We’ve all smiled during woodland walks when a grey squirrel pops their head around a tree, or scampers through the leaves beside us; the cute creatures of the countryside.
This is all well and good when we’re strolling through their world, but when they make their home in ours, these pests aren’t so sweet.
Pushing the UK’s native red squirrel to near extinction, the American grey squirrel, introduced into the UK during the late 19th century, is not an ideal lodger.
Impressive climbers, and able to leap more than 6 metres, squirrels make a habit of entering our loft spaces, where they wreak havoc, hell-bent on destruction. Tarzan-ing from tree branches and scaling washing lines – if there’s a way inside the home, they’ll find it.
A squirrel problem in your home could cost you thousands of pounds in damages alone.
Historically, we’ve known entire wiring systems destroyed and posing huge risk to the lives of residents, water piping rendered useless and causing water damage due to the little blighters gnawing through the pipes, and even entire ceilings (weakened by squirrel damage) caving-in and collapsing.
See! Destructive little hell raisers, and what’s more, many home insurance policies don’t cover pest damage. It’s like the squirrels know!
Contrary to popular belief, grey squirrels don’t hibernate in the winter, they enter our homes on the hunt for a warm and dry place to nest and breed. Your home could be their little love shack.
Reproducing up to 2 times a year, and with each female producing between 1-5 offspring each time, if you’ve got a squirrel problem in your home, act quickly.
What are the signs of squirrel activity in my home?
Suspect you’ve got a pesty house mate? If you recognise any number of these signs, it’s likely you’ve got a furry lodger.
Most will be alerted to their unfortunate squirrelly squatter by their loud scratching, gnawing and even the sound of them running from one side of the loft to the other.
Other clear signs of squirrel activity are spotting their dropping, damage to loft insulation and wiring, and holes in house siding.
If your property has a garden, you may notice their destruction carries over to this area too, while they forage for things to take back inside the home.
Bark gnawed from trees, damaged flower beds and plants, holes in garden lawns (where they hide the nuts they’ve foraged), and nests in nearby trees, are all tell-tale signs of a squirrel problem across your property.
Argh! How do I keep them out of the house?
When it comes to preventing squirrels from entering your home, the first step, as with most pests, is to prevent them access; shut the blighters out!
For these adept climbers, tree branches as far away as 8 feet from the home, can provide ample opportunity for squirrels to find their way into your home.
Trim all tree branches around the property, and move cable and washing lines, as these are also easily used to gain access by these almost acrobatic pests.
Often, there are areas of our homes that hide gaps we didn’t know were there, providing doorways to pests. It only takes a gap of a few inches, and you could have yourself a squirrely squatter. Survey your home for these gaps and tend to repairs.
The second step to deter squirrels from shacking up in your home, is one we suggest frequently in our blogs; starve the nasties!
Famously fond of feasting on nuts, they also enjoy a diet of fruits, plant buds and fungi, which can make removing their food sources difficult. Your beautiful fruit tree might just cause you a pesty problem!
Be sure to remove bird seeds and fat balls – while you might miss the tweeting of birds, this will prevent you from unknowingly welcoming squirrels to your home, with a beckoning feast.
They’re already here – How do I get them out of the house?
It can be very difficult to tackle a squirrel problem alone, these furry horrors are protective, and at times vicious and indiscriminate pests.
These creatures have even been known to eat their own young when trapped in lofts with no food. So, if you’re going to attempt to treat the problem alone, be careful.
It’s also important to know that once caught, it is illegal to return a squirrel back into their wild environment, but they must also be killed humanely. An inhumane killing could result in legal action and considerable fines.
With this in mind, you’ll likely save time, money and stress by calling Key West. We battle this pest regularly, and can offer fast and effective treatments, at an affordable price.
Should you want to go-it alone, there are a number of “frightening devices” available on the market to explore.
These devices feature motion censor lights, and white noise sound triggers that repel squirrels from the area. Pet owners should be aware that these devices can upset cats, dogs and other domesticated animals.
Traps are also available, but with the strong guidelines surrounding controlling this pest, we can’t advise residents try trapping alone. It will likely be quicker and cheaper than you thought, to call in Key West!