attract them to your attic;
– block all the access routes to the roof by trimming trees, as that is where they will try to enter through;
– install protective nets on top of the chimneys to make sure they do not enter the house through there;
– install gutter guards and cover down spouts where squirrels can easily enter through the roof;
– Remove any firewood that you may have stacked up against the building. This enables them to easily reach otherwise inaccessible entryways;
– should your roof be damager or made out of materials that can be chewed, repair the cracks and holes, or better yet, replace it altogether with a sturdier material;
– make sure food is wrapped up tightly and avoid leaving any leftovers uncovered, or any food next to the house entrance;
– should a squirrel found its way down your chimney, install a rope and place bait outside the chimney, as this will aid it to exit.
Preventive squirrels in your yard or garden
– remove any potential food sources, such as nuts, acorns, berries by raking your yard, and even seeds that you may leave out in bird feeders, as squirrels will be attracted by them as well;
– keep the area under the bird feeders clean, and avoid leaving any other type of pet food uncovered outside;
– place bird feeders further away from your house, so that, if squirrels do reach them, they are not close to your home;
– try installing bird feeders on poles as high as 2.5 m above the ground and place a tray that will catch falling seeds, avoiding they fall on the ground where squirrels can reach them;
– eliminate open water sources from your yard;
– ensure bin bags and trash cans are secured tightly, as squirrels are known for their curiosity;
– double bag and food your throw, if it has a strong smell, or else squirrels will get attracted to it;
– install motion activated sprinklers, as they also act as repellents and scare these rodents away;
– install wire mesh in your garden to protect your plants; make sure you also bury it about a foot in the ground, as it will impede the squirrels from climbing on the mesh, as well as digging a way underneath it.
Using strobe lights, radio noise or ultrasonic sound producers may discourage squirrels in attics or other confined spaces. However, these techniques are rarely effective for long because squirrels quickly get used to the frightening devices or may ignore the device altogether if they have young to care for.
Since squirrels rarely bite unless they’ve been cornered or feel threatened, these rodents are typically able to coexist with humans with little issue. However, they do carry and transmit a handful of diseases, which makes their presence undesirable and occasionally dangerous:
– Salmonellosis – can be found in their droppings; it causes diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever.
– Lyme disease – spread by the ticks’ squirrels carry and symptoms include nerve pain, stiffness, and inflammation of the brain or spinal cord.
– Tularemia – an unpleasant condition that brings about swollen lymph nodes and ulcers.
– Leptospirosis – symptoms include fever, headache, vomiting, jaundice, and rash.
– Rabies – though rare, sometimes squirrels pass this virus onto humans via biting or scratching.
Make sure that if you come across these rodents in your yard, after eliminating them, you will continue to apply the preventive measures mentioned above. As with any other pest, preventive steps must be taken constantly, and they must cover all the possible ways of squirrels infesting your house or yard. It is futile to only seal up cracks if you are not eliminating possible food sources, as these rodents are witty and will find other ways of exploiting your property. In order to eliminate a squirrel infestation, read of relevant article about “How to get rid of squirrels” and apply the deterrent measures listed there in order to reach a successful elimination of these rodents from your house and yard.