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Squirreling Out of a Mess

by Marcus Pickett

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    Squirrels can seem harmless enough when you casually see them running around your neighborhood. Be warned, though, in your house a squirrel problem is a serious threat that can endanger your home and your family. As their natural habitat shrinks, squirrels are often forced into your attic, chimney, or crawlspace to live. Gnawing through loose roofing or foundations or slipping through chimneys and other existing holes, squirrels can quickly set up nesting and wreak havoc on your home. In the spring, their mating noises will annoy you, but this is hardly the biggest worry they create.

    Destruction from Squirrel Infestation
    The most common squirrel infestation is in your attic. Squirrels find this area of your home to be particularly welcoming when your attic insulation is readily available. Squirrels will tear up this insulation, shredding it to pieces and making it less effective. Shredded ductwork is also a likely outcome. With time, your attic will begin to emanate the foul odor of squirrel urine. Their burrows will also create an easy avenue for bats, insects, and other pests to enter your home or simply create a leaky roof. If the squirrel ends up dying in your attic, you'll forget about the odor of urine, as the smell of dead squirrel causes headaches and nausea. The greatest danger, however, is the fire hazard they create. Squirrels will gnaw on anything and everything. If it finds wall space where your electrical wiring is hiding, the damaged wiring can set your house ablaze.

    Disease
    Less common, although still a real possibility, squirrel infestation poses a serious health risk to humans. Squirrels are primary carriers of tick fever, powassan encephalitis, and rabies; insects also commonly live on squirrels who can import all sorts of nasty micro-organisms and disease. This is one of the reasons homeowners should never attempt their own squirrel control solutions. While squirrels have become accustomed to humans, ones that appear particularly fearless around you may be rabid and should definitely be avoided. Among the many pests squirrels bring into your home, ticks and fleas are almost surely present, leading to pet infections as well.

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    Squirrel control is a job for professionals. You should never take a squirrel problem on by yourself. While you might be able to trap and/or kill one squirrel, more effective treatments will prevent problems such as dead offspring rotting in your attic or crawlspace. The health risk and the common pitfalls that arise from taking the matter into your own hands simply aren't worth it. Squirrel control professionals have many ways they can deal with your squirrel problem. They can trap and kill the squirrels, trap and relocate the squirrels, deploy squirrel repellent and even use specially-designed lighting equipment to drive the squirrels away. After your squirrel problem has been addressed you should do your best to seal any structural weaknesses in your home, especially the roof and installing a chimney screen. Be aware, though, that even the most effective treatments may not prevent future infestations if you live in a place your local squirrel community finds desirable.

    Marcus Pickett is a professional freelance writer for the home remodeling industry. He has published more than 600 articles on both regional and national topics within the home improvement industry.
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