We all must have seen squirrels roaming around here and there, and we all must have believed that all of them are the same, so let me tell you the truth; they are way too diverse. Probably the squirrel you saw in the countryside belongs to an entirely different species compared to the one you saw in your neighborhood. Before we find out how to deter squirrels from house,we should know these types of squirrels.
Types of Squirrels
The two most common broad groups are the ground squirrel and tree squirrels, which are found in places like houses, roadsides, parks, etc.
There are around 60 species of ground squirrels, and all of them share some features like they are earthly inhabitants who live and grow on land. They are long-bodied, have short legs, firm claws, tiny rounded ears, and a tail. They weigh between 25-30 ounces. These squirrels come in different colors like tawny and dark brown. Some of them are solid-colored, while some of them have stripes.
These squirrels will dig tunnels in areas like rocky outcrops, grassy pastures. They are also far more social than any other species as they form colonies and live together.Ground squirrels are mostly omnivorous, and their diet is rich in fungi, nuts, fruits, and seeds, but sometimes they eat insects and eggs too.
The other most common group is tree squirrels. As the name implies, these squirrels live on trees and do not dig tunnels. They make their nests in trees that are located in forests and urban areas. There are nearly 80 different species that come under one category of “tree squirrel.” These squirrels have a slender body with silky fur and a very bushy tail, they have large eyes, and their ears are very prominent.
Mostly all of them are bright rusty-colored, but some are also brown. Tree squirrels are most active in the morning as they are busy burying nuts for winters. They mostly prefer living on nut trees, pine trees, or even mangrove swamps. Pine squirrels are the most active among all tree squirrels as they can nest on any tree and are commonly seen around buildings.
All tree squirrels mostly eat hickory nuts, seeds, fruits, acorns, etc. Pine squirrels can also feed on fungi and bird eggs. The biggest difference between the two groups is that if you startle a ground squirrel, it will run towards its tunnel, whereas the tree squirrel will always run back towards a tree or any tall structure to seek refuge.
How To Deter Squirrels From House
When you look at a squirrel, you might get a pleasant feeling that “It’s a cute creature roaming around in my garden.” However, in reality, these squirrels can cause a considerable amount of damage.
To begin with, ground squirrelswould invade any space with grassy patches, and they can be your garden too. They will dig their burrows in a garden where they will rest, rear their offsprings, hibernate, and seek protection. The newly formed burrows are single tunnels. However, if these ground squirrels become old residents, they would make more complex branches. Some of their burrows can go up to 30 feet in length, which is huge!
Burrowing is a big issue because the gardeners cannot do their plantations as these squirrels will consume mostly all the food-bearing plants like nut plants. They will also damage plants beneath the surface as their tunneling system can dry out the roots of trees. That will eventually weaken the tree, and it can topple over in stormy weather. They will also nibble the sprinklers and plastic lines that are for irrigation purposes.
This is the damage they cause to an outdoor setup. However, when some of their tunnels are beneath houses, they cause even more structural damage, like cracks on the house’s foundation. So it can cost you hundreds and thousands of dollars.
Ground squirrels can be carriers of many harmful bacteria. They can cause fatigue, headaches, and, on the extreme end, diseases like “Rocky Mountain spotted fever.” They have been responsible for the “bubonic plague.”
Tree squirrels cause immense damage too. For example, a red squirrel will damage the plantation and dig small holes in the ground to store their food. Several households in the UK reported that these red squirrels make their nests indoors. Furthermore, they nibble wiring, which could cause a short circuit.
Grey squirrels are a major threat, too. They greatly damage tree health as they strip off the tree’s bark.
It is very important to understand the lifestyle/behavior of these squirrels so that they are managed accordingly. Even after some very obvious differences,many people are still unable to tell them apart. However, this is where the problem lies. It is very important to know the kind of squirrel you are dealing with.
These people want to get rid of these squirrels, but they lack knowledge about them. Therefore, it is much better to hire an expert who is well trained and experienced. There are multiple ways to deter squirrels by exposing them to the following:
Fumigate at least 20 inches deep a burrow. These techniques work best in the spring season because the soil is very moist, and it’s ideal for locking in gasses like aluminum phosphide. As compared to dry weather, the dry cracks are present in the soil, so it’s less strong.
Another plus point is that it’s their mating season during spring, so most of them die before giving birth. Before fumigating, it’s extremely important to know all instructions. They come with safety guidelines and restrictions.
Some fumigants must not leak in the environment as they can cause air pollution, and other non-targeted animals might become victims. When a hole is vacant,other animals like kit foxes or burrowing owls can take it over. Hence, make sure to check thoroughly before starting the fumigation process.
Another very efficient technique is to use gas cartridges that are injected inside active burrows. The very moment the cartridge is lit and fused inside, the burrow should be covered tightly with soil so that it doesn’t leak out. These cartridges are good enough to kill 2-3 adult ground squirrels. The next day makes sure to check for new burrows as it takes very little time for squirrels to make to entry points.
Pressurized Exhaust System
This can inject carbon monoxide into the burrow, but this also works best during the spring season.
These methods mentioned above work best in spring. However, many other methods can be used throughout the year, such as:
You can use their most favorite item to eat as bait like nuts/grains/seeds. So with the help of their favorite snack, you can lead them towards a trap. You can get different traps from the market, such as the conibear trap, box trap, or tunnel trap. You can only use a live catch trap if you fulfill certain requirements. The ground squirrel must be euthanized in a legally acceptable manner, either exposing them to carbon monoxide gas or shooting them.
Some anticoagulant rodenticides are legally permitted to use, for example,diphacinone. It should be spread across the bait station. Then, the squirrel must consume these multiple times to be poisoned by them. These anticoagulants come with an antidote that can reverse the effects of the poison. This makes this anticoagulant safe to use as this antidote can save the life of a non-targeted animal.
Make the Area Less Likable for Them
It’s important to keep your yards clean, which means you need to get rid of the dirt and rubbish like dead leaves, twigs as this attracts ground squirrels, and they see it as a safe spot to dig their tunnels and cover it with this dirt.
For tree squirrels, it’s easier to identify their presence and control them, so you need to stay very vigilant and take action if you frequently see them around your house. What you can do is:
Trim Your Trees
Trees that go up to the level of wires and extend till the windows/terraces should be trimmed and cut off from that area because trees give the squirrel access to other areas of the house.
You need to cover every hole in the trees as it is the perfect nesting spot for them. Also, make sure to look for holes and openings in your house, as even a tiny opening can serve as an entrance to your house. Cover using sheet metal wires and hardware because temporary solutions like stuffing cloth or newspaper won’t help.
You can use choker traps or tube-type traps on the roof or trees.
If you find a dead ground or tree squirrel, do not touch them as they may be carrying a lot of bacteria. Hence, make sure to wear a protective glove and then dispose of the squirrel in a plastic bag.
You must try out some of these methods. However, the best one would be to consult a wildlife removal specialist. That will enable you to get to the crux of the issue. In the meantime, take all the precautions we discussed.