Squirrels in the Attic of Richmond Homes

Are you having problems getting rid of squirrels in the attic? Squirrels often take up residenc in attics, eaves, and walls of Richmond homes. SCritter Control of Richmond's Wildlife Technicians are ready to remove the squirrels from your attic, as well as repairs the area(s) where they are entering your home. 

Weather it's squirrel in attic, squirrel in eaves, squirrel, trapping, squirrel in house, Critter Control of Richmond is ready to solve your squirrel problems. Give Critter Control of Richmond a call today!

 

EASTERN GRAY SQUIRREL

 

Biology and Habits

                Gray squirrels are active during the day, especially in the early morning and evening.  These rodents feed on a great variety of nuts, seeds, fruits, and other vegetation.  They breed in late December – January and (sometimes) again in June.  A 42-45 day gestation is followed by the birth of two to four young.  Young squirrels are weaned at 10-12 weeks old and begin to leave the den to find solid food.  At 15-16 weeks old, the mother squirrel forcibly drives her young out of her territory, and they must fend for themselves.

The stick and leaf nests built by gray squirrels are a common sight, and many squirrels are content to live in such nests.  Whenever possible, however, an adult female squirrel will seek out a secure cavity to use to raise her young.  Mother squirrels instinctively know that their young will be safer from raccoons, hawks, and other predators if they are in an enclosed den rather than in an open leaf nest.  It is this behavior which most commonly causes conflicts between people and squirrels.  A female squirrel will readily chew a hole to gain access to attics, dormers, eaves, and other such voids.  The attic (etc.) is then used as a den to raise her young.  Squirrels are territorial and females aggressively defend their dens against other squirrels (except, of course, her dependent young).  Gray squirrel dens are strictly living spaces, and squirrels must go out daily for food.  Once out, it is not uncommon for gray squirrels to spend all day outside, only returning to the attic to sleep at night.  Gray squirrels do not store any food inside the den; all stored food is buried outside.

 

Damage and Hazards

                Gray squirrels should be removed from buildings as soon as possible.  Damage tends to escalate over time.  It is not uncommon for squirrels to chew attic wiring.  They may also make holes in the roof, fascia, etc., such that water leaks into the building.  They may chew on items stored in the attic, soft ducts, and insulation, especially around pipes.  They may scratch holes through the drywall of ceilings or walls.  (Once they see that this leads into the house, they almost always stop.)  The longer the squirrels stay in the attic, the more of their scent they leave behind.  The more squirrel scent that is present, the more den seeking squirrels in the future will be encouraged to try to get back in.  (We have found no consistently effective way to counter this scent issue.)

 

Control

                First, all squirrels which are using the building as a den must be captured and removed.  Once the building is positively squirrel-free, all squirrel entry ways into it are secured.  Exclusion should never be done while squirrels are actively using a hole.  Squirrels are very reluctant to give up a good den and will almost always chew a new hole to get back in.  Often the re-entry process is even more destructive than the creation of the original hole. Gray squirrels are most commonly trapped by placing baited cage traps just outside of the hole the squirrels are using.  Remember, no food is kept in the den; when squirrels are hungry they go outside to find food.  In fact, traps set inside attics are seldom effective for catching gray squirrels.  Alternately, a trap can be mounted over the hole which kills the squirrel as he tries to pass through it.  These traps usually kill very quickly, but not in every case.  Many wildlife biologists consider this method to be more humane than live trapping since being confined in a cage and then being released into unfamiliar territory is very stressful on the squirrel.  Also, some squirrels are simply too cautious to enter a cage trap.  Poisons are illegal and usually ineffective anyway.  Repellents such as mothballs, owl decoys, ultrasonic devices, etc. are rarely effective.

 

Management

                Once gray squirrels have been removed from a building, a number of steps can be taken to discourage (but not completely prevent) future entry.  Soft, rotted, or damaged boards or roofs should be repaired.  Any small gaps left during construction, such as where two roofs meet, or at the corners of dormer windows should be closed.  Louvered attic vents and roof vents should be re-screened with steel mesh.  All chimneys should be capped with quality stainless steel chimney caps since squirrels may come down chimneys.  It should be understood, however, that completely squirrel proofing a house is virtually impossible.  Really determined squirrels can chew through any wood, aluminum, or composite shingle covered areas. 

 

Critter Control of Richmond provides service to the following cities:

Ashland | Chester | Chesterfield | Colonial Heights | Glen Allen | Henrico

Highland Springs | Hopewell | Manakin Sabot | Mechanicsville | Midlothian

Moseley | Petersburg  | Powhatan | Richmond | Sandston | Varina 

Call to schedule your home inspection