The eastern gray squirrel is commonly encountered in the eastern half of North America.
The gray squirrel breeds when it reaches one year of age, with litters typically produced in January and June. The preferred nesting location is inside hollow trees, although when necessary, females will construct leaf nests made from sticks and leaves in the upper branches of trees. Although many eastern gray squirrels will construct leaf nests in urban and suburban areas where standing dead trees are unavailable, the survival rate for young is dramatically lower.
Therefore there is strong pressure on squirrels to find suitable nesting locations inside void spaces. Attics of houses with entry points available through gable vents or other holes provide the insulation and cover needed to ensure survival for young squirrels. Squirrels can do significant damage inside attics. In addition to soiling insulation with droppings and urine, squirrels can gnaw through wires creating potential fire hazards. An integrated pest management approach to squirrel prevention can help to avoid structural damages. Attic vents should be covered with hardware cloth and tree limbs should be trimmed six to eight feet away from rooflines to prevent squirrels from accessing roofs. Gutters should be kept clear of debris and in good repair since clogged gutters can cause adjacent wooden areas to rot, providing a potential access point for squirrels to gnaw through and enter attic spaces.
When squirrels are confirmed to be nesting in an attic space it is extremely important not to accidentally trap squirrels inside the attic though exclusion efforts. Squirrels that have inadvertently been sealed inside an attic space can cause significant damage as they attempt to gnaw their way out of the structure. Traps set outside of the structure will often result in multiple individuals being caught; however it is difficult to determine if the squirrel that has been captured is the same that is causing damage to the structure. Traps can be used inside the attic space, but the technician must have access to the attic on a daily basis for the entire duration of the service, which can often be challenging in residential accounts. One-way doors can be easily constructed or purchased to allow squirrels to exit the attic and not return or specially designed traps can be fitted over the exit holes to harvest squirrels as they exit the structure. One way doors ensure that all squirrels are out of the structure before exclusion begins.
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