Squirrel Removal & Control in Houston, TX
Biology and Habits
Fox and gray squirrels are active from dawn to dusk, with most feeding occurring in the early morning, and then again in the mid-afternoon. These tree squirrels usually feed on fruits, nuts, and other vegetation. Squirrels may breed twice a year (usually around January and June) and have a 42 - 45-day gestation. They typically have 2 - 3 young that are weaned at 10 - 12 weeks and can live up to 4 years old in the wild. These rodents nest in tree cavities, leaf nests, and attics or crawlspaces. Common entries to the home are roof vents, louvre vents, soffit vents, construction gaps, and rotten fascia boards.
Trapping techniques usually include cage traps for live-trap and removal and are generally baited with nuts and peanut butter. Live traps are set in the line of travel outside the den entrance (traps are not placed inside because there is inadequate light, and the den is a shelter, not a feeding site). Squirrels inside the home almost always come in through the fireplace or furnace chimneys, and should only be removed by trained personnel with the proper safety equipment (gloves, traps, control poles, etc.). Toxicants are illegal and are not used in squirrel control (animals may die in wall voids and cause odor problems). There may also be secondary poisoning hazards to pets (e.g. dogs that eat sick squirrels), and children may be bitten trying to assist sick animals.
While most trespassing animals are merely a nuisance, they can pose a real threat to humans. It is estimated that rodents gnawing electrical wires cause 25 - 50% of all fires of unknown origin. Squirrels are known carriers of encephalitis and typhus, although they are generally not carriers of rabies.
Damage concerns include squirrels: chewing the bark off trees and shrubs, raiding crops and bird feeders, and shorting out transformers while traveling power-lines. In the fall and winter months squirrels enter dwellings for shelter, and in the spring they enter dwellings to raise young.
Trimming trees back 8-12 feet from the structure will help to prevent roof access. We use sheet metal, hardware-cloth, aluminum or wood to seal and close up entry holes to prevent future access.
For chimney exclusions, Animal-Safe Wildlife Control Specialists install only NFPA 211 and BOCA approved chimney screens and rain-caps to prevent squirrel entry. Chimney caps are available in black galvanized or stainless steel models and come in a wide range of sizes.