A house in­vader from the ‘wild gar­den’

The Standard Journal - - LOCAL - By Ricky Ens­ley Polk County Ex­ten­sion Co­or­di­na­tor

Squir­rels are in­ter­est­ing crea­tures of wooded and wild gar­dens and sub­di­vi­sions – if they stay out­side.

But in­side, they’re haz­ardous. The risks come from squir­rels’ end­less chew­ing.

They chew holes in sid­ing, they chew holes in in­su­la­tion, they chew this and they chew that.

The main risk comes from chew­ing elec­tri­cal wires. They may cause short cir­cuits in hid­den places which can cause house fires.

Squir­rels are also a po­ten­tial, though un­com­mon source of disease.

Get­ting rid of squir­rels is a bad enough prob­lem. There are com­pa­nies in the busi­ness of mov­ing them. If you have squir­rels in your house, you can get them out your­self with a lit­tle com­mon sense, cap­ture tech­nique and car­pen­try.

For­get chem­i­cals. There is noth­ing I would rec­om­mend for this pur­pose.

How about moth­balls? They are nei­ther ef­fec­tive, nor la­beled for elim­i­nat­ing squir­rels.

So, how can you get rid of them? The first thing to do is find the open­ing. Look around vents and other likely places. Then use a cage trap – set in­side – to catch the an­i­mal. A trap that opens at both ends mounted over the hole works great.

Use peanut but­ter in bread crusts and ap­ple slices for bait. Af­ter you’ve caught your squir­rel, set the trap again to catch an­other. Keep the trap in place for at least a week af­ter you catch your last squir­rel. Then close the open­ing.

Leave the trap set in the at­tic for a few more days to catch any squir­rels ac­ci­den­tally locked in.

Don’t turn your squir­rel loose in the yard – he will chew back into his old res­i­dence. He needs to be taken far away. How far? It’s hard to say.

Try ten miles.

Ricky Ens­ley

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