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Squirrels At Elliott Pest Control, LLC
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Pests – Squirrels
Maine has three squirrels that can be pests: grey, red and flying. All members of the squirrel family except the flying squirrels are diurnal, which means they are active during the day–this is rare among wild mammals!
Squirrels are considered pests when they enter homes and buildings to nest; when they raid bird feeders; when they feed on gardens, trees, and landscape plantings; and when they dig holes in gardens and lawns to bury and retrieve food.
All Maine squirrels will chew through wood and light screening and work their way into your home. During cold Maine winters, squirrels love a warm attic. Once in your attic, squirrels can leave a horrible mess of urine, feces, torn insulation, and chewed electrical wires which can lead to fires.
Maine Grey Squirrel
Gray squirrels raid fruit and nut trees, and vegetable and flower gardens, where they eat both flower bulbs and buds. They are on the go throughout the year.
A Maine Eastern Grey Squirrel
Maine Red Squirrel
Red squirrels are often culprits inside homes, where they use insulation for nest building and sometimes chew electrical wiring.
A Maine Red Squirrel
Maine Northern Flying Squirrel
Flying squirrels are adorable nocturnal critters. They are quite common, but since they move around during the evening hours from dusk to about midnight, we don’t often see them. The Northern Flying squirrel is the larger of the two species of flying squirrels, the other being the Southern Flying Squirrel, and weighs around 4 ounces (which is about half the weight of the Maine Red Squirrel). These squirrels love Maine attics and Elliott Pest Control gets numerous calls during the winter months regarding exclusions.
A Maine Flying Squirrel
MANAGEMENT AND PREVENTION
The most common problem associated with squirrels is their ability to take up residence in people’s homes. They associate holes in eaves, soffits, and roofs with a tree cavity, their natural nests, and move right in. Once inside, they consider it theirs, and they can be very difficult to get rid of.
Squirrels will tear up insulation in an attic and use it to make a nest. They will also chew through electrical lines. If squirrels are in your dwelling or building, it’s usually because of an existing problem, such as a small hole in a soffit or eave. One could also have a rotted louver that enables them to chew through to gain access to your attic. Scratching, gnawing, and pitter-patter sounds are a sure clue that you have a squirrel problem.
Prevention is key to keeping squirrels, or any other animal, from taking up residence in your home or building. Keep trees and overhanging branches away from your structure. Make sure all parts of the exterior of your building are maintained, and repair any rotted or damaged areas of eaves and soffits. Also, make sure your roof is in good condition.
The best approach to take, if you have an infestation of squirrels, is to live trap them at their access point, if possible. Nail a live/box trap at the opening and bait it with peanut butter, nuts, apple slices, etc. If heights aren’t your thing, you can place the traps in the heavily traveled areas they are using to gain access. Once you’ve caught a squirrel, check to make sure there are no young or other squirrels inside your home.
It is critically important that you check for more than one squirrel before sealing up any opening. They are very excitable and will cause extensive damage if trapped inside. Also, no one wants to leave behind defenseless young in a nest. The young will most likely die, and the adults will try to gain access to the area by any means, leaving you with more damage than you had before you started.
Although mice are easily frightened by strange or unfamiliar noises, they quickly become accustomed to regularly repeated sounds. They are often found living in grain mills or factories and other noisy locations. Ultrasonic sounds, those above the range of human hearing, have minimal use in rodent control because they are directional and do not penetrate behind objects. Also, they lose their intensity quickly with distance. There is little evidence that the sound of any type will drive established mice or rats from buildings because they rapidly become accustomed to the sound.
Although cats, dogs, and other predators may kill mice, they do not give sufficient control in most circumstances. But, rodents may live in very close association with dogs and cats. Mice may obtain much of their diet from the pet’s dish or from what pets spill.
NOTE: Be sure the tree or shrub species can be pruned at the time you wish; e.g., do not prune oak between April 15 and September 15 because of the risk of oak wilt. Also since carpenter ants can travel from branches to lines and electrical wires and use them as a highway to buildings, branches that touch electrical lines or other wires should be trimmed. You should NOT trim those branches yourself; this trimming should be done by professionals.
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