Pest control - grey squirrels

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Although many people regard squirrels as an attractive part of urban wildlife, they can be a nuisance when they cause damage in gardens

The problem

More serious problems may be experienced when squirrels find their way into lofts and roof voids where quite apart from the disturbance caused by their nocturnal activities, gnawing structural timber, fouling insulation material and the gnawing of electric cables can occur.

The squirrels

Grey squirrel by Tjflex courtesy of Compflight. Used under Creative Commons Licence

Grey squirrels are found in a wide range of situations, from urban parks and gardens to rural woodland.  They spend part of their time foraging on the ground but are always within easy reach of trees.  Their nests (dreys) are normally built in trees but they may also breed in roof spaces where they use loft insulation or other available materials.  There are usually two litters each year, the first between February and March and the second between June and July.  The average litter size is three to four and the young are independent at about three months old.

The law

Grey squirrels have limited legal protection and can be controlled all year round by a variety of methods including shooting, trapping and poisoning. It is an offence under section 14 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981) to introduce and release grey squirrels into the wild.

The council

We can provide advice on squirrel problems but we do not offer a pest control service.

The answer

If squirrels have definitely taken up occupancy in your home or business then measures should be taken to exclude them.  The first thing is to determine where the squirrels are gaining access.  Any access points must be sealed or “proofed” to prevent squirrels getting back in.

Where squirrels have gained entry via defective brickwork this should be made good with sand and cement. Crushed wire netting, metal sheeting or other suitable materials can also be used to block entry points.  If the work involves re-instating timber e.g. fascia board, suitable thin-gauged galvanised metal may have to be fixed over the top of it to stop the squirrels gnawing the timber.  Make sure that there are no squirrels trapped inside when the proofing is carried out.

If this work is beyond the capacity of ‘DIY’, then local builders may have to be approached to undertake the necessary work and several quotes may have to be obtained. Trees near or overhanging the house provide convenient ‘highways’.  In some situations judicious pruning will cut off routes but always check that there are no tree preservation orders in force.

You can download this information as a pdf by clicking on this icon PDF version at the top of the page.

Published: 23 August 2013 - 9:48am