Squirrels around the house can be a blessing or a curse. It all depends on whether or not the squirrel has made it to your attic.
A few years ago, my uncle had a squirrel stuck in his house. From then on, he referred to squirrels as “rats with good public relations.”
A squirrel trapped in an attic can cause a lot of damage in a short amount of time. Many times squirrels will gnaw through the siding or chew on wiring, causing a fire hazard. If that was not enough, they might be considered a health hazard because of fleas, ticks and feces.
Preventative maintenance of your home is the best way to keep squirrels from becoming your roommate.
Squirrels are rodent-like, which means they can fit through very small holes. Look around the house and plug up all the holes you can find, even the smallest ones.
If the hole cannot be plugged, use welded-wire mesh screen or hardware cloth to prevent entry. A good place for using hardware cloth is at the basement vents along the foundation of your home.
Next, remove all branches close to the roofline. Guards can be placed around trees adjacent to the house, but they are ineffective if nearby trees are unguarded.
Then, think about installing 2-foot lengths of plastic pipe on the wires coming to the house. When the squirrels access the wires and walk on the pipes, they will fall off as the pipe rotates.
Finally, create a habitat on your property by installing nest boxes. Crafting a nest among the trees will entice the critters to leave your home alone.
Now, if you have a squirrel in the house, remove the animal before plugging entrance and exit holes.
The best way to trap a squirrel is to use a cage-trap baited with peanut butter. You might want to continue using a trap after you think all of the visitors have been removed and the holes have been plugged. This will ensure you are rodent-free.
Traps should be placed perpendicular to a wall. Placing bricks around the end of the trap where the bait is located will not only keep the trap from being moved but encourage the squirrel to go through the open end for the bait.
Give these tips a try and hopefully you will be free from squirrels from here on out.
Michael Wheeler is county extension coordinator for the UGA Cooperative Extension office in Hall County. You can contact him at 770-535-8293, www.hallcounty.org/extension. His column appears weekly and on gainesvilletimes.com/life.