Some of the most important squirrel control tips are not about how you can control squirrels. They are about how you can keep squirrels from controlling you. Here are ten tips for squirrel control that you need to know not just to get rid of squirrels for good, but to avoid injury or infection in the process.
1. Sometimes squirrels attack.
Most people enjoy the sight of squirrels, but most squirrels will bite people. One of the most popular urban legends in the United States, which may have its origins in fact, is the story of a man riding a motorcycle who slid off the road trying to avoid a squirrel. The squirrel looked stunned but not dead, so the motorcyclist put the squirrel in his pocket to carry it to a wildlife rescue center. The incensed squirrel woke up, climbed up the cyclist’s coat, and bit him on the ear, causing a second accident after which the man dispatched the squirrel to its eternal reward.
This story may or may not be factual, but it is a fact that squirrels defend themselves. If you are bitten by a squirrel, be sure to wash out the wound. You are not likely to catch an infection from a squirrel bite—they do not transmit rabies to humans—but you could get bacteria or parasites from other sources in an unwashed wound. You can read more about rabies at the CDC.
2. Squirrels transmit infections to people indirectly, through fleas and ticks.
It is important to wear gloves while handling a dead—or live—squirrel to avoid being bitten by fleas and ticks. In the United States, fleas on flying squirrels sometimes carry fleas that carry an infection called typhus. This infection
In both North America (especially in California) and Europe (especially in Russia), squirrels sometimes carry ticks that can transmit Lyme disease to humans. In some locations, nearly 100% of squirrels are infected with Lyme disease, but only about 15% of the ticks that feed on them. Getting bitten by a tick that comes off a squirrel that has Lyme disease likely not to cause an infection in a human being, but it’s best to avoid the possibility. If you are bitten by a tick, remove it with a hot matchstick (applied to the tick, not your skin) rather than with tweezers, as tweezers can push the infection into the skin.
3. Squirrels usually invade attics to nest.
Your attic offers a mother squirrel the perfect place to raise her babies safe from predators. Mother squirrels are most likely to come into your attic from early January through February during the first mating season or from early April through May during the second mating season. Male squirrels usually stay outdoors.
The best time to make sure your attic is sealed so squirrels can’t come in is in December or March. December is also the optimal time to put a ultrasonic squirrel repellent in your attic, and to scatter mothballs around the perimeter of your attic. It is a lot easier to keep squirrels out of your attic than to get squirrels out of your attic.
Read this article to learn How to Get Rid of Squirrels in the Attic.
4. Rat traps don’t trap squirrels.
Squirrels are larger than rats and mice. A mouse cube or a snap trap designed for rats will only annoy a squirrel. Rat zappers are not large enough for squirrel to fit inside. You need a trap designed specifically for squirrels to trap squirrels, whether you are using killer traps or Havahart traps for catch and release.
5. Ultrasound is a good deterrent to most but not all squirrels entering your premises or property.
Ultrasound is high-pitched sound that humans can’t hear but dogs and tree squirrels can. If the unit is programmed to make the sound intermittently, squirrels will avoid the location just in case there would be a potential predator. If the unit is programmed to make the sound constantly, squirrels will learn to ignore it, as they will if it is turned on after they have already learned that an area is safe.
6. Mesh nets to keep squirrels off flower, berry, and vegetable beds have to extend to the edges of the bed.
It is not enough to put netting over plants to protect them from squirrel damage. Squirrels will dig through open dirt to go under the net. They will do not dig through grass or edging materials buried in the ground.
7. Dogs and cats can keep squirrels off your grounds. That is, unless there are so many squirrels that they keep your dogs and cats off your grounds.
Dogs and cats occasionally eat squirrels. Even their scent can drive squirrels away. Large numbers of squirrels in trees, however, will gang up on your pets and pelt them with nuts and twigs. If you want to use potential predator animals to help keep squirrels off your property, it’s best to use a variety of techniques. Products like Squirrel Away and Squirrel B Gone contain actual fox and bobcat urine. Use them on an intermittent basis to chase away squirrels—but be aware that these products may also make your pets avoid your yard.
8. The most humane and effective squirrel trap is the Havahart two-door trap.
Squirrels often become wise to one-door traps. They will take turns holding the door open while another squirrel eats the bait. Two-door traps may attract two animals at the same time, keeping them at their tiny buffet table until you can relocate and release them.
9. Poisoning squirrels is usually illegal. And it usually does not work.
It is impossible to put out poison for squirrels outdoors without putting other animals—including your pets and your neighbors’ pets—at risk. It is impossible completely to clean up poison you put out in your attic. Even if you did not care about collateral damage from poisoning squirrels, chances are that you would just eliminate weaker squirrels so stronger squirrels would take their place.
10. If you can’t beat them, feed them.
Feeding the squirrels is not always a bad thing, especially if feeding squirrels in one location (not your neighbor’s yard) keeps them off your property. If you live in a desert climate or your location is experiencing a drought, it also helps to set out water. Sometimes squirrel attack fruits, vegetables, and bedding plants not to get food but to get water. Putting out a pan of water, or baiting a squirrel trap with a piece of fruit, is a good way to relocate squirrels away from your home. Read this article to learn all you need to know about how to get rid of squirrels.