What are they?
The grey squirrel was introduced into Britain in the late 1800s. They have become widespread in both woodland and urban areas. In urban areas the squirrel often lives and breeds in roof spaces, using loft insulation and other materials to create a large nest (drey).
They can cause costly, potentially dangerous damage by gnawing facia boarding, roof joists, stored belongings and stripping electrical wires.
Food left out for birds can attract grey squirrels to your garden. They can cause damage to the local environment by stripping bark from trees and by raiding birds’ nests for their eggs and fledglings.
Even if you do not see squirrels, you may suspect you have them. The following are signs that squirrels are present:
- Noises in your loft space
- Droppings shaped like a raising an 1/4 inch
- Damage bird feeders
- Damaged fascia boards and electrical wires from gnawing
- Loft insulation dragged into piles
Prevention is better than cure and there are many things you can do to avoid having a problem with grey squirrels:
- If you feed wild birds in your garden make sure you are using mesh feeders or suspended tables and have squirrel proof mesh where possible.
- Do not put bird food directly on the ground and clear up any spillages from your feeding station.
- If you have any mature trees, cut back any branches which are overhanging your property.
- Squirrels are excellent climbers, so ensure that you trim any wall climbing plants to prevent them reaching from ground to roof level, giving easy access to your property.
- Ensure prompt repair of fascia boards and roof tiles to eliminate any entry points.
If your property is joined to another property (semi -detached or terraced) you should discuss the issue with your neighbours and agree a joint approach.
Can I treat them?
The most effective method of removing squirrels from a loft space is by using baited cage traps. These can be purchased from good garden centres and hardware stores.
Make sure traps are located away from children, pets and other wildlife at all times and are checked on a regular basis.
If you choose to use traps, it is important that you remember the responsibility of disposing of the trapped squirrels will be yours, and must be done humanly or you could get prosecuted.
Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 the Grey Squirrel is a recognised foreign pest species. This legislation requires that any live trapped squirrels are killed and not released.
For this reason we recommend that you hire professional pest controllers so that the works are carried out safely and in accordance with legal requirements
Last Updated on Tuesday, October 11, 2022