Squirrels are adorable, aren't they? Who doesn't love to sit and watch squirrels playing in the backyard? You may even be the kind of person who likes to put nuts out for them so they will come in close. We don't blame you. Squirrels are amazing animals. But you should consider the dangers of a squirrel infestation and the threat squirrels can present in your Portland yard. It may make you think twice about encouraging them.
Why are squirrels bad to have around?
1. Squirrels are rodents.
You may not look at a squirrel as you might a big, fat rat or a sneaky little mouse but squirrels are rodents. That means you can expect them to act like rodents. When they come into your yard, they will chew on things. One of the things they tend to damage often is screens on doors and windows. If you have holes in your screens, you can probably blame squirrels for them. Squirrels also chew through eaves, fascia and soffits to get into attic spaces. They can be very destructive under the right circumstances.
2. Squirrels bring dangerous parasites into your yard.
There is a growing concern about ticks in New England and Lyme disease cases have doubled in the last decade. In our Portland service areas, these scary little arachnids keep us busy. One reason they are such a threat is that rodents and other wild animals bring them into our yards. The more common an animal is in your yard, the more of a threat it is. Unfortunately, gray squirrels are extremely common. When you see them, remember that they're continually being exposed to tick populations around your property and a single squirrel can have more than 100 seed ticks on its body.
3. Squirrel do damage inside attic spaces.
When a squirrel finds a way into your home, there are a few things you can expect them to do.
- Squirrels leave their feces everywhere. A wild squirrel is not housebroken. It won't think twice about leaving its waste inside your home.
- Squirrels soak attic spaces with their urine. This can be a source of disease and it can be a serious mess to clean up.
- Squirrels damage stored items. If you have stored furniture and items in boxes, these can be destroyed by squirrels. They can contaminate them with their waste and they can also chew holes in them.
- Squirrels make a racket up there. One of the first things a homeowner notices are the annoying sounds squirrels make inside attic spaces. Squirrels are active during the day and the bumping, thumping and scraping can be very annoying. But look on the bright side. At least they're letting you know they're up there, so you can do something about them before they're able to do more damage.
- Squirrels chew on wires. If a squirrel chews through a live wire in your attic, it could spark a fire. While certainly rare, it is a real possibility.
How To Deal With a Squirrel
Okay. You have a squirrel in your attic. What do you do about it? Being a Mainer, your first thought, probably, is to deal with it yourself. We Mainers are self-reliant. But you should be aware that attempting to remove a squirrel on your own can be bad.
- Squirrels are docile animals but they can, and do, attack when they feel threatened or when they are protecting young. And it might not seem like it, but a squirrel can be a dangerous opponent.
- A scared squirrel can go crazy trying to escape. This can lead it to knock things over and scratch things up. If you lead a squirrel down into your home, be aware that it is highly likely that you'll have a broken lamp or two before leading it out of your home.
- Removing a squirrel is only part of the job. Once the squirrel is out, there are some things to consider, such as wildlife-proofing, wildlife-exclusion and addressing contamination and secondary pest threats.
Wildlife Control in Southern Maine
When squirrels and other wildlife present a threat, let Big Blue Bug Solutions help. We don't just deal with bugs. We take care of all the pests that "bug" you, and our wildlife control specialists have the training and experience to get the results you're looking for. Reach out to us today for a free wildlife inspection. We're here to help.