In East St. Louis
neighborhoods, you likely encounter squirrels daily. The ones you see most are the Eastern gray and the Eastern fox squirrels. The gray squirrels are smaller than the fox squirrels. They have white bellies and gray on the sides. Fox squirrels have reddish-yellow coloring.
Squirrels can build a nest in just a few hours. If they make a nest in your gutters, HVAC ducts, or chimneys, your home becomes susceptible to fire and water damage. Other damages from a squirrel include chewed siding, gnawed wires, shredded insulation, scratched drywall, broken shingles, holes in the lawn, stolen garden crops, and stripped bark from trees.
Damages happen when squirrels are scavenging for food, water, and shelter. They have a broad list of foods they will eat, such as nuts, grains, fruits, vegetables, bird eggs, field corn, and tree bark. They raid bird feeders and pet feed, too.
Squirrels play a significant role in the ecosystem by redistributing seeds and nuts across the area. Their constant collecting and gathering make them excellent treasure hunters and prepare them for cold winters.
To get rid of nuisance squirrels, know that maternity season is in the winter with a 45-day gestation period when up to eight babies can be born. It takes about six weeks or longer for newborns to become independent. Wildlife control experts know the importance of keeping the family together if removal must happen during this time.
In Missouri, squirrels are listed as game animals because they are fur-bearing. Hunting and trapping them can only be done in certain seasons and with a license. Nuisance squirrels can be managed anytime in the year, but you must follow the rules, like the size and type of traps and snares and where you can put them.
Wildlife experts have multiple tools to get rid of nuisance squirrels, such as fumigants, repellents, traps, and exclusion methods. Examples of exclusions include sealing all possible entrances into your home, installing fencing around gardens, putting tree and roof barriers, and removing food resources when possible. When not possible, better storage for food is an option. You don’t have to give up birdfeeders and can, instead, equip them with a squirrel barrier.