Yes, squirrels can provide endless entertainment for us and the pets. They have been doing it for ages, and they seem to enjoy it. However, the fun stops when they start stealing bird food, invading the attic and causing havoc to our vegetable gardens.
The squirrels can chew on the wooden structural supports, weakening them and sometimes even bringing them down. They can also carry parasites such as ticks, fleas, and roundworms. If you are not careful, squirrels can carry diseases.
About the Squirrels
There are over 200 squirrels scattered all over the world with sizes ranging from a 5-inch pygmy from Africa to giant squirrels from India. The tree adult varieties are lone rangers, but they can come together during the cold months. Some types like the prairie dogs can form large colonies, sometimes made up of millions of them.
What do Squirrels Eat?
The tree squirrels prefer fruits, seeds, and nuts. However, they are also omnivorous and will feed on insects, animal carcasses, and even bird eggs.
They absolutely love fruits though. As a result, if your yard is full of fruit trees or other delicacies they enjoy, you may find the precious critters munching away.
Some of the fruits they are interested in include grapes, apples, kiwis, avocadoes, plums pitries and even citrus fruits. Berries are an absolute favorite and so too are strawberries and blackberries.
Do People Eat Squirrels?
Squirrels are also an important food source, even in the United States – even though the squirrel delicacy has fallen out of favor in the country. You may find squirrel meat dishes in some places around the world, and it is a favorite delicacy for some.
But it’s not only the humans that seem to enjoy the delicacy. Squirrels are good prey to hawks, snakes, owls, and coyotes.
So why Get Rid of Squirrels?
Compared to other rodents like rats and mice, the squirrels are not very dirty. They are not quite unpleasant, well at least like the others from the family of rodents. But why should you get rid of these little cute, entertaining animals?
Well, a squirrel invasion can make your life a living hell when they cause chaos all over the property. For example, these little rascals know how to use their teeth on electrical lines, and are responsible for hundreds of outages all over the United States, within the last three decades. A good example is the NASDAQ outage in 1994 that shut down trading for a short period.
The squirrels can gnaw on the electrical lines, causing outages and losses in the process. They can also create a significant amount of noise when they inhabit our houses, making everyone uncomfortable including the pets.
Squirrel Control Methods – Traps, Repellants and More
- Trapping: trapping and releasing these entertaining rodents, and releasing them, is among the most humane methods of removing them from the property. However, you will have first to eliminate all sources of food from the vicinity and locate the trap where they frequent.You will then need to release it about five miles away from your home, or it will find its way back to the attic. Repair and close all the entry points so that they will not have any access should they find their way back – don’t make it easy for them.
- Preventing Easy Access: The landscape within your home should not make squirrel entry into your home easy. For example, remove all overhanging branches along your roof’s line, and relocate any firewood arranged against the wall. Inspect and repair all cracks and crevices on the foundation wall.You may also need to install wire mesh in gutters and drains to prevent squirrels from having easy access to your home. You can as well install metal collars that at least 2ft wide on trees and electrical poles.
- Repelling: alternatively, you can purchase squirrel repelling products and cause them to flee from your property. The repellents can either be in the granulated form or liquid form, either way, they function the same.You can also use a DIY repellent such as apple cider vinegar which has a strong unpleasant smell. Surprisingly, you are not the only person that hates the smell; squirrels also do. Spraying some of it around the property will keep them out.And if the apple cider vinegar is too unpleasant, and it keeps you, as well as, the squirrels away, then you turn to the pleasant smelling mint. Plant a few mints in the garden, and it will keep the critters from it.
- Limiting their Food Sources: it’s not that squirrels love your company so much, or that they like entertaining you. Squirrels invade your property and living spaces in search of food. And if they are confident they can get a constant supply, they build a nest.Squirrels and other rodents will rummage through the trash can looking for food. Therefore, limit their access by making sure all garbage bins have a secure rid. Frequently wash the trash can to remove food remains and odors that easily attract rodents.Put fruits, meats and other odorous waste in double bags before throwing it in the trash can. And if you have any plants that produce fruits, you will need to frequently and diligently rake all fallen fruits not to invite squirrels to hang around your yard.Don’t leave any pet food unattended. Remove it once your pets have their fill. Ensure that all bird feeders are in hard-to-reach places or install squirrel-proof feeders.
Squirrels will not have any reason to break into the basement or attic if it is spotless, and there is no food for them to steal. Therefore, clean these areas as a preventative measure.
- Remove any Water Sources: regardless of whether squirrels have easy access to food or not, they will need water. Act fast and eliminate any chances of standing water on your property. Inspect your property for possible water pooling after the rains. Fill up the dips and holes to keep water off and make sure that no landscaping décor pools water. Pots and planters can easily hold water, but you can remedy the situation by drilling holes beneath them.
- Getting a Pest Control Specialist: even when you notice several visual cues, sounds, and holes, you may need to acquire the services of a pest control specialist. Remember that squirrels may bring along diseases and pests into your home and specialists have all the right tools to handle them.