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Squirrels may not produce the "eek!" factor that mice and rats do, but as rodents, they pose essentially the same problems for homeowners. This means chewing on piping and wires (potentially causing floods and fire), destroying siding and roofing, carrying fleas, ticks, and diseases, leaving behind foul-smelling waste, and making noise. Squirrel control is specialized work that involves trapping, removal, and in some cases, cleanup. A number of do-it-yourself squirrel control techniques are also available.
Squirrel Control Considerations
Keep the following points in mind when dealing with squirrels in your home:
Confirming a Squirrel Problem
Squirrels enter structures through gaps in building materials, holes made by birds and other animals, and holes they themselves create. Squirrels typically nest in tree hollows but attics and the inside of walls make excellent alternatives, especially during colder weather or at the time of setting up a nursery.
Signs that squirrels have taken up residence in your home include scratching, scurrying, and thumping noises, chewed holes in the home's exterior, droppings and caches of acorns/nuts in the attic, and stained and ruined insulation.
Professional Squirrel Removal
Successfully dealing with squirrels in the home involves not only evicting the critters, but also keeping them from coming back. Squirrels have scent glands in their feet that leave pheromone trails for other squirrels to follow. Once the animals are removed, which is usually done by installing one-way traps, all potential entry points must be sealed up. This involves a thorough structural inspection both at the roof line (from a ladder) and inside the attic. Squirrel litter removal is another aspect of exclusion. If babies are left inside and the mother is sealed out, she will do whatever is necessary (read: making new holes) to get back to her young.
DIY Squirrel Removal
Homeowners can purchase squirrel traps for removal and seal all holes, gaps, and cracks that might permit squirrels access. Of course, once you trap a squirrel, you'll also have to release it, and if you don't do a thorough enough exclusion jobs the animals might very well move back in.
Squirrel deterrents such as moth balls, predator urine, ammonia, flashing lights, and high-frequency sound emitters seem to be old wives' tales rather than effective solutions. Squirrel repellent spray is designed to keep squirrels out of birdfeeders and gardens. Eliminating squirrel food sources is a preemptive method of keeping them out of homes. Poisoning a squirrel will eliminate the animal but produce a foul-smelling corpse.
Squirrel Removal Average Costs
- A professional might charge an initial fee of $100 to $250 for an inspection/evaluation. This cost is often rolled into the total price of squirrel removal, which can run upwards of $1,000 or more for the trapping of several animals as well as exclusion. In many cases, however, squirrel control costs $500 or less.
- The actual cost depends on the number of squirrels, how much cleanup (if any) is required, the number of service trips (some pros charge $45-$85 each time they check traps), and your location. Check with individual companies to find out how charges are determined.
- Squirrel traps run $20 to $100. Larger traps with multiple animal capacities are at the higher end of the price spectrum. Several traps may be needed to deal with a sizeable squirrel population.
- Squirrel repellent costs $15 to $25 per 16-32 oz. bottle.