The Ultimate Guide to Grey Squirrel Control and Removal in North Carolina

Grey squirrels, while charming to observe in their natural habitat, can become a significant nuisance when they invade residential areas in Chapel Hill, NC. These agile rodents are known for their destructive habits, which can lead to property damage and potential health risks. In this guide, we’ll explore effective strategies for grey squirrel control and removal, emphasizing humane and environmentally friendly approaches. We’ll also discuss the importance of professional wildlife management services in resolving squirrel infestations and preventing future occurrences.

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What is a grey squirrel and where does it live in North Carolina?

Grey squirrels, scientifically known as Sciurus carolinensis, are medium-sized rodents known for their distinctive bushy tails and predominantly grey fur, although their color can vary with some having reddish or brown hues. These agile and adaptable creatures are native to Eastern North America and are a common sight in North Carolina.

In terms of habitat, grey squirrels are highly versatile and can thrive in a wide range of environments. They are predominantly found in deciduous and mixed forests where oak, hickory, and other hardwood trees are abundant, as these provide them with a steady supply of nuts and seeds, which form the bulk of their diet. However, grey squirrels have adapted remarkably well to urban and suburban settings, making their homes in parks, gardens, and residential areas. This adaptability allows them to live in close proximity to humans, where they often seek out attics, sheds, and other structures for nesting, leading to potential conflicts with homeowners due to their habit of gnawing on wood, wires, and storing food in unwanted places.

Their presence across North Carolina is widespread, from the mountainous regions in the west to the coastal plains in the east, showcasing their ability to adapt to various climatic conditions and environments. While they contribute to the ecological balance by aiding in seed dispersal, their adaptability and sometimes intrusive behavior in urban areas highlight the need for effective management and control measures in residential and commercial settings.

In North Carolina, grey squirrels are commonly found in both deciduous and mixed forests where there is an abundance of trees, especially oak and hickory, which provide them with ample food sources. However, they are highly adaptable and can also thrive in parks, gardens, and residential areas, making them a familiar sight in neighborhoods and cities throughout the state.

Grey squirrels have a diverse diet that changes with the seasons. They primarily feed on:

  • Tree seeds and nuts, such as acorns, hickory nuts, walnuts, and beechnuts.
  • Fruits and berries when available.
  • Fungi and mushrooms.
  • Plant materials like buds, flowers, and shoots.
  • Insects, small birds, bird eggs, and even small rodents occasionally, especially when other food sources are scarce.

Their ability to store nuts and seeds for the winter months in numerous hidden caches (a behavior known as scatter hoarding) is essential for their survival during colder months. This foraging behavior also plays a crucial role in forest regeneration, as not all stored seeds are retrieved, leading to new plant growth.

Are Grey squirrels dangerous for humans?

Grey squirrels, specifically the Eastern Grey Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis), are a common species of tree squirrel found throughout much of the eastern United States, including North Carolina. They are known for their adaptable nature and are typically found in wooded areas, including forests, parks, and urban areas where trees are abundant. These squirrels are very versatile and have successfully adapted to environments heavily modified by humans, such as residential neighborhoods and commercial landscapes.

Grey squirrels are not typically dangerous to humans. They are generally not aggressive and tend to avoid close contact with humans. However, like any wild animal, they can become defensive if they feel threatened or cornered, potentially leading to scratches or bites. The primary concerns associated with grey squirrels relate more to their impact on property and potential health risks. They can cause damage by chewing on electrical wires, timber, and insulation in attics or walls. Moreover, they can be carriers of diseases and parasites, such as fleas and ticks, which could pose indirect health risks to humans and pets. However, direct transmission of diseases from squirrels to humans is rare. The primary issue with grey squirrels is their potential to cause property damage and the nuisance they can create when they establish nests in buildings or homes.

Why do Grey squirrels choose to live in human homes?

Grey squirrels choose to live in human homes for several reasons:

  • Shelter and Warmth: Attics, garages, and other parts of buildings provide warm, dry, and relatively safe places for squirrels to nest, especially during colder months.
  • Safety from Predators: Elevated areas like attics offer protection from predators such as cats, dogs, and birds of prey.
  • Food Sources: Urban and suburban areas provide abundant food sources for squirrels, including bird feeders, gardens, and unsecured trash bins. Living close to these food sources makes human homes attractive nesting sites.
  • Breeding Sites: Houses and other buildings offer ideal locations for squirrels to raise their young, away from the harsh outdoor environment and predators.

Human homes inadvertently meet many of the basic needs of grey squirrels, making them attractive sites for these animals to inhabit, despite the potential for conflict with human occupants.

How Grey squirrels can damage a house?

Grey squirrels can cause significant damage to houses in several ways, mainly due to their nesting habits and their need to gnaw on various materials to keep their continuously growing teeth at a manageable length. Here are some common ways grey squirrels can damage a house:

  1. Chewing on Electrical Wires: Squirrels have a tendency to chew on electrical wires, which can lead to electrical shorts, power outages, or even fire hazards. The exposed wires pose a significant risk of igniting flammable materials within the attic or walls.
  2. Damaging the Roof and Siding: To gain entry into an attic or loft space, grey squirrels can chew through roof materials such as shingles, wood, and even aluminum siding. This can lead to water leaks and further structural damage over time.
  3. Insulation Damage: Once inside, squirrels often tear up insulation material for nesting, reducing the insulation’s effectiveness and potentially leading to increased heating and cooling costs. Their activity can also spread insulation around the attic, causing a mess and further reducing its efficiency.
  4. Gnawing on Wooden Structures: Squirrels can chew on wooden beams, rafters, and other structural components, weakening the structural integrity of the house. Continuous gnawing can cause significant damage over time.
  5. Creating Entry Points for Other Pests: The holes squirrels create to gain access to a house can also become entry points for other pests, such as rodents, bats, and insects, leading to additional pest control issues.
  6. Contamination and Health Risks: Squirrels living in an attic or within walls can leave behind urine and feces, which can contaminate insulation and create unpleasant odors. Their droppings can also pose health risks as they may contain pathogens that can cause diseases.

Due to these potential risks, it’s important to address grey squirrel infestations promptly and consider professional wildlife removal services to safely and effectively remove them from your property. Preventive measures, such as sealing entry points and trimming tree branches away from the house, can also help deter squirrels from taking up residence.

How to prevent Grey squirrels from your home?

  1. Seal Entry Points: Inspect your home for any holes or gaps in the exterior and seal them with sturdy materials such as metal flashing, hardware cloth, or specially designed squirrel-proof vents and chimney caps.
  2. Trim Tree Branches: Keep tree branches trimmed away from your house to reduce access to your roof.
  3. Secure Food Sources: Ensure garbage bins have tight-fitting lids and remove bird feeders or secure them with squirrel-proof designs.
  4. Use Squirrel Deterrents: Consider using motion-activated sprinklers or ultrasonic repellents to discourage squirrels from entering your property.
  5. Install Baffles on Bird Feeders: If you have bird feeders, install baffles to prevent squirrels from reaching the feed.
  6. Professional Wildlife Removal: If you have an ongoing problem or an infestation, it may be best to contact professional wildlife removal services that can safely and humanely remove and relocate the squirrels.

Taking these preventive measures can significantly reduce the likelihood of grey squirrels entering and damaging your home.

What to do if you have grey squirrels in your home?

If you discover grey squirrels in your home, taking prompt and effective action is crucial to mitigate any potential damage and health risks. Here’s a step-by-step approach to address the situation:

Identify Entry Points: The first step is to determine how the squirrels are entering your home. Look for holes or gaps in the exterior of your house, especially in the roof, eaves, and soffits. Squirrels can squeeze through small openings, so even gaps as small as an inch wide should be considered potential entry points.

Consult a Professional: Due to the complexity of dealing with wildlife, it’s advisable to contact a professional wildlife removal service. They have the expertise, experience, and equipment to safely and humanely remove squirrels from your home. They can also provide advice on preventing future infestations.

Seal Entry Points: Once the squirrels have been removed, seal all entry points with durable materials such as metal flashing, hardware cloth, or specially designed vents and chimney caps that allow for ventilation while keeping wildlife out. It’s important to wait until you are sure all squirrels have been removed before sealing entry points to avoid trapping any animals inside.

Remove Attractants: To make your property less appealing to squirrels, remove or secure food sources such as bird feeders, pet food, and accessible trash cans. Trim tree branches that are close to your house to limit access to your roof.

Install Deterrents: Consider using deterrents to discourage squirrels from returning. This could include motion-activated sprinklers or ultrasonic devices. However, the effectiveness of these devices can vary, and they may not provide a long-term solution.

Regular Maintenance: Regularly inspect your home for signs of squirrel activity and potential entry points, especially before and after the breeding seasons in spring and fall. Maintaining the exterior of your house in good repair is key to preventing squirrels and other wildlife from gaining access.

If you’re dealing with grey squirrels in your home, it’s important to address the issue with a combination of professional help and preventive measures to ensure your home remains safe and squirrel-free.

Why is it better to call a professional wildlife company for grey squirrel control and removal?

Calling a professional wildlife company for grey squirrel control and removal offers several advantages that ensure both the effective resolution of the issue and the humane treatment of the animals:

Expertise and Experience: Professional wildlife companies have specialized knowledge and experience in dealing with grey squirrels and other wildlife nuisances. They understand squirrel behavior, habitat preferences, and the most effective methods for removal and exclusion. This expertise ensures that the problem is resolved quickly and efficiently, minimizing damage and disruption.

Humane and Legal Compliance: Wildlife professionals are trained in humane capture and relocation techniques that comply with local and federal wildlife protection laws. They ensure that squirrels are removed safely and humanely, reducing stress and harm to the animals. Moreover, these professionals are knowledgeable about the legal requirements and restrictions related to wildlife control, ensuring that their methods are in compliance with regulations.

Comprehensive Solutions: Professional wildlife services don’t just remove the current inhabitants; they also provide solutions to prevent future infestations. This may include identifying and sealing entry points, advising on habitat modification around your property, and implementing deterrents to discourage squirrels from returning. These comprehensive strategies address the root cause of the problem, offering a long-term solution rather than a temporary fix.

Safety and Health: Removing wildlife from a home involves risks, including potential exposure to diseases that animals may carry. Professionals are equipped with the proper safety gear and are trained to handle wildlife in a way that minimizes health risks to themselves and the inhabitants of the home.

Time and Cost Efficiency: Attempting DIY squirrel removal can be time-consuming, frustrating, and may not be effective, potentially leading to more significant damage and higher costs in the long run. Hiring a professional can save time and money by resolving the issue effectively the first time around.

Damage Assessment and Repair Advice: In addition to removal services, wildlife professionals can assess the damage caused by squirrels and advise on necessary repairs to prevent future wildlife entry. This holistic approach ensures that all aspects of the problem are addressed.

In summary, hiring a professional wildlife company for grey squirrel control and removal is beneficial for ensuring effective, humane, and legally compliant solutions, while also protecting the safety and health of human residents and minimizing potential property damage and future infestations.

Don’t let grey squirrels turn your property into their playground. Protect your home and peace of mind by reaching out to Integrated Wildlife Management, Chapel Hill’s leading experts in wildlife removal and control.

Contact us today for a comprehensive solution to your squirrel problems.

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