How To Deal With Westchester’s Most Annoying Vermin: Squirrels

Love ’em or hate ’em, squirrels are a ubiquitous part of the landscape in the Hudson Valley. Despite the rodents’ relatively harmless rep compared to other local, fear-inducing vermin, scratching in your attic or an abundance of them on your roof may warrant contacting a wildlife-removal specialist.  

Tips to Ward Off Intruders

• Cut away long branches from near the roof. 

• Remove bird feeders or move them at least 20 feet away from house. 

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• Clean and cover grill (squirrels can eat the drippings and then nest inside). 

• Make garbage cans inaccessible. 

This summer, CBS New York reported accounts of “brazen” intruders in New Rochelle homes who gnawed their way through screens or sat in gutters to chew through roofs, and then helped themselves to fruit atop kitchen counters. Mischievous squirrels can also destroy insulation, damage electrical wires—which can lead to house fires—and block chimneys with their nests, causing dangerous carbon monoxide buildup. They can also carry mites, ticks, and other parasites into homes. 

Fall through winter, homeowners complain of the  critters denning—nesting and storing food indoors—in groups of 8 to 10, or many more. Thomas Adams, owner of Bats R Us, a pest-removal service in Verplanck for 37 years, suggests installing heavy-duty screens over vents and checking the attic, shed, and garage regularly for disturbances (droppings, nests, etc.) to deter tenants. 

In most cases, serious infestation discoveries are best handled by professional nuisance wildlife control operators, who are licensed by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to trap and transport animals off-site. (Animals captured outside of their regular hunting season by landowners must be killed or released on their property per state law.)

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When searching for a removal service, ask companies if they target specific offenders, offer permanent solutions, and employ humane methods. (Find licensed  nuisance-species specialists at www.dec.ny.gov/animals; and best practices at www.nwco.net.) Also ask if they clean up animal waste, and perform damage repairs and exclusion measures, as squirrels often gain access through openings in siding and roofs.  

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