A wet winter isn’t just a hassle for human beings, it also causes disruption to wild animals and their habitats. One of the byproducts of a stormy few months is facing the possibility of an infestation if a home or property owner is not properly prepared and defended against these rodents.
You don’t need to have a kid on a baseball team to know that it’s been especially damp lately; read on for some insight into how a wet winter affects wild animals and your home.
How Storms Affect Rodents
After a storm, the natural habitats of rodents may be destroyed. This leaves rats and squirrels to seek an alternate shelter in order to find warmth and food. Usually, houses, barns, sheds and other buildings become common targets, especially those that have been damaged structurally by a storm.
With many access points, small rodents are able to enter property easily, cause damage within, and on some occasions, even pose a health risk.
How to Prevent Squirrel Infestations
Preventing squirrel infestations is chiefly about eliminating access points into your property. You can do so by taking the following precautions:
– Check for any vulnerable areas that could be potential access points at least once a month.
– Keep areas surrounding the house and the attic clean, removing any potential foodstuffs that could attract squirrels.
– Prune the trees close to the house, to prevent squirrels from jumping onto the roof.
– Check for openings into the attic and eaves of houses and buildings, and seal them with heavy 1/2-inch wire mesh or sheet metal.
– Make it more difficult for squirrels to traverse wires and cables leading into the building by installing lightweight plastic pipes onto the cables. As squirrels use the wires as private highways, the pipe rotates, causing the squirrel to lose balance and fall. These pipes should be in 2-foot sections, measuring 2 or 3 inches in diameter. Installation simply requires you to slit the pipe lengthwise, spreading it open over cables and placing it over the wire.
– Consider using chemical repellents, such as mothballs or moth crystals, which could act as temporary deterrents. Distribute 1 to 2 pounds evenly throughout the attic. You could also use ammonia-soaked rags, a popular folk remedy.
– Set traps, by using foods like apple, cracked corn, shelled pecans, peanut butter and sunflower seeds as bait, to catch squirrels that are attempting to enter the building. Some commonly used traps include No. 0 or 1 leg hold traps, box traps and cage traps. To avoid a smelly situation, you’ll want to check these traps often.
– As a last resort you could use small-caliber firearms to shoot squirrels, away from your home of course! Check with law enforcement agencies and wildlife conservation offices for proper procedures.
How to Remove Squirrels from the Attic
If squirrels have already entered your property and have taken up residence in your attic, there are several ways to remove them. Before you take any action, first check if there is a nest of squirrels with young. Humanely removing them will involve waiting a few weeks for the babies to grow old enough to leave with their mother, as they will not be able to survive without her.
Once that precaution has been taken, you can proceed with the following steps:
– Locate the entry points that squirrels use to enter your attic. Seal all but one entry point, so that they are forced to use just one.
– Next, one option is to trap the squirrels in order to remove them. Mount cage traps right against the point where they exit their nest to forage for food. Some available traps are body grip traps, repeating live cage traps and single animal live cage trap.
– Another option is to install one-way doors. These doors have a tension flap that allow the animal to exit, but not to enter. You’ll want to take care when installing these as it is important to place them in the correct direction.
– Using commercial repellents such as sprays can be effective as well. A non-toxic way would be to leave rags soaked in ammonia or apple cider vinegar in the attic, as the smell would be able to drive them away.
– Try making loud noises, like banging on the rafters or speaking loudly in the attic, which may scare them away. You could also leave a radio on in the attic around the clock, set to a particularly stimulating station. Installing a bright light in the attic all day and night will also serve a similar purpose.
To ensure a safe and hassle-free removal of squirrels, calling in a professional will prove to be the most effective, not to mention easiest, method. At Dugas, we handle pest removal in a safe, efficient and humane way. Get in touch with us today for assistance with your squirrel infestation issues.