Squirrels can be a nuisance. They can eat all the seed in birdfeeders and scatter the seeds they do not want. Squirrels will strip bark off trees and eat from your vegetable garden. More than a nuisance, squirrels nesting inside your house interrupt your day, damage your home, and increase health risks to you and your family.
The professionals at Critter Control can safely and humanely remove the squirrels and install solutions to prevent future squirrel problems.
Where Do Squirrels Live in New Jersey?
Squirrels especially the eastern gray squirrel is prominent in New Jersey because of lower predation, increased shelter, and access to food. It thrives in deciduous and mixed forests, as well as suburban and urban areas with mature trees. Eastern gray squirrels build nests called dreys in the forks or branches of trees, usually made of leaves, twigs, and bark. They tend to prefer areas with a variety of tree species, as this provides them with a diverse food source.
A squirrel nest looks like an oversized clump of twigs and leaves. The interior is hollow and measures eight inches in diameter on average. A nest is typically lined with leaves, grass, moss, and shreds of bark. The exterior shell of the nest is woven together with sticks and leaves for insulation. Squirrel nests are effective in keeping squirrels and their offspring warm and dry.
Squirrels have adapted to living in human environments. Homes and businesses provide ideal squirrel nest locations.
Where do Squirrels Live in New Jersey Homes?
Tree squirrels enter homes looking for shelter. Some types of squirrels can give birth to two litters in a year. During their breeding period, female squirrels can build nests (dreys) in attics or wall cavities. Homeowners typically notice these litters during late spring/summer and autumn.
In the winter, they are likely to invade homes and other structures to ride out the harsh winter months. Because they do not hibernate, squirrels build caches of nuts to eat. It’s not uncommon to find squirrel caches inside your home after the cold weather.
Attics. Squirrels are well known for nesting in attics, as they provide a safe hideaway for squirrels to raise their young. The inside of an attic is also full of things for them to nibble and sharpen their ever-growing teeth on, like wood and insulation. This can create problems—when a squirrel chews the insulation on electrical wiring, for instance, the likelihood of a house fire increases.
Chimneys and Fireplaces. Chimney boxes are secluded, off the ground, and sheltered. It's an ideal location for a squirrel nest. While squirrels rarely infest chimneys themselves, the pests may nest in metal chimney boxes. If a squirrel falls down a chimney and becomes trapped inside the fireplace, homeowners may be alerted to their presence via various sounds, smells, and sights. Residents may hear chittering, fighting, or scratching at all hours of the day, smell squirrel droppings, and even see the pests running loose inside the home.
Gutters. Squirrels often choose gutters as nesting sites because they make a good foundation for a nest, and provide ample protection from predators—or at least those without wings. Of course, this superior nesting position comes at a cost—to the homeowner. Squirrel nests in gutters impede water drainage, cause water to back up and spill over onto siding, which can result in water damage over time.
Vents. If a vent is uncovered, squirrels can easily access public or living areas. Squirrels can gnaw through most vent covers. Plastic, wood, and metals like aluminum are not strong enough to prevent a squirrel from getting into your vents. While searching for places to nest, squirrels often move through dryer vents that lead to attics or basements.
Inside the Walls. Squirrels enter homes looking for shelter. The typical entry points for squirrels are along the roofline specifically soffits, eaves, fascia boards, and vents. Excellent climbers, these entry points give squirrels access to the attic which provides access to wall cavities. Wall cavities are especially attractive to mother squirrels. They’re small, dark, and free from predators so it’s an ideal place for a nest.
Signs of Squirrels
Sounds. There’s a good chance you’ll hear a squirrel before you see any visual evidence, especially during winter months, where you’re less likely to notice exterior damage. The sounds squirrels make are often described as scurrying, scampering noises. You might also hear chewing or gnawing sounds. Squirrels like building their nests in attics, so sounds will often emanate from there. Squirrel sounds are often mistaken for rat sounds, but there’s one key difference: squirrels are diurnal, so you’ll hear them during the day, whereas rats are nocturnal, and will make more sound at night.
Nests in Your Attic. Squirrels are well known for nesting in attics, as they provide a safe hideaway for squirrels to raise their young. The inside of an attic is also full of things for them to nibble and sharpen their ever-growing teeth on, like wood and insulation. When a squirrel chews the insulation on electrical wiring, the possibility of a house fire arises. Squirrels enter attics through crevices, gaps, and cracks in soffits, fascia boards, and eaves, or open vents or broken shingles in the roof. Once squirrels reach the attic, they have free reign of the house.
Chewed Roofing Materials. Another popular nesting site for squirrels is in the roof. Typically, they build these nests with roofing insulation. Take some time to carefully analyze your home’s exterior. Squirrels commonly damage roofs by:
· Chewing holes in soffits. This can allow other small pests to invade your home.
· Biting through shingles. This can lead to water damage.
· Eating through joists and siding. This can weaken your home’s structure.
To prevent squirrels, it is critical to keep one’s roof in good shape. Regularly inspect it for any damage, and repair as needed. To cover small holes, use steel mesh, not aluminum or plastic. Squirrels can chew through plastic and soft metals like butter.
Damaged Gardens. If you walk out to your garden to find it full of bite marks, a squirrel is one of the more likely culprits. Squirrels eat a variety of popular garden vegetables, including spinach, kale, corn, fruit, and nuts. Squirrels are equally drawn to fruiting trees like citrus, fig, apple, plum, and peach trees. Protecting your garden from squirrels can be as simple as installing a wire mesh cage around your garden, and installing a metal collar around 6-8 feet up the trunks of vulnerable trees.
Squirrel Droppings Inside Your Home. Squirrel droppings are often confused for rat droppings, and vice versa. While rat and squirrel droppings do look similar—dark brown to black in color with blunted ends, around 3/8 of an inch long—they are found in different places around the home. Squirrel droppings are often found in attics or around tree trunks, while rat droppings are more common along baseboards, in cupboards, and behind large appliances like washing machines.
How Critter Control in New Jersey Gets Rid of Squirrels
Critter Control specializes in squirrel removal. In order to remove a squirrel or family of squirrels on your property, our wildlife specialist will perform a thorough inspection to determine the severity of the problem. After the inspection, they will build a custom solution to trap, remove, and seal all entry points. They will also provide warranty options as well as an estimate for preventative services.
New Jersey Squirrel Removal Services
When performing squirrel removal, our wildlife professional will determine the most effective and humane way to remove the squirrel(s) from your property. The most common methods used are:
We do not directly capture adult squirrels as they move too quickly and fit in very small spaces. If juveniles are found in an attic, they will be hand removed and relocated with their mom. If the mom is not in sight and the young cannot survive on their own, our wildlife specialists will seek help from a local wildlife rehabilitation center.
Squirrel Exclusion & Prevention
Home exclusion is the most effective method to prevent squirrels or nuisance wildlife from entering your home. It is essential to seal all current and potential entry points to prevent future squirrel infestations. After the squirrels have been removed, it is essential to prevent future squirrel problems. Whole home exclusions identify any potential entry point such as gaps around siding, vents, chimneys, and windows, to keep squirrels out of homes. We close the holes with materials squirrels cannot gnaw through.
In addition, we strongly recommend a maintenance service. Like other rodents, squirrels have front teeth that continuously grow, which means they can gnaw a new way back into your home.
Precautions like removing trees or tree branches on or close to your roof can help prevent squirrel problems in your home. We also urge you to refrain from using bird feeders as they are a huge attractant for squirrels and additional wildlife. After squirrel removal, we advise all our customers to remove food sources like accessible birdseed and acorns, if present, in order to maintain a squirrel-free home.
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