Professional Squirrel Trappers - Live Traps or Snap Traps: Are these the best way to get rid of squirrels in the attic or rats without additional problems?
The scent glands of squirrels are located in their feet. As they run they leave little scent road maps for other squirrels to follow. The pheromones in rodent urine (squirrels are rodents) can last up to two years. Tree squirrels love to live in attics. It’s warmer, drier and safer from predators. Unfortunately most attics are not equipped with squirrel toilets. But this is not a problem for the squirrels - they will just urinate and defecate all over the attic. And I do mean all over. It is amazing to see an attic where squirrels have been residing. Raisin sized dung all over the place and matted down insulation which is stained with and smells of urine. It is truly nasty – but not to the squirrels. The urine and glands in the squirrels’ feet leave pheromone trails which are like a welcome mat or “attic for rent” sign for future squirrels. This is why squirrel trapping, poisoning, or house sealing has to be done over and over and over by homeowners at great cost each time and most definitely accumulatively. I know from experience and so does my pocketbook.
I am in the pest control industry. I have to be familiar with many aspects of the industry. In one of the pest control classes I attended, taught by a pest control inspector, the inspector informed us that integrity was a big part of keeping our state license. As part of ensuring this, the inspectors would “shadow”/observe unawares a pest control operator and before an inspector does a site, chemical, equipment, paper work, and service vehicle inspection he/she would often watch the pest professional from a distance without the pest control operator’s knowledge he/she was being watched/inspected. The inspector teaching the class said that in the vast majority of the times an animal was live trapped at a customer’s residence or business the animal pest was unethically released within two blocks of where it was caught. In this case the pest would just return to the capture site. Pest control operators in most states are required to take the pest at least two miles away from the capture site before releasing it. The inspector told the class that our license would be in jeopardy if we were caught doing this unethical practice.
So if you hire a pest control company to live trap and/or seal your home or business - what certainty do you have that the pest control employee won’t just let the squirrel, mouse, or rat out of the live trap just down the street? Again this was not the exception but the majority according to the inspector’s class. And if you snap trap the pest, or glue trap the pest, or zap trap the pest – What keeps other animal pest from following the scent trail to your home or property?
And Still There is Another Problem to Consider:
Grey squirrels mate twice a year - in the early spring or late winter and in the summer. The mother squirrel will give birth to her young about 45 days after mating. A squirrel has 4 to 6 baby squirrels per litter. A pair of healthy squirrels could produce a dozen offspring each year. In twelve months the offspring become breeding adults. Each litter does not leave its mother's nest for the first 10 to 12 weeks of its life. In fact, baby squirrels are blind for the first 8 to 10 weeks of their lives. A baby squirrel is totally dependant on its mother's milk to live. If you have squirrels in the attic there most likely are baby squirrels in your attic 40% of the year. Squirrel trapping or poisoning could leave baby squirrels up in your attic in a nesting site to die of starvation. A mother squirrel will nest in the safest place she can find to protect her young. Attics are ideal places. The cavities in the your home's walls are many times chosen by nesting squirrels - the radiant heat in the winter and the cool air from air conditioning make the interior house walls good nesting sites for mother squirrels. These cavities are accessed by the squirrel through top of the wall openings in your attic. If you use rat poison or a squirrel trap to try to get rid of squirrels in the attic, then you could be smelling dead, baby squirrels rotting in your attic or walls for weeks. And if you use a rat poison to kill the squirrels, the squirrel will often retreat to its nest in your attic to die and you will be smelling its rotting body for weeks. Often interior walls have to be cut into to remove the dead squirrels. An attic squirrel may nest under attic flooring and the flooring will have to be removed to remove the dead squirrel in the attic. AND PLEASE KEEP IN MIND, THAT IF YOU HEAR SQUIRRELS IN YOUR ATTIC THROUGHOUT THE YEAR, YOU MOST LIKELY HAVE 4 TO 6 BABIES PER EACH MOTHER SQUIRREL IN THE ATTIC 40-50% OF THE YEAR. A MOTHER SQUIRREL CAUGHT IN A SQUIRREL TRAP, WHETHER SNAP TRAP OR LIVE TRAPPED, AND CARRIED AWAY - OR - A POISONED SQUIRREL - OR - A SQUIRREL SHOT WITH A PELLET GUN - COULD, 40% TO 50% OF THE YEAR, RESULT IN DEAD YOUNG SQUIRRELS IN YOUR ATTIC OR INTERIOR HOUSE WALLS LEFT TO DECAY AND SMELL.
Rat traps used as squirrel traps. Rat traps are designed for rats - not for squirrels! I am speaking of the snap trap variety of rat traps. I have seen a squirrel that was trapped in one of these rat traps and it did not kill the squirrel. The rat trap used as a squirrel trap was placed in an attic by a well meaning husband trying to get rid of his squirrels in the attic. He had placed about a dozen rat traps in a 2,000 square foot attic space. The traps had been up in the attic for seven years! A squirrel ran past one and tripped the rat trap trigger. The rat trap snapped shut on the attic squirrel's foot. Where do you think this injured squirrel with a rat trap attached to its broke leg ran to? It ran to a interior house wall where its nest was. There's no place like home. The squirrel managed to force its broken leg through the wall opening in the attic with the rat trap still attached. But as it tried to leave the interior wall space to go back up into the attic the rat trap used as a squirrel trap became stuck and so was the injured squirrel. Unfortunately the squirrel had to be put down.
If a rat trap is used as a squirrel trap the squirrel will usually not face an immediate death being as the rat traps are not designed to be used as a squirrel trap. The squirrel will definitely suffer and if it is able to move it will often retreat to its squirrel nest in your attic to die and rot and smell.
If a poison is used to kill a squirrel, besides the risk of it or its young dying in your attic or home's wall, is the risk of a sickened or dead family pet.
Every year there a hundreds of cases of secondary poisonings from a dog or cat chewing on or partially ingesting poisoned rat, mouse or squirrel. If a dog or cat finds a dead rodent - and they can smell them out, they find what to them is a chew toy and/or an extra meal. As they carry around the dead rodent in their mouths, as some kind of trophy, they are ingesting the very poisons that killed the rat. At least, your pet could get sick and sometimes they die. This death will occur some times because there is often, over time, more than one dead rat or squirrel that they find and the poisons accumulate in the pet's blood stream until it becomes sick and dies, or at least runs up a considerable veterinary bill.
With the Rodent Strobe line of pest control strobe lights these problems are addressed. First, we have found that if a squirrel or rat is living in a house wall that it accesses through a space that is protected by a high intensity strobe that the squirrel or rat will give up going to its nesting area in the wall. It just is not worth it - see our How It Works page.
Second, Attic squirrels and rats are good mothers. If their young are in what the rodent mother deems an "unsafe" area she will move them to another place that she sees as safe. We recommend that a person using our pest control strobe lights simply turn off the strobes for a few hours at a time during the first few days to allow the mothers to move their young. Then when all the attic squirrels, attic rats, raccoons, etc., are gone - turn on the strobes and leave them on. Problem solved! No dead, rotting squirrels or rats. No dead or sick family pets. No repeating and repeating the squirrel trapping, or rat trapping nightmare.