Recently, I went on a service call to an apartment complex in Manalapan, NJ in order to resolve a wildlife infestation The property manager was receiving complaints from tenants who were hearing rodent-type noises in their walls. As it turned out, this was a rodent infestation, but not mice or rats. These rodents were squirrels. When rodents or birds populate a neighborhood, they will often scavenge properties for food and shelter, especially as their numbers increase and they are competing for limited resources. If a house has open nooks and crannies, these resourceful animals are highly tempted to enter. This is particularly true during the colder months of the year.
As I inspected the exterior of the building, I came across a missing brick on one of the sides. As I moved closer to inspect, I was given a little surprise that made my heart skip. A squirrel jumped right out of the hole, stared at me for a few seconds, and promptly ran off. Peeking inside, I found pieces of straw, leaves, and other debris used to form a nest. As it turned out, this missing brick was an invitation for squirrels to use this building as coverage from the elements and to build a home. Time and time again, wildlife will exploit weaknesses in a structure to gain access and is an important reason why it is so important to stay on top of needed repairs.
Squirrels may be cute and fuzzy (many do not even know that they are part of the rodent family) and we admire their acrobatic skills in trees and on telephone wires. However, like all wildlife, once they make their way into your home, they can cause extensive and expensive property damage. Squirrels can find their way into deep recesses of structures that are very difficult to reach. This means lengthy and costly repairs. These animals also pose a health hazard to any occupants. Squirrels can transmit quite a few diseases from their droppings, particles of which can become airborne, including tularemia, typhus, plague, and ringworm. Serious harm and injury can occur.
The most effective method to safely remove squirrels from a structure is by installing a temporary one-way device. A “one-way,” as its name implies, allows the animal to exit the home, but prevents them from returning. It is a one-way “ticket” out of your home or other structure. For squirrels, this type of setup is often preferable to traps that can catch non-target animals. I set-up the one-way device in front of the main access point, and then placed hardware cloth over the one-way device to ensure that the only option to leave the home through the one-way device. The hardware cloth is made of a chew-proof material. Finally, I mark the one-way door with aluminum tape to monitor squirrel activity.
I scheduled a follow-up appointment to make sure the apartment building is squirrel free. The property manager informed me that his maintenance team will repair the missing brick once all of the squirrels have been evicted.