With their fluffy tails and nimble acrobatics, squirrels seem cute and harmless to many homeowners. Yet behind the furry exterior, Houston’s gray and fox squirrel populations can inflict serious property damage when they set up residence in attics, soffits or walls. Squirrel removal in Houston and their nests takes strategic work, but restores homes to pest-free peacefulness.
Why Squirrels Invade Houston Homes
Houston’s mild winter climate, mature trees and plentiful gardens make prime habitat for squirrels year-round. As urban density increases, squirrels move into residential neighborhoods seeking:
- Sheltered Nest Sites – Squirrels chew into attics, soffits, chimneys and other protected void spaces ideal for nesting and birthing young.
- Stable Food Supply – Backyard bird feeders, pet food bowls, vegetable gardens and unsecured trash provide easy calories.
- Escape from Predators – Hawks, coyotes and other natural squirrel predators are scarcer around homes.
Once inside, squirrels can breed and flourish rapidly. An adult female can birth up to two litters of 2-4 offspring per year. Colonies grow in pillowy leaf nests built in attics or wall voids. Let’s explore the home impacts squirrels cause once settled in.
Risks and Damages from Squirrels in Houston Homes
Though pint-sized, squirrels become destructive tenants that jeopardize home integrity and health:
- Structural Damage – Squirrels gnaw into shingles, soffits, vents and siding to create entry holes. They also chew up wires, insulation and beams.
- Fire Hazards – Frayed electrical wiring damaged by gnawing can ignite attic and wall fires. Also a risk: their flammable nest debris.
- Noise Nuisances – Squirrels scampering through attics and walls make infuriatingly noisy pests for homeowners trying to sleep or concentrate.
- Disease Risks – Squirrel droppings, fleas and nesting materials contain diseases transmittable to humans through air vents or bites.
- Costly Repairs – Fixing structural breaches, wiring damage, ruined insulation and fouled ductwork left by squirrels gets expensive fast.
Squirrel problems won’t fix themselves if left unchecked. Professional wildlife removal and exclusion is required.
Removing Squirrels Humanely and Legally
When Houston homeowners discover squirrels inhabiting their home, they often consider:
- Trapping and Relocating – Illegal in many areas and risky for relocated squirrels unlikely to survive being moved.
- Lethal Traps – Inhumane and prohibited in some municipalities.
- Poisons – Causes slow, painful deaths. Harms children and pets. Generally prohibited.
- Scaring Devices – Rarely deters squirrels permanently. They keep coming back once the novelty wears off.
Humane Exclusion using one-way doors is the most ethical, legal and effective removal method. How it works:
- All but one entry point is sealed.
- A one-way door is installed over final entry/exit that lets squirrels out but not back in.
- Once squirrels are confirmed gone, the last point is permanently sealed.
This removes squirrels without harm and prevents re-entry. Professional removal experts know proper seasons and exclusion tactics to avoid orphaning dependent young squirrels in nests.
Preventing Uninvited Squirrels from Returning
Blocking squirrel entry points won’t keep them out long without also removing what attracts them to your home. advised prevention measures include:
- Removing bird feeders and other food sources
- Installing cap chimney caps and vent covers
- Placing predator decoy owls or snakes in problem areas
- Pruning trees back from touching the home’s roofline
- Keeping attics and crawlspaces clean and well-sealed
- Using moth balls, ammonia-soaked rags or pepper spray deterrents
- Wrapping metal mesh around vulnerable surfaces like chimneys and roof vents
Keeping squirrels from returning requires making your home as inhospitable as possible. Don’t welcome them back in.
Signs Revealing a Houston Home is Squirrel-Infested
Telltale clues that squirrels may be inside your home or trying to get in include:
- Noises like scampering, gnawing or squeaking in walls, attics or chimneys
- Sightings of squirrels racing across roofs, up drain pipes, or peeking from openings
- Ripped insulation, papers or fabrics scattered outside entry holes
- Damaged fascia boards, soffits or roof shingles surrounding accessed areas
- Squirrel droppings around the exterior home perimeter
- Bad smells from urine or rotting food debris in nests
Don’t ignore these red flags. Act quickly to evict squirrels before populations and damage multiplies.
Dangers of DIY Squirrel Removal
It may seem straightforward for Houston homeowners to trap nuisance squirrels themselves or plug some holes with caulk and steel wool. DIY squirrel removal often backfires through:
- Failing to find and seal every possible entry point – Squirrels just chew new holes.
- Using inhumane or prohibited removal methods injuring squirrels.
- Allowing young squirrels to become trapped behind sealed holes.
- Getting bitten or scratched by defensive squirrels. They have sharp teeth!
- Squirrels dying in hard to reach places like walls or chimneys.
- Violating local ordinances against transporting and releasing wildlife.
Botched DIY removal wastes money on temporary fixes. Let professional wildlife experts handle squirrel evictions right.
Benefits of Professional Squirrel Control
Reputable pest control companies have skills and tools homeowners lack for effective, lasting squirrel removal:
- Finding all entry points through comprehensive inspection
- Humanely extracting squirrels using one-way doors at proper seasons
- Completely sealing exterior openings with steel mesh and other durable materials
- Safely removing nests, droppings and other contaminants per protocols
- Repairing structural damage to roofs, vents, soffits etc. caused by squirrels
- Providing written guarantees that squirrels are removed and exclusions maintained
- Ensuring no dependent young are orphaned or trapped
Though pricier than DIY, professional squirrel control brings permanent relief homeowners can rely on.
Costs of Squirrel Removal and Exclusion
Homeowners can expect to invest $500 to $1500 for professional squirrel removal and permanent exclusion. Variables affecting price:
- Number of entry/exit holes to be sealed
- Amount of repairs needed to damaged areas
- Scope of attic or crawlspace contamination
- Prevention measures needed post-removal
- Any follow-up services required if new squirrels appear
View these costs as worthwhile property protection from ongoing squirrel damage. DIY attempts waste money on temporary fixes.
Keep Squirrels Gone with Smart Prevention
Once evicted, keeping squirrels from returning requires diligent prevention:
- Perform regular home inspections looking for potential new entry spots. Seal them up immediately.
- Trim back tree limbs touching the roof. Squirrels jump from trees onto roofs.
- Ensure chimney caps, vent screens and crawlspace vents remain secured. Replace deteriorated screens.
- Remove bird feeders and other food sources squirrels target.
- Keep attics and crawlspaces clean and dry to discourage nesting.
- Install gutter guards to block access through drain pipes.
Staying vigilant is key to keeping Houston homes squirrel-free long after animal removal. Don’t tolerate new infestations.