Most people are unaware of the damage squirrels can cause in your attic or loft. They gnaw on wood and electrical cables and have been the root cause of many fires across the UK. Most of the call-outs we receive are due to scratching noises customers can hear in their loft, and more often than not, they assume the issue is due to other rodents such as rats and mice. They may look cute, but once you've had one in your attic, you'll think differently.
If you're looking for information on how to get rid of squirrels in your home, loft or attic, you've found the right article. Our informative blog will share industry secrets on controlling squirrels using DIY methods.
NOTE: Although we're detailing how to get rid of squirrels without the help of a pest control company. We strongly advise against it. Squirrels are notoriously hard to get rid of, and a trained professional will have access to higher grade traps and poisons.
Before we get into the blog, you probably want to know who Integrum Services are? We're a full accredited pest control company providing squirrel control in London and all the south-east of England. Proud members of the British Pest Control Association (BPCA) you can have confidence that we've rid 100's of homes of the threat of squirrels.
Right, back to the blog.
Why control grey squirrels?
Well, during the 19th-century grey squirrels were deliberately introduced to mainland England and Wales. During this time they've run rampant and have practically killed off red squirrels due to the diseases they carry. Once they've decided to call your roof space home, they will chew woodwork, strip insulation from electrical wiring, burst water pipes, destroy fibreglass and occasionally, drown in water tanks.
All of the damage grey squirrels cause can lead to very costly bills in the future if left untreated. Therefore, it's essential to act as soon as you notice squirrels using your loft space, as they can be much more destructive than other rodents.
Grey squirrels don't just impact homeowners. They have severe consequences for bids as they prey on nests and steal eggs. Researchers from the Game Conservancy and Wildlife trust suggest grey squirrels reduce fledgeling rates by around 15%.
Grey squirrels vs red squirrels
Red squirrels are distinguishable by their red fur and fluffy tails. If you see one, count yourself lucky, as there is only 15,000 estimated within the UK. Red squirrels are also concentrated in particular locations such as Scotland, Northumberland, Wales, and the Lake District, so if you're in any other place, it's more than likely you've seen a grey squirrel rather than red.
Grey squirrels are usually larger in size and as mentioned by their colour, have grey fur. Although both of these squirrels look cute, they can pose a health risk to humans. The difference is that red squirrels tend to live in woodland areas, and their population is significant to promote biodiversity since they move and hide seeds, enabling the reforestation process.
If you want to get rid of squirrels in your loft or attic, you must make yourself aware of the various squirrel laws. Red squirrels are protected by the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981. The law states that it is an offence to kill or injure a red squirrel and its habitat intentionally. On the other hand, grey squirrels are recognised as a pest (and rightly so!). Therefore, it's illegal to release a grey squirrel back into the wild or let one escape. They must be dispatched when caught.
Signs of squirrels in your home
Most people are unaware of the dangers caused by grey squirrels when they invade your home. Furthermore, they are often confused with other rodents such as rats and mice due to the strange noises you may hear in your loft. Our pest control experience has led us to identify squirrels using the following signs:
- Scratching sound. It's common to hear scratching, chewing or scurrying sounds as squirrels make their nests in your attic. These sounds are even more prevalent during the winter months and at dawn or dusk. If you're hearing noises throughout the night, it's more than likely going to be a rat issue.
- Property damage. As mentioned throughout this article, squirrels can chew electrical wires resulting in severe risks to your safety. Many fires are due to squirrels chewing cables. That's not all, they often cause damage to outer areas of homes, so when inspecting if squirrels are causing you problems you should look for chew marks.
- Droppings. Similar to other pests, you'll often find droppings around your home, attic, garage and entry points. Identifying squirrel faeces can be difficult for untrained professionals as they look very similar to other rodents such as rats.
- Smell. The build-up of urine in your loft can lead to a horrific smell. Furthermore, if a squirrel has died in your home, you'll be able to smell a foul decaying odour.
Integrum's pro tip: Check your bird feeders, if it looks like fruit and nuts have been stolen from your bird feeder, there is a high chance it is squirrels. Consider removing your bird feeder until the issue is resolved.
Now you understand the best tips to help identify a squirrel infestation. Let's look at how you can get rid of squirrels for good.
How to get rid of grey squirrels?
We want you to have the best information available to rid your loft of squirrels. Below, you'll find four helpful tips on how to get rid of them.
- Remove all food sources should be the first thing you do to get rid of squirrels. Squirrels love to feed on nuts, vegetables, fungi and fruit, so check your garden and remove any possible food source they are using. Furthermore, make sure all bin areas are covered, so they have no easy access. If they're not getting fed, they'll eventually move on.
- Squirrel proofing is essential to stop the problem from ever returning. Using squirrel proof mesh, you should aim to cover all ingress points into your loft. Unfortunately, this may mean an external inspection of your roof. If you don't have the necessary health, safety and working at heights qualification, we advise calling a professional as the work can be dangerous. Check your garden for trees and shrubbery that squirrels could use to climb onto your roof. They've got a significant jump on them, so cut down any possible access points.
- Live trapping squirrels is a very effective method to rid your home. Trapping is only valid if you have expert BPCA training, also, live caught squirrels have to be disposed of by LAW as per the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Amateurs have been known to use ILLEGAL trapping methods which are considered inhumane. If you decide to purchase DIY traps, please make yourself familiar with the law.
- Call a professional squirrel control company. We STRONGLY recommend you do not undertake this work yourself, squirrels carry diseases and are known to bite. If you live catch a squirrel, it may bite you, if that happens, seek medical help immediately! Furthermore, squirrel control companies registered with the BPCA have access to poisons not available to the public.
Hopefully, after reading our advice, you now feel confident about how to get rid of squirrels. If you do attempt to remove them on your own, please read out guide thoroughly. In our experience, DIY squirrel control doesn't tend to work. Customers we visit have to pay for work twice, as their attempted solution did not succeed, and they eventually called a professional.
Integrum Services operate around the south-east of England and have solved 100's of squirrel removal jobs in London and Surrey. For more advice or to arrange for one of our professional team members to visit your home, call on 020 8914 7894 or email at email@example.com.