Northern Flying Squirrel Removal and Control, Flying Squirrels in the Attic
Northern Flying Squirrel Removal and Control
Squirrels may be a valuable part of the ecosystem, but when they build their nests in houses, garages, or barns, they can make annoying pests of themselves. Structural damage, chewed wires, noise at night, and make getting rid of squirrels in your house a priority.
You can make your eradication efforts more effective and efficient, though, with some information about the northern flying squirrel’s habits and lifestyle.
Northern Flying Squirrel habits
Northern flying squirrels are found throughout Canada and in parts of the US (see map above). Since they’re nocturnal, one distinguishing feature is their large black eyes. Their fur sports a varied pattern of grey and brown, and their undersides are mostly white.
The northern flying squirrel has a characteristic squirrel diet. They eat primarily nuts, acorns, fungi, and lichens, supplemented by fruits, buds, sap and the occasional insect and bird egg.
Flying squirrels are most active just after sunset and just before sunrise. In winter and during the birth of their young, they nest in the hollows of trees. Their summer homes are outside leaf nests called dreys. They have been known to share nests, in groups up to 8 individuals, especially in winter to keep warm (they don’t hibernate). They have one litter per year, between April and June.
One flying squirrel subspecies, the Virginia Northern Flying Squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus fuscus), is endangered. Before you begin your eradication efforts, a call to your local or state wildlife management agency about the occurrence of this squirrel in your area is a good idea.
Dealing with Flying Squirrel Pest Problems
Squirrels quickly become habituated to visual or sound (including the ultrasonic ones) frightening devices and pay little attention to them after a couple of days. We always suggest that you hire a Animal Removal Professional
Trees that overhang roofs or are close to telephone lines should be cut back to slow the movement of squirrels about the yard.
Because squirrels often travel on overhead telephone or power lines, and fence tops, they frequently find entrances to structures at about these heights. Screening or blocking all potential entrance sites such as small gaps under the eaves, overlapping roof sections, and knotholes, can help keep them out. If a small opening is found, they can enlarge it by gnawing. In the absence of an obvious entrance, they can gnaw and create an entrance into an attic. Sheet metal or 1/4-inch wire hardware cloth are suitable materials for closing entrances.
When closing entry routes, be sure you haven’t screened an animal inside the building. One way to test whether any squirrels are left is to plug the entrance with a loose wad of newspaper; if any remain inside they will remove the plug to get out.
Other exclusion tactics include:
§ Wrap tree trunks with 12" (or greater) aluminum flashing at least 6 feet off ground.
§ Screen attic vents from the outside with 1/4" hardware cloth to prevent entry.
§ Cap all chimney flues with professionally manufactured stainless steel caps.
We have several additional pages on squirrels and their removal, the following are pages that deal with pest squirrel problems: how to get rid of squirrels from my home, squirrel in the wall, squirrel in the attic, squirrel exclusion and several other problems.
Trapping Northern Flying Squirrels
The fact that traps are readily sold to the public often leads people to believe that they can just go out and trap animals. It’s often not that simple, though.
Some squirrels are protected or endangered in some areas, and either cannot be trapped or require a permit for their removal.
It is not legal, in almost all states, for nonprofessionals to trap, relocate, and release squirrels. Check the regulations posted by your state’s department of wildlife (or fish and game department), and you will see that it is probably illegal to do so if you are not a licensed wildlife control professional. If it is legal, you may be required to kill and dispose of the animal on your property at the time of capture, often under laws regarding the handling of an animal that could carry rabies or other diseases. You can surf this section and find some good information on how to get rid of squirrels from my home, Squirrels should never be aloowd to stay in your attic.
How to trap Squirrels
If you do want to try trapping them on your own, here’s the lowdown on a few types of traps, and some pointers on how to use them.
The single animal live cage trap is by far the most common type of trap. Cage traps are generally metal cages into which the squirrel enters, lured in by food. Near the back of the cage is a trip pan. When the squirrel steps on the pan, it triggers the trap door shut, and the animal is trapped inside, alive. The most commonly sold brand in the United States is the Havahart brand.
Repeating live cage traps are mounted on the hole that the squirrels are using to enter and exit the house. If all alternative routes of escape are sealed off, the squirrels have no choice but to enter this trap on their way outside to get food and water. This trap has a one-way door that allows the squirrels into the trap, but not back out. These traps can hold several squirrels at once.
Check the traps at least daily, or several times a day, so that you don’t leave an animal suffering in a cage for long. Don’t let your fingers enter the cage, or the squirrel may lunge and bite! If you do relocate the squirrel, it should be at least five to ten miles from the capture site.
The one-way exclusion door may be the best method for removing squirrels from attics. The squirrels are able to push their way through the spring loaded one-way door and leave the attic, but then they can’t get back in. The only drawback is if the home has a lot of wood or is in a bad state of disrepair. In that case, the squirrels will simply chew their way back in elsewhere.
The best way to get the squirrels is to set the traps on the roof, near the entry points. Traps set in the attic will not catch the squirrels. Squirrels in attics do not enter traps in attics, ever, for whatever reason.
If you are working on the roof, which is pretty much the only way to go for successful squirrel trapping, then there are serious safety concerns. I would never advocate an inexperienced person to work on a roof or with ladders.
Northern Flying squirrels in my attic
The most common reason for a squirrel to enter an attic is when a female squirrel needs a safe place to give birth and raise its babies. The babies, as they lay in a cluster in an attic, aren’t capable of entering traps. So when you do trap a squirrel, check for nipples! (Remember – don’t let your fingers enter the cage. Squirrels can lunge and bite quickly.) If you can see them, you’ve got babies up there, and they’ve got to be found and removed. If you’re not willing or able to locate and remove the babies, then release the squirrel (or hire a professional) so as not to leave orphaned young to decompose in your attic.
Here’s how to find the nest. The mother squirrel stashes them in a safe place, Often times we will have reports of squirrel in wall often down at the very tight edge of the attic, down in the soffit, or down a wall. Explore the whole attic. Find the built-up nest of insulation and debris, often near the edge of the attic near the roofline, and remove the young by hand. Of course, when in an attic, be mindful to walk only on the wooden beams, or you’ll fall through the ceiling. Be careful not to get insulation on your skin, and wear a HEPA filter mask to avoid breathing in airborne particles. Wear thick gloves; even baby squirrels can bite and claw. Put them in a pillowcase, and bring them out of the attic.