an agile tree-dwelling rodent with a bushy tail, typically feeding on nuts and seeds. • Family Sciuridae: several genera, in particular Sciurus, and numerous species.
• a related rodent of this family ( see ground squirrel , flying squirrel
For those of you who love squirrels there’s the definition straight from ol Webster himself. Now I don’t hate squirrels but I dang sure don’t want them hanging around my home and wanting to get into my attic. As rodents do, squirrels have the habit of constantly gnawing in order to grind or shave their teeth so they do not become to long and therefore unusable. This can be a problem in your attic if they chew on electrical wires. They say 30% or so of house fires are caused by rodents and I’m sure the squirrel has the lions share of that.
As with any pest they are attracted to our homes for one of 3 reasons. 1. Shelter 2. Food 3. Water. If you can eliminate anyone of these you’ll reduce the pest ‘pressure’ which in turn lessens the chance of infestation.
#1. Shelter Your home can provide a wonderful warm place for squirrels and the attic is where you’ll mostly find them.To prevent entry you must inspect periodically around the eaves and soffits for any loose coverings, chewed holes or any gaps that they can use to gain entry. Almost nothing is out of reach for this agile climber. Keeping up with the repair of the home before they get in is so much better than trying to get them out after.
#2. Food Squirrels eat things like nuts and seeds which trees provide so there isn’t a whole lot you can do about that. One area however that squirrels are masters at getting to is your bird feeders. I have seen hundreds of different types of deterrents and all but a few work over the long haul. Moving your feeder away from the home is great but it sort of defeats the purpose. Recently Isaw a feeder that allows the birds to feed but when the weightier squirrel jumps on, the decorative wire frame slides down and seals the holes up so they cannot feed. When they jump off, the spring loaded frame pops back up and the widows open. Ingenious! You can get this type of feeder at any big box store and so far I have yet to see the squirrels beat it. Make sure to keep the ground underneath the feeder raked up however, fallen seed attracts them just as easily as well as ants and other pests-like those other kinds of rats.
#3 Water Again, very difficult to eliminate all of it since they can find it in so many places. Do the best you can with keeping your gutters clean so the water doesn’t back up and provide a source but that’s about it.
If squirrels do make it into your attic you have two choices. You can attempt to trap them alive which is difficult or use rat snap traps and eliminate them that way. I warn you, they are very crafty and you’ll need to be ready for some work. Once they are gone seal up the entry with heavy hardware cloth or other suitable materials to keep any others out. We all love nature but having it run wild in our homes is taking things a bit to far, don’t you think.
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