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Loft Intruders: Managing Squirrel Infestations

So…You have just come home from work, and you are trying to unwind in your home when suddenly, you hear an all-too-familiar scurry and scratch from above. Your heart sinks, as you recognise the sound to be squirrels in your loft.  While these bushy-tailed creatures may seem charming in the British countryside, they can become quite the headache when they invade our homes. This article aims to guide you through understanding why squirrels nest in lofts, the problems they cause, and how to address this issue effectively.

Why Squirrels Move into Lofts

Squirrels often seek out lofts for shelter, especially during the winter. Your attic provides them with a warm, safe environment away from predators and the unpredictable British weather. However, their presence can mean trouble for your home’s integrity.

Identifying a Squirrel Infestation

Considering the variety of animals that might choose to inhabit your attic, such as birds, bats, and mice, it’s important to understand the specific signs to watch for that indicate the presence of squirrels…

  1. Sounds: Listen for scratching or scampering, primarily during the day since squirrels are diurnal
  2. Damage: Look out for gnawed wood, insulation, or wires, and holes in the roof or fascia boards.
  3. Droppings: Small, brown, spindle-shaped droppings may be present
  4. Nests: Composed of leaves, twigs, and torn insulation.

The Problems They Pose

  1. Structural Damage: Squirrels can gnaw through timber, threatening the structural integrity of your home.
  2. Electrical Risks: Chewed electrical wires are a fire hazard
  3. Health Concerns: Squirrel droppings and urine can be unsanitary and may cause odours.
  4. Blocked Vents: Squirrel nests can obstruct air flow in ventilation systems.

Humane Removal and Prevention

  1. Inspection: First, identify how the squirrels are gaining entry to your property.
  2. Exclusion Techniques: Seal all entry points but consider leaving the main one open. Fit a one-way door or valve on this point.
  3. Environmental Changes: Remove accessible food sources and trim tree branches near your house.
  4. Professional Assistance: Controlling squirrels is a difficult task, therefore Avon Pest Control recommend calling a professional pest control company to deal with your pest problem for you.

Legal Aspects

In the UK, it’s important to be aware of wildlife laws when considering pest management. Red squirrels are a protected species and are included in Schedules 5 and 6 of the Wildlife & Countryside Act (WCA) 1981.  Grey squirrels are not protected and are classified as an invasive non-native species under Schedule 9 of the WCA. Grey squirrels are also included on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) list of the top 100 most harmful invasive non-native species worldwide. This inclusion underscores the extensive harm grey squirrels inflict on local plants and animals. According to Schedule 9 of the WCA, it’s unlawful to either release a grey squirrel into the wild or to permit its escape. Therefore, if you capture a grey squirrel, you are legally required to humanely euthanise it. Releasing it back into the wild is prohibited by law.

Call in the Experts

Avon Pest Control understand that dealing with squirrels in your loft can be challenging. If you’re worried about squirrels in your loft, call Avon Pest Control today.  Our team of experts are equipped with the necessary knowledge and tools to safely and humanely deal with the squirrels, ensuring compliance with wildlife laws.

Don’t let the situation in your loft escalate – take action today!

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