Squirrels are found in great numbers throughout the United States, and are common home invaders throughout the year. The squirrel family includes tree squirrels, ground squirrels, and flying squirrels. In our areas, the most commonly found squirrel species are the Eastern Gray Squirrel, the Fox Squirrel, and the Southern Flying Squirrel.
Squirrels live in almost every habitat - ranging from rain forests to semi-arid deserts. The diet of a squirrel is primarily made up of seeds and nuts, but squirells are also known to feed on insects and other small animals. Most species of squirrels live and nest in the cavities of trees (primarily in old hardwood trees, and longleaf pines). The Fox Squirrel is a solitary and asocial creature, but flying squirrels are known to roost and nest in large quantities – especially when overwintering.
Squirrels typically breed one to two times a year with litter sizes between one and six. Most squirrels will die before reaching the age of one, however the ones that do become adults typically live up to five years, and in some isolated cases even longer.
The fox squirrel is mainly active during the day for up to 14 hours while the flying squirrel is nocturnal. The most distinctive feature of the fox squirrel is its large size – roughly twice as big as the gray squirrel – and its variety of colors, from red to gray to black. The flying squirrel is notable for its small size and flap of loose skin that runs from its wrist to ankles allowing it to glide.
Attics, soffits, and other roofing elements make ideal places for squirrels to nest. Attics are high enough off the ground to provide safety from predators, and the enclosures provide shelter from harsh elements and cold weather. Squirrels can fit through a hole as small as two inches, and with their strong teeth can create openings in wood, vinyl, and sheeting material.
Damage caused by squirrels
Squirrels can cause extensive damage in attics, especially if left undisturbed through multiple breeding cycles. With their sharp teeth, squirrels will gnaw on electrical wires, pvc piping, and structural components in an attic to gain access to the outside. They can also destroy existing insulation, and a growing population of squirrels will expand the problem to multiple areas of a home.
Outside of the home, squirrels can chew through roof shingles, damage siding and trim, and obstruct plumbing/piping elements that exit a home.
Additionally, the urine and droppings that squirrels leave behind can have a particularly off-putting smell, and in addition to damaging insulation, excessive urine can even stain or damage ceilings and walls.
Terminix Squirrel Control and Removal
The most important step to getting rid of squirrels in a structure is to do a thorough inspection. Squirrels commonly inhabit attics, but can also be found in chimneys, crawlspaces, or even inside a home. A proper inspection will reveal potential entry points as well as any areas that have been damaged by squirrels, including electrical wiring and structural supports.
At Terminix we have a multi-tiered approach:
Locate squirrel entry and exit points, place traps in a manner where the squirrels will be caught without causing more damage to your home
After the removal of squirrels, permanently seal off all entry points to prevent against future re-entry
Disinfect and clean all areas of the structure contaminated with squirrel urine or droppings, including the removal and replacement of insulation
Perform routine inspections and maintenance on an annual basis to ensure no future problems
Call Terminix today at 1-800-BUGS-911 to schedule a free squirrel inspection.