A squirrel’s nest is called a drey, and they tend to take two different forms. Some squirrels will use existing tree cavities if they can find them – holes made by woodpeckers, for example – as they offer great shelter against poor weather. Others will nest like birds, building structures with leafy twigs. They line these with things like grass, moss, leaves and feathers for greater warmth and comfort.
Sometimes, though, squirrels can gain access to your property – and that’s when the need for squirrel pest control comes in. They can use holes they find in buildings as shelter, which means that they can sometimes end up nesting in attics and lofts. Even if they don’t nest here they can still use your attic or loft as a source of nesting materials, resulting in damage to the structure as well as to electrical wirings and property contents.
Gardeners and farmers who are wondering, “Are squirrels rodents?” will notice rodent-like behaviour when it comes to their plants. When looking for food sources, squirrel activity can result in the loss of bulbs, fruits and garden plants: it’s both infrastructure and vegetation that can be affected by their activity.
Effects of squirrels on vegetation and infrastructure
We’ve explained previously that squirrels can benefit the ecosystem by effectively helping to plant new trees. However, it’s not all good news: they can also have a negative impact on local tree populations. Grey squirrels in particular have a habit of stripping bark from trees. This removes the tree’s protective layer, causes it stress and leaves it more susceptible to infection.
They can also cause significant damage to buildings, mainly through gnawing and chewing. All they need to access a property is a hole the size of a golf ball – and if a hole isn’t quite big enough, you may find that they chew through wood, shingle, metal, soffits or fascias to gain access. Once in they may chew wires or rip up insulation to use as bedding.
As well as weakening the structure of your property, squirrels can pose a health risk. Their faeces can carry diseases like leptospirosis and salmonellosis. Piles of droppings can grow mould and fungi. What’s more, they can carry parasites like bedbugs, ticks and fleas which can put your health at risk.
All of this shows why pest control services are so important when you spot squirrel activity in and around your property.