This week we’re looking at squirrels. Here’s our pointers for checking whether you have a squirrel problem:
Noise – scratching, rustling in attic and wall cavities
Urine – a smelly loft could indicate a squirrel infestation has set in
Doppings – pest controllers can tell the difference between rat, mice and squirrel droppings for you
Damage to your property – holes in vents; torn insulation; problems with electrical wires
Other squirrels in the vicinity – near roofs or high fences
Evidence in the garden – bird feeders knocked over, damaged or disturbed or trees stripped of bark
Gnaw marks on ceilings or woodwork.
Contaminated cold water tanks and loft spaces. Stripped insulation on electrical wiring.
PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE
What can you do to avoid a squirrel problem in your home or business?
Block gaps and entrance holes
Trim trees back especially over hanging branches
Seal entry points
Remove items stacked against the side of the property
Trim dense ivy
Squirrels are fairly strong for their size and also persistent. If the proofing is not secure, then the squirrels may be able to pull it out!
For tree protection, close fitting metal sleeves can protect them from the strong rodent incisors.
A bit about squirrels:
Grey squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis) are invasive pests, not native to the UK.
Because grey squirrels are an invasive pest species, it is against the law to re-release a grey squirrel if it’s been caught alive. This means that any person who catches a grey squirrel alive is legally obliged to humanely dispatch it. As their numbers have increased in the UK, so has the damage they cause. This is where professional pest control comes in.
The grey squirrel is recognised as being in the top worst 100 invasive pest species in the world by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Here in Britain and Europe, is classed as an Invasive Alien Species (IAS) which is any animal that is not native to the UK.
3 Reasons to Control Grey Squirrels:
Potential to damage to your home, business and health
The destruction of UK forests
The impact on our native wildlife, in particular the red squirrel
DID YOU KNOW?
Squirrels are rodents, which means they need to gnaw to wear down their continuously growing incisors. They can, and do, cause significant damage to property including pipes, insulation and electrical cables.
Damage to the Environment
Squirrels strip bark at the base of trees which causes them to weaken and eventually to die. They also damage orchards and gardens, destroying bulbs and other plant life.
They wreak havoc on historic and ancient woodlands. The European Squirrel Initiative (ESI) point out that around 12% of England is covered by trees and this is set to rise. ESI are concerned, unless something is done, there will be no oak, beech, or sweet chestnut mature trees left in the years to come.
Threat to Native Wildlife
Grey squirrels also raid birds’ nests to prey on eggs and fledglings (figures from the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust suggest fledgling rates reduced by 15% due to predation by grey squirrels). They eat tree nuts and recently sown seeds depriving native wildlife of food sources.
The grey squirrel was deliberately introduced to England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland from North America in the Victorian era. Since then, it’s colonised 90% of England and Wales and is becoming a problem in Scotland.
Grey squirrels are responsible for the decline in native red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) numbers. The Wildlife Trusts estimates there are only around 140,000 native red squirrels left in the UK, compared to 2.5 million grey squirrels.
Grey squirrels can transmit the squirrelpox virus to red squirrels, to which they themselves are immune but red squirrels are not. Once a red squirrel has squirrelpox, it’ll usually die of dehydration within 2 weeks.
If you have a problem with Squirrels give us a call for Advice and Solutions on 01981 241334