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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get rid of squirrels?

How do I get squirrels out of a building?

How do I use squirrel cage traps?

How do I proof against squirrels?

Further action

Further information

Grey squirrel facts

How do I get rid of squirrels?

The choice of which method of control that you will need to use against urban grey squirrels will depend upon the situation and the type of damage being caused.

Control can either be carried out by private individuals, other occupiers or a pest control contractor. Your local Environmental Health Department of the Local Authority may also offer a service but this is normally chargeable.

The products contained in this webiste are intended for use by individuals whom have a basic DIY capability and are simple to use.

Grey squirrels are not a protected species and provided that you act humanely you are within your rights as a bulding occupier to control their numbers.

How do I get squirrels out of a building?

Grey squirrels generally gain access to roof spaces, especially lofts, via damaged barge boards or soffits and through open eaves or holes in walls that allow the animals to seek shelter and nest sites within a building. Loft insulation makes the perfect nest material for a grey squirrel.

Grey squirrels have also been known to use wall cavities in which to nest as these present a close likeness to their natural nest sites in the wild, usually a hollow in a tree.

Another major problem can occur when grey squirrels set up home in your chimneystack via an open pot posing a potential fire risk with open fireplaces.

The two biggest complaints about grey squirrels infesting buildings are those of noise and damage.

In these cases the aim should be to capture the grey squirrels inside the building using our live capture cage and then humanely despatch (cull) them.

Once all of the grey squirrels in a building have been caught and despatched the access points should be proofed using our wire mesh and fixings or by repairing any holes in the building fabric to prevent further infestations. Open chimneypots should be protected using our range of chimney guards.

Cage trapping and proofing are the recommended methods of dealing with grey squirrels in buildings.

How do I use squirrel cage traps?

Single catch live traps such as our Squirrel Cage Trap (see left) are the most suitable cages for this purpose.

Squirrels do not like moving in open spaces, so traps should be placed near brickwork, loists or other available objects that the squirrel may use to walk along. Placing traps tight up against the outside of buildings near climb points such as drain pipes is also recommended.

Securing the trap door in the open poistion and baiting inside and immediately around the trap for several days before setting the trap, can improve chances of success.

Use whole yellow maize, peanuts, wheat or a mixture of these as bait. Avoid provision of alternative food sources such as bird tables, open refuse bins and litter whilst trapping.

Once set, traps must be inspected at least once a day. Captured squirrels should be immediately removed and despatched. Either empty them into a sack and administer a sharp blow to the head or they can be shot whilst still in the cage by a competent peron with an appropriate weapon (use a professional pest controller). Care must be taken to avoid richochets.

Trapped squirrels should NOT be drowned as this is considered inhumane and unnecessary.

Captured grey squirrels must NOT be released or allowed to escape into the wild; it is illegal to do so for reasons relating to stopping the further geographic spread of the grey squirrel population.

How do proof against squirrels?

Having dealt with squirrels that have got inside buildings you should then take immediate action to proof access points against further encroachment or infestation.

Our welded, galvanised steel wire mesh (see left column) is the best solution for proofing most access points on buildings.

All proofing methods must be securely fixed to the building. Grey squirrels are strong, determined pests and will easily dislodge poorly installed proofing systems.

It is recommended that no proofing be undertaken until it is certain that there are no further squirrels inside the building

Further action

Remove any tree branches that over-hang the building to eliminate potential access routes.

Avoid providing artificial food sources that will attract squirrels such as bird feeders, litter or uncovered refuse bins.

Keep buildings in a good state of repair, in aprticular eaves timbers, barge boards, soffits and roof tiles.

Further information

In England further advice on controlling grey squirrels in urban situations, as well as problems caused by other mammals and birds can be obtained by contacting the Department or Envirnonment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) Wildlife Management Team at:

Wildlife Administration Unit
Defra
Burghill Road
Westbury-on-Trym
Bristol
BS10 6NJ

Telephone: 0845 601 4523
Email: enquiries.southwest@defra.gsi.gov.uk

A range of leaflets on wildlife topics is available online at: http://www.defra.gov.uk/wildlife-countryside/vertebrates

Grey squirrel facts

The Grey Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) is an introduced species that is not indigenous to the United Kingdom. It was introduced from the United States of America in the late Nineteenth Century

The Grey squirrel population has increased exponentially and is threatening the extinction of the native red squirrel (sciurus vulgaris) in many parts of the United Kingdom.

Grey squirrels can become a nuisance in an urban environment. Where they gain access to buildings, the chewing of materials, including electrical wiring , can cause damage and pose a fire hazard.

Grey squirrels normally nest in the wild but can make their nests in roof spaces, building their nests from loft insulation or other building materials.

Key points of access into buildings for grey squirrels include eaves, chimneypots, holes in the roof or facade, broken windows and other damaged areas of building fabric.

Grey squirrells usually have two litters each year, hence their huge population growth rate; the first in February to March and a second in June to July. The litter size is normally three to four. Do the maths, the growth rate is frightening! A grey squirrel can replicate itself up to four times in 12-months!

The grey squirrels main food source of acorns and beech mast vary in abundance from year to year, hence grey squirrels have adapted to urban food sources and often scavenge human food scraps / litter.

The grey squirrel may act as a carrier for a viral disease (parapox) to which red squirrels are extremely susceptible. Extinction of the red squirrel in England and Wales is, sadly, a likelihood in the foreseeable future, although it is more secure in Scotland. The decline of the native red squirrel is the most serious conservation damage caused by the spread of grey squirrels.

Responsibility for dealing with problems caused by grey squirrels in the UK normally rests with the occupier of the land concerned. Neither DEFRA, Natural England or local government provide a 'pest' control service for grey squirrel control. This is a matter for individuals & private pest control companies to address, within the constraints of the law.

Grey squirrels may be controlled humanely by private individuals, other occupiers or a pest control contractor without the need for a licence from Natural England. However, grey squirrels are protected from inhumane treatment of suffering under the auspices of the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 and the Wild Mammals (protection) Act 1996.

Please make sure that you understand the law governing the control of grey squirrels and how it applies to you prior to commencing your planned control method. If you are unsure we can provide you with free technical.

Call us on +44(0)1903 538 488, Monday - Friday 09:00 - 18:00.