Grey and fox squirrels are the most common nuisance squirrel species in Michigan that cause problems. Occasionally homes will become infested with flying squirrels however it is not as common. How do you know if you have squirrels in your attic? Squirrels tend to take up residence loud and proud. They will run and chase back and forth throughout the attic space very loudly. Squirrel being diurnal animals are active during the day and sleep at night. You may not hear much during the day however, and for good reason. During the day squirrels will be out finding food, hence the reason some only hear them as they enter and exit. With wildlife all scenarios and situations differ, as animals are free thinking and unpredictable. It is best to do your due diligence in listing and investigating if you feel you may have squirrels in your home.
Squirrels in a home can truly be your worst nightmare. Little do many homeowners know, squirrel damages are not covered by the majority of homeowner’s insurance policies. Why? For the fact that their gnawing of wires causes over 30,000 home and business fires annually across the United States. Along with their gnawing, squirrels smash and crush insulation as they trail throughout attic space. This renders the attic insulation useless and needing replacement. Poorly insulated attics can increase energy costs by up to 50%. Other damages that squirrels cause is water damage from their entry point. When a squirrel gnaws it’s way into a home through the roof, soffit or fascia board, the home is open and exposed to any and all elements. This means rain and snow will directly enter and start causing damages. These damages are not limited to water damage as this can create mold as well. Squirrel damages can be extremely expensive if left alone for too long and allowed to escalate to drastic levels of home damage.
Many online sources will state that cayenne pepper, mothballs, ammonia soaked rags, peppermint mint oil, loud sound, animal repellent sprays & powders, flashing lights, predator urine and ultrasonic devices will rid your home of nuisance squirrels. If this were true, there would be no need for professional squirrel removal. Squirrels are extremely smart and adaptable animals. Anything short of a live animal chasing them down will not deter them from a safe attic space that free of elements and predators. These squirrel repellents are simply gimmicks. Using mothballs for the deterrent of mammals is illegal and highly ineffective as the weight of the odor falls into the living space of the home and does not rise into the attic space where the squirrels reside. Predator urine has to be the most laughable on the list, as coyotes, fox and bobcats in the midwest urinate everywhere. Squirrels aren’t actively avoiding every one of the multitude of places that a predator has urinated.
True squirrel deterrents would be to trim branches back at least 8 feet or cover the base of the tree with sheet metal to prevent climbing. Down spots should be modified to prevent or make climbing difficult as well. Attic vents and fans must be correctly squirrel proofed with non home improvement store bought steel mesh to prevent entry through these large open areas. Chicken wire will not due in preventing home entry. Also removing food sources such as bird feeders will remove the need for squirrels to want to den nearby. Chimneys must be tightly capped leaving so open areas as many squirrels fall down every year and are unable to climb up the brick to exit.
Squirrel removal is typically limited to squirrels that have gotten into a home, garage or shed and decided to nest. Squirrels in the midwest area have 2 litters of young and during these 2 times of the year, squirrel removal is most needed as the amount of activity is alerting and sometimes bothersome. Depending on the time of the year, babies may need to be found and manually removed by hand if they are too young to be trapped.
Squirrel trapping is the most typical means of squirrel control. Squirrel trapping can range from humane live trapping to lethal measures in emergency situations where needed. Baited humane traps are very effective and can take from a day to a week to fully remove a squirrel problem depending on if there is a solitary squirrel taking up residence or an entire colony. A typical size squirrel colony is 3-5 squirrels, however they have been known to be quite larger if the colony has been in the dwelling for quite some time.
Squirrel exclusion is spoken of in a couple ways. Some refer to squirrel exclusion work as squirrel proofing areas to exclude squirrels from future entry. This is also referred to as animal proofing or squirrel proofing. Squirrel exclusion can also be referred to a squirrel excluder being placed over the entry point, allowing the squirrels to exit the device, yet not reenter.
Squirrel exclusion is always necessary as a vacant den site with no squirrels present to defend it will always attract squirrels that are looking for a place to den. The residual odors and smells from left over urine, hair, feces and even blood will attract new squirrels within days to weeks. To prevent this from happening odor removal and squirrel exclusion is a must.
Squirrel excluders also have their place, however are only used in instances where trapping is not a viable option. If weather conditions do not permit trapping, the area or angle is not safely accessible or will not support a trap or the homeowner simply doesn’t want the animals trapped, a squirrel excluder can be placed so that no squirrels are physically captured or handled.