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7 Squirrel Control Tips That Actually Work

Tip 1 - Are The Squirrels Inside or Out?

It sounds bizarre even to say this because you would surely know you have them indoors, right?

The fastest way to know what is up there is to look, but some people don't have a ladder, a torch or even the bravery to look up into a loft, especially one they think could be full of angry squirrels!

Luckily, squirrels rarely attack humans, but to be safe, open a loft hatch and leave for a few moments so as not to startle and panic a squirrel that might be nesting close to the access point or hatch.

Sometimes, just the presence of a person in the loft hatch will send the rodents running, unless they are protecting young. A perfect outcome unless they aren't there. To be sure, simply place a few pieces of dark chocolate by the loft hatch and leave for a few days to see if it's been eaten.

Chocolate or chocolate biscuits eaten in situ are indicative of mice, but if the chocolate or biscuits vanish entirely, then it could be time to consider rats or squirrels.

squirrel damage attic joists and insulation

Tip 2 - Rats or Squirrels?

Smell - If the attic stinks, you probably have rats, or if everything looks undisturbed you might have a squirrel.

Sounds - If the sounds are in the wall and in the attic, you almost certainly have rats.

Traps - If you want to check using lethal traps, always secure the trap in place with a piece of garden wire to avoid having a rodent running off and dying in agony over time somewhere in your attic. This is probably the most likely point you could get bitten - be careful.

If traps go off with nothing stuck inside - then large rats or more usually squirrels will be to blame. The rodents will have a sore head, but most will carry on regardless.

Tip 3 - Strobes & Ultrasonic Repellants

Oh, come on! If they worked that well I wouldn't have a job - right? Of course, if they did work, I would probably never be called, so the jury is out on this one.

This is not to say we should not try these devices, because once professional pest controllers are instructed to get rid of rodents and vermin, they are duty-bound to destroy any trapped animal with lethal force.

Non-lethal forms of control help us to be as humane as we possibly can, after all, exclusion is the most humane form of control.

gutter brush coil

Tip 4 - Changing The Environment

Wild animals are incredibly competitive and even small changes in the availability of food, water and shelter sometimes solve the problem by default. Look at your garden and those of the neighbours. Who is feeding birds, squirrels, foxes and badgers, etc?

It's common to find squirrels nesting or foraging in an area because they have reliable food and shelter supplied by you or even your neighbours. This is the lastIf this fails, then lethal control is all that is left.

Consider how rodents are getting up to your roof. Branches and climbing plants cost very little to cut back, making access onto your roof far more difficult.

squirrel proofing roof

Tip 5 - Strong Odours

Mothballs and even the scent blocks used in urinals have been used to frighten squirrels away. We recommend that you also try products like peppermint oil, tea-tree oil and even space sprays used for deodorising.

Always take your time and read the label of products because spraying into a confined space will often cause the spray to blow back out of the loft and all over you. At best you will have a sore throat, and smell weird.

For most people, this is the moment when they begin to decide if amatuer control is right for them.

You should also consider if bats or other animals are present.

squirrel damage roof

Tip 6 - Roof Repairs, Electrics & Remediation

Roof repairs are expensive. Remediation of lofts, attics, crawl spaces, wiring and cables van cost thousands. From a practical point of view remediation and roof repairs are fairly generic to repair. By contrast, the most commonly overlooked issue is the safety of the electrical system.

If your property has old wire fuses, you could be at a considerable risk of fire. Any property with rodents in its structure should have electrical components upgraded and the system assessed by a professional electrician at the earliest possible convenience.

Tip 7 - Who Pays For It?

So who is responsible? Is it the landlord, the tenant, the buildings insurance or is it just bad luck? From experience, we see it's all about the insurance companies.

Questions from here, you might want to ask might include factors such as neighbours, weather, neglect of the property, etc.

From here you can do a pretty outstanding job of getting squirrels to go and live elsewhere. If your best efforts fail and you would like us to get rid of the squirrels for you, we would be delighted to help.

More Squirrel Facts and Information

Your roof with its abundance of lovely, warm loft insulation - perfect for nesting - is the primary point of focus and entry for squirrels.

Squirrels climb almost anything they can get their claws into or compress themselves against and around. These additional climbing opportunities include drain pipes, satellite cables, aerial cables, soil stacks and fences together with overhead power and phone lines!

Overhanging tree branches or climbing plants are the most common routes, although walls with highly textures surfaces are also elementary for determined squirrels to climb before entering your loft, attics and crawl spaces through holes in fascia boards, soffit boards and lead flashing.

Properties with existing gaps and holes in and around the roof that the squirrels can quickly enlarge will always be preferable. Homes with undulating tiles with high ridges and more significant gaps for the squirrels to squeeze through seem to be more at risk of infestation.

Properties that are older, also seem to be preferred, for a couple of reasons. Firstly not all loft hatches in older properties are easy to fit through, so the squirrels are rarely disturbed. Secondly, timber is the primary material used for fascia and soffit boards.

Timber is rarely maintained as it should be and rotting wood is easy to chew through.

A good supply of fresh drinking water is another resource that squirrels will value. Gutters that have not been adequately maintained quickly fill with moss and leaves that act as a substrate for plants to grow, trapping water in small pools, ideal for drinking.

Clearly, we are building a picture of bliss for our squirrels: fresh water, easy access, warm roof cavities, and an insulated bed of loft insulation - Perfect!

What Are Squirrel Traps?

Squirrel traps come in many forms that include: the cage or the break-neck. The cage trap directly captures the squirrel that then needs to be humanely killed. The break-neck trap does precisely what it says.

The challenge is choosing which is the right option in each situation. The traps don't always deploy as expected, so on the rare occasion a squirrel is trapped by a limb or its tail, it will inevitably suffer, and this cannot always be avoided.

Can You Poison Squirrels?

Only one type of poison exists for legally poisoning squirrels in the UK and is for professional use only.

It's worth noting that poisons can often leave the squirrel dead somewhere inaccessible where it will likely rot and stink. The horrendous smell will often coincide with maggots falling through light fittings and a plague of flies. This is why trapping is a more popular option.

Can You Shoot Squirrels?

The shooting of grey squirrels is something we are equipped to tackle and where required, offer a service that compliments our other methods of control.

Shooting squirrels is a last resort because it is rarely a viable or straightforward process to ensure this is carried out legally and humanely where the squirrels are within a residential building or public area.

Humane Squirrel Control - The Alternatives

Shooting, trapping and poisoning grey squirrels has its place, but the very best option is to have the roof proofed to ensure that squirrels cannot enter the loft again. This option is far more costly than poison or trapping, but it is a complete solution that will pay for itself over many years.

The other point to be aware of is the damage already caused to your belongings, wiring, roofing felt, membrane and insulation. If left unresolved the squirrels can cause you thousands in damage that you will not be insured for.

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