Squirrels may be furry and cute, but when they start trespassing into your home and yard, they can do a whole lot of damage. Here’s how to keep them out.
It is always nice to see squirrels roaming around parks. After all, these acorn-nibbling critters are just too charming. However, for some homeowners, squirrels can be a real pain. Once they get into the yard or garden or even inside the house, they can cause expensive damage, the same way as rats do.
They can run along electricity lines and short out transformers. They wreak havoc on yards, burying their nuts and digging them out later. Then, they raid bird feeders and chew on plants, trees and shrubs. Even worse, when they get inside the house, they not only carry diseases that may be transmitted to humans. They tend to chew on electrical wiring, which may result to a house fire. So what should you do when squirrels start infesting your property? Here are some solutions worth a try.
Know if you really have a squirrel problem
Before you do any drastic measure, it is recommended that you determine first if you really are dealing with squirrels. As mentioned earlier, these little critters work like rats so you can never be too sure which between the two you are dealing with.
So how do you know if you have a squirrel problem? It is not difficult to tell. As visible creatures, squirrels are active during day time, so you will likely see them running on your yard. You may also hear them scrabbling around in the early morning and at dusk, if they are inside your attic. It is also a good idea to check the exterior of your house, especially the eaves, soffits and overhangs of your roof. Look for small spaces where squirrels can slip into and also go into the attic to see if there are signs of nesting and food. Chew on decks, shutters and window casings is also a clear sign of a squirrel problem.
Steps to prevent squirrels
As one adage goes ‘prevention is better than cure’ and this rings true with squirrels. If you want to make sure they will not cause trouble, then the best solution is to prevent them from accomplishing their purpose of damaging your property. There are several ways to do that.
Begin by trimming the branches of trees sitting next to your house. Squirrels are excellent climbers and the most common thing they will climb up to is a tree whose branches serve as bridges to your house. As a rule of thumb, cut back branches at least six feet away from your home’s roof. This distance is enough to discourage squirrels from leaping onto your roof.
Outfitting a two-foot-wide metal collar around trees and power lines at least six inches about the ground is another effective means to fend off squirrels from climbing to your roof. Use encircling wires with springs to hold the metal collar in place. As for electrical wires, consider covering the length with 2- to 3-inch diameter of lightweight plastic pipes. Since they will fit loosely on the wires, the pipes will spin whenever squirrels try to walk on them.
As mentioned earlier, squirrels love to dine on bird feeds. So if you keep a bird feeder in the yard, consider switching it for a feeder that is squirrel-proof. You also want to cover possible access points around your house with metal flashing or mesh. Before you plug the holes, though, ensure that there are no squirrels inside to avoid trapping any critter, which would only allow it to further access your house.
If squirrels are already a recurring problem, you can use different repellents to drive the critters away. Hot sauce is said to discourage squirrels from gnawing, so you may want to use pepper-based spray on your deck, window casing, eaves, soffits and overhangs among others. Sticky strips can also be applied around railings and downspouts to prevent squirrels from climbing them. For crawl areas like the attic, adding naphthalene balls may also fend off the furry critters from accessing the space.
Know that the use of a repellent is just a temporary fix. So eventually, squirrels will find a way to climb trees and power lines and access your house. If you cannot get them out of your house, trapping could be the last resort. If you will be taking this approach, though, you first need to get a handle of the local laws regarding trapping to ensure that you will be doing the right method. Better yet, contact a wildlife-control company so they will be the one to deal with the loose squirrels in your property. This may entail a little expense, but it is the best way to ensure that trapping and relocating the squirrels are properly dealt with.