Squirrels continue to plague readers

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DEAR SUN SPOTS: I have a suggestion regarding your Jan. 26 column about squirrels. Trapping squirrels will only work for a while. You must change the environment or the squirrels will be back. If you are providing squirrel habitat, there will be squirrels.

We got the best results with a gadget we purchased online. It emits a high-pitched sound that squirrels can’t abide. It worked like a dream. The squirrels left our attic and haven’t been back.

We recently purchased another one designed to drive away bats. I can’t remember the website but this was a few years ago and there are probably plenty of them out there by now because they work so well. — Chris, Monmouth

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ANSWER: Sun Spots has also purchased those “screamers.” She bought one that was supposed to work for mice and spiders, but did not find it effective. However, you are not the only one who likes them.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: There is a plug-in thing that is sold at Walmart and probably most hardware stores to get rid of squirrels. Just plug it into the wall close to where you hear them. You may need more than one. It really is working for us. They were in our walls and above in ceilings. Since plugging these in they are still around outside but not in our building. We are squirrel-free. — Gerald, Turner

ANSWER: Sun Spots is happy for your squirrel-free status, but she is still skeptical about those devices.

She looked online and found several places that sell them, including www.microncorp.com/Rodar for $90! They are available more cheaply, as Gerald points out.

Mr. Sun Spots, who was trying to evict squirrels from his office building, built his own screamer. You could hear it from one end of the property to the other, and he thought it worked, but couldn’t be sure because he had to leave to or go deaf. (He also nearly asphyxiated himself trying mothballs.)

In addition, www.wildlife-removal.com agrees with Sun Spots, as does the Federal Trade Commission:

“First of all, absolutely no scent, such as mothballs or ammonia, will make them leave, nor will ultrasonic sound emitters or strobe lights. These tactics have been ruled fraudulent by the FTC, and they do not work. You have to remove the animals or they will never leave the attic.

“The best means is by trapping and relocating the squirrels. The other method is to use one-way exclusion doors that let them exit the attic, but not get back in. This latter method requires a chew-proof house (or they’ll just chew their way back in) and no access to other entry points. The entry holes all must be sealed once the squirrels are removed.

“Finally, it pays to inspect the attic for damage, such as wire damage, and the attic should be cleaned of droppings and parasites, to prevent the possible spread of disease, and to get rid of the animal scent that can attract future animals into the home.”

In the Jan. 29 Sun Journal, Page B3, this same question was addressed. That expert suggested using one-way doors, installed at one of their access points. Block up all other holes with hardware wire or something else they cannot chew through, then install this special door in the remaining hole. It will let them leave, but not go back in.

At urbanwildliferescue.com, they recommend a one-way door made by Tomahawk Trap Co., www.livetrap.com, 1-800-272-8727. They also offer directions for making your own:

1. Block any or all holes except for one, preferably the main one, if you can tell which one that is.

2. Attach a piece of hardware cloth over this last hole but leave a 2-inch gap at the bottom of the hole, at its widest point.

3. Be sure to use the factory edge of the hardware cloth, where the gap is, to avoid any sharp points that may cause injury to the squirrel.

4. With your fingers, form a lip with the hardware cloth by bending it toward the outside. The squirrel will be able to squeeze out of the hole, but with the hardware cloth bent to the outside, he will not be able to re-enter.

5. Spray all patched areas with a repellent such as Ropel (available at hardware or home and garden stores).

6. Be sure to spray around the one-way door so that the squirrel will not be able to enlarge the hole and get back in.

Finally, don’t use the one-way door when a female squirrel is likely to be nursing very small squirrels, who might be unable to climb out themselves and will die an unpleasant and smelly death in your walls or attic.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: We hope you or some of your readers can help us with a problem that is driving us out of our minds.

For the last month we have squirrels, I think, not big ones in our lower kitchen cabinets. We trapped at least two a day. I thought I found the place where they are coming in. I put granular animal repellents down the hole, and I sprayed Critter Ridder all around the hole. Also I sprayed Critter Ridder all around the area and even stuffed it with steel wool.

The animals are about 7 to 8 inches long, they have a white stomach, light tan fur and bushy tail. We’ve here more than 10 years and never had this kind of problem. Will they eventually go away?

There is nothing to eat in the cabinets. We trap then in Havahart traps. All this stuff is supposed to drive rodents away.

Is D-Con safe to use? How does it work? — No Name, No Town

ANSWER: Sun Spots does not recommend poison. Not only is there the danger that the creatures may die in your house and decompose, but if they escape they may be eaten by other animals, such as your neighbor’s dog, and kill that innocent animal.

From your description, it sounds like your squirrels have another access hole or two. You will need to find all the holes and close them (use hardware wire, not steel wool, which they can push through).

Also, Sun Spots looked up Critter Ridder online and discovered that there are several varieties, not all of which are effective against rodents, including squirrels.

Sun Spots suggests you follow the directions provided above. All the websites she checked recommended Ropel, rather than Critter Ridder, which seems to be designed more for outdoor locations such as gardens.

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be e-mailed to sunspots@sunjournal.com.

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