Squirrel damage

drewsmagaMay 18, 2013

We moved into this house in Oct. We are overrun with squirrels. We have a screened pool and they are running all over it (and the roof and the fence.) They just tore out a 3 foot section of screen (jumping from a tree.) DH tried to repair it with fishing line tying the screen to the metal support, but that's not going to hold long. I don't know what to do. We can't cut the tree limbs back to the recommended 8 ft. (that would take them back to the trunk.) The "Hot Foot" stuff you use for birds on your roof is really expensive, and I don't know if that would work anyway, because they'd just learn to bypass the metal frame and run on the screen. I know a lot of people love squirrels. I never did. And now I hate those rats with fluffy tales.

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We had squirrels in our attic. We used a have-a-heart trap and just started trapping them and then taking them to a park nearby. It took time to do this but it worked. We also stopped feeding the birds as the seed seemed to be attracting the squirrels. Still have the birds but few squirrels. Good luck fixing your problems with the critters.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 7:03AM
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Pellet gun...

Nasty creatures. We call them tree rats.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 9:33AM
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Over the years we've had problems with chipmunks, squirrels and ground hogs. We tried Have a Heart trap when the chipmunks started eating holes in our mahogany deck. We caught 25 in 3 months and didn't even have to use bait.

We never caught a single squirrel in our traps no matter what bait we tried - it's very frustrating.

There is a ground hog that lives in our neighbor's yard and every year we manage to trap the youngsters after they're kicked out of the burrow. That's when they move into our yard and live beneath our deck and under the shed.

We used to release them near our town's waste disposal site until we found out that in our area we're not allowed to release trapped animals in another area. The local Humane Society rep told me that it was a death sentence to relocate them and more humane to kill them.

There's a Garden Web forum called House Disasters and there are lots of threads there about dealing with squirrels - you might find some info there. Although it would probably be quicker to call an exterminator who handles wild life.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 10:23AM
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I'd take out the tree!
We used to feed the birds and stopped that when the chipmunks started eating the boat cover.
Desperate times call for desperate measures!

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 11:51AM
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I have lived here for 31 years in a very old house and I have dozens of squirrels. I feed them corn and suet and even raised a baby one with a bottle, I have had ZERO damage from them expect the occasional knocked feeders over the years. I hate when wildlife is destroyed. They were here first and deserved to live too. We are taking away much of their habitat. They are not rats in trees. I raised one and he was as cute as a kitten. To cut a beautiful tree down is crazy. I deplore cruelty to animals.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 12:15PM
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WalnutCreek Zone 7b/8a

I deplore the squirrels who are members of a rodent family, Lily. They have destroyed two sets of very expensive seat cushions here at my place. They are being cruel by destroying my property for which I worked very hard to be able to make the purchases. You are very lucky to have had no damage from squirrels. To my knowledge, most people who have squirrels around them experience lots of damage.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 1:11PM
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They can be so destructive. They ate our redwood porch furniture! Gnaw, gnaw,gnaw. Finally we started trapping them in hav-a-hart traps and taking them far away. That reduced the number, but you have to keep it up.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 2:17PM
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A few years ago an old ratty cushion up in the yard was ripped apart for a nest. So now I provide nesting material. I get loads of corn for them in the fall and have one ear out every day. Maybe they're repaying my kindness to them by not being destructive.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 3:28PM
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we had them robbing all the seeds from the bird feeder...

we are outside the city limits and can shoot guns out here...

I used an air pistol on them (yeah I know....shame on me) but we don't have them bothering anymore and I'd do it again.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 3:55PM
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    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 6:12PM
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shoot 'em.....

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 6:12PM
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We used apple slices covered in peanut butter for our trap. One day our young grand daughter asked her grandpa what are you making grandpa that looks good and he said squirrel bait and she said I'll have some squirrel bait and that has been a tradition in our family as a snack. Works for the squirrels and grand daughters. lol

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 9:06PM
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I used to store my sunflower seed for my bird feeders on my screened in back porch. Dang squirrels tore a hole in BOTH screen doors trying to get in. The doors are at opposite ends of the porch. It wasn't enough for them to ruin just one door - they had to get both!

So then I moved the birdseed outside on the covered porch in a Rubbermaid type tub with a lid that clicks on. The squirrels chewed and gnawed till THEY ATE A HOLE in the side of the tub! Completely ruined it.

I let my son use the squirrels for BB gun target practice.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 12:32AM
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DH is all for shooting them, but we live in a residential area, where I think even a BB gun would have neighbors calling the police. Which reminds me of when I was visiting DS and family, living in an expensive subdivision outside of Houston. He spotted the neighborhood armadillo, which had been tearing up yards for months, and got out his shotgun. (He took the Marksmanship Award in boot camp.) Other neighbors had gathered to watch the pest across the street and DS asked them if they would call the cops if he shot it, and they all said "no." He hit it and it jumped about 4 feet in the air, then ran off into a back yard to die. Armadillos are pests that carry diseases, just like squirrels, and aren't allowed to be relocated. You either trap them and humanely kill them, or illegally shoot them. At this point, I'd rather have an armadillo tearing up my yard, than these squirrels tearing up my screens.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 12:41AM
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How to squirrel proof your bird feeder:

Mount the feeder on a tubular post as usual. These are 5 ft high or more. Get a large diameter plastic pipe, at least 4 inch diameter. PVC plumbing pipe will do nicely. Cut the pipe to length to just fit the following assembly.

1. Install the vertical post.
2. Slip the pipe over the post.
3. Put on a standard varmit guard, the type that looks like an inverted bowl.

4. Mount the bird feeder on top of the tubular post.

In many installations, gravity will hold everything in place and clamps won't be needed.

To make an adapter to hold the feeder to the tubular pole:
Select a piece of water pipe that will jsut fit either over the post or inside the post. Get a pipe flange to fit the pipe. Fasten the pipe flange to the bottom of the feeder. Thread one end of the pipe and cut to about 4 to 5 inch length. Screw the pipe into the flange. Now you have a piece of pipe securely fastened to the bottom of the feeder and that pipe fits on the post.

If you see that squirrels or racoons are managing to climb part way up, then wax and polish the plastic pipe. Use any good grade of automotive wax.

The vertical distance from the top of the feeder to any object a squirrel might get on should be 8 ft or more. The lateral distance can be less.

Squirrels will find this very frustrating at first, but after awhile will resign themselves to seeds dropped to the ground by the brids. There will be plenty fo these.

Your seed supply does have to be stored out of sight and in containers. So far, I have been lucky in keeping my supply inside an attached garage. They have yet to attack the side door or the door seal under the overhead door. However, good housekeeping is needed to reduce the idea there might be food on the other side of a door.

We have two species of squirrels: the gray and the fox or red. The red squirrel is much smaller than the gray, but far more destructive. These are the varmits that are more likely to chew holes in dwellings. Never allow these guys to have access to your roof. If they can get to your roof, by all means, search out and remove any pathways.

The red squirrel, when it gets desperate for food along about February will turn to eating green bark. They prefer smooth bark. One year, they stripped and killed my lilacs.

Gray squirrels will bite off the tender ends of evergreen trees, but this pruning seems to do little harm.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 4:09AM
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Our daughter lives in a wooded area and has lots of squirrels and raccoons. They keep all their seeds in the metal trash cans. They even painted them to really look nice. Solved all the problems.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 11:53AM
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My can filled with birdseed sits on the porch and has never been touched by my squirrels. It's a decorated metal one. My porch is filled with Adirondack chairs and rockers with pillows on all of them. Never been touched.

I would not trade my heavily wooded 1/2 acre brimming with all kinds of wildlife and birds for any chemically manicured suburban yard devoid of all. I have two koi ponds, a beehive, and 12 birdbaths and more birdhouses. Teeming with wildlife and ALL are welcome. I can't imagine living any other way.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 1:32PM
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I live trap them with a havaheart. Peanut butter on a tortilla chip. Haul them to nearby parks and enjoy seeing them there....

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 3:42PM
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Good for you, Nicole, for not killing them.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 3:46PM
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we don't have a choice...have a vacant lot next door and sure can't cut down trees that don't belong to us...so we feed...the one problem we have though, are the inter breeding? saw one tonight with almost no tail! then we have 2 toned ones...and only couple of normal...makes you wonder what's happening with nature...and we're what i'd call urban living (house on busy street)

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 6:26PM
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We have albino ones, white with pink eyes. They have been here for at least the 30 years we've lived here but they're kinda rare to see. It's fun when you see one.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 7:40PM
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We do the same as Nicole. Its easy enough to do. They all get brought to the same spot so they can regroup.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 10:34PM
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The Sicko behind us used to shoot the squirrels out of the trees with a BB gun and trained his dog to tear them up, often still alive. And not because of any damage, his wife told us, just because he didn't like them. Of course, this is the same guy who used cats for target practice when he was a kid.

Then hubby gave him a copy of the ordinance prohibiting BB's and other guns in our neighborhood and that put a stop to it. Now, several years later, the squirrel population has rebounded and pretty much everyone feeds them corn and seeds. No one has had any problems with damage of any kind.

Now granted, if they do cause damage it must be very irritating. And, in cases where they chew wires, potentially dangerous. But for us, the only option would be to live-trap and relocate. I can't even imagine killing them or encouraging children to use live animals for target practice. That is just awful.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 11:51AM
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Agree, Petra. But many have no regard for any living creatures. Maybe they should take a page from Marilyn's book.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 12:06PM
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