Problems Winter Squirrels Cause in DC-Area Homes
You've probably noticed that we have squirrels in DC. Boy, do we have squirrels. They're everywhere! Usually, that's not a problem. In fact, it's kinda fun seeing them playing in the yard, scrambling up trees or eating an acorn on the railing of the back deck. Wildlife brings life to the nature outside our homes. But, when they start to become a problem, they are a hassle few of us have time to deal with. And winter is a common time for them to become a problem.
If They Are Cold, Let Them In... No
On a cold, blustery day, we humans enjoy going into our temperature-controlled homes and being greeted by the warmth. Before we even get to the door, we're already thinking about it. We might even have in mind exactly how we'll take advantage of that heat, such as putting our mittened hands on the radiator in the entranceway, hovering over the wood stove in the kitchen, or standing in front of the fireplace in the living room. Squirrels don't have these ideas on their mind. They don't know how wonderful and warm it is inside your DC home, until they happen to go by a current of heat escaping from the roofline of your home. When they do, it is usually more than enough incentive for them to try and chew their way in and take advantage of that heat.
Once squirrels have gotten in, there are many ways they can be a problem all through the winter months. Here are just a few of them:
- Squirrels don't stay in your attic. They go in and out of whatever hole they've created and search outside for food. This can increase the damage they did getting into your home and give more opportunity for water to get in. This can lead to fungus, mold, and other water issues within your walls.
- Squirrels create nests in attic spaces. The materials they use to create those nests are usually found right inside your home. They rip up insulation, tear drywall, and damage other building materials.
- Squirrels may use boxes as a location to nest. The cardboard of a box can be used for nesting material or the boxes themselves can be a nesting location. Either way, squirrels can damage items you have in storage as they make themselves at home. If you have precious keepsakes in your stored boxes, those items could be damaged beyond repair.
- Wildlife don't go outside to use the restroom. When squirrels get into your home, they will do their business everywhere they roam. That can be an issue as their feces and urine can have harmful bacteria and diseases.
- Squirrels bring company. While it is certainly bad to have a squirrel in your home, what they bring in with them is even worse. If a squirrel is infested with ticks, fleas, mites, or some other ectoparasite, those parasites could infest your home. The diseases associated with ectoparasites is long and scary. They can spread Lyme disease, alpha-gal allergy, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia, plague, and more. These can lead to damaged internal organs, human mortality, and lifelong health complications. The risks are dependant on many factors that are too long to cover. Reasonable caution is the best course of action when dealing with wild animals and the parasites they can carry.
- Squirrel attacks. This might sound amusing but being attacked by a squirrel is anything but amusing. Outside your home, squirrels are mostly docile creatures that will flee when you get too close. But a trapped or terrified squirrel can become aggressive. A momma squirrel is even more aggressive. It is never a good idea to be in a closed room with a scared squirrel.
What Should I Do?
When squirrels get in, it is best to have them removed by a licensed and experienced wildlife control professional. There are many things that can go wrong. A professional will make sure the proper equipment and methods are used to humanely extract the animal and deal with decontamination issues and secondary pest threats. Most importantly, they'll help you prevent future infestation.
If you need assistance with wildlife control, we hope you'll consider American Pest. In light of all the many dangers squirrels can present, it is important to choose a pest control company with a track record of successfully resolving wildlife issues. You can trust the QualityPro Certified team at American Pest to get the job done right. Contact us for a free estimate to begin. We're here to help.
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