Live Squirrel Trapping
If the population of tree squirrels must be reduced, trapping is most often the method of choice. Live-catch 24″ x 8″ x 7″ and 16″ x 5″ x 5″ or similar size wire cage traps are very effective. If squirrels are entering the premises via overhead routes such as trees or power lines, traps placed on roof-tops, at gutter level or secured to tree limbs may be the most appropriate settings. For best results in dealing with trap-shy squirrels, traps should be prebaited for several days with the doors secured in the open position; when the bait is readily taken, the traps can be re-baited and set. A wide variety of baits may be acceptable: peanuts, peanut butter, walnuts, pecans, acorns and sunflower seeds have all been effective. Live-catch traps must be checked at least once daily to remove squirrels or to release other animals accidentally captured.
When necessary (i.e., live-trapping efforts have failed), red (pine) squirrels can be eliminated with the discretionary use of rat snap traps, if placed with the safety of children and non-target animals in mind. The same baits suggested for live traps can be used. All baits should be tied to the trigger with thread or light string; otherwise, some squirrels will become proficient at stealing baits without being caught. These traps can be secured in attics and roof-level storage areas where red squirrels are active.
Exclusion (rodent-proofing) is the best and most permanent solution to squirrels gaining access to dwellings. Sheet metal or wire hardware cloth are most often used to close openings. It is important when closing all possible entry routes not to trap animals inside. Therefore, a thorough trapping effort must precede any exclusion procedure in order to achieve lasting results. Squirrels may be prevented from climbing trees by attaching a wide metal band or collar around the trunk at least 6 feet from the ground. Aluminum roof flashing, fitted snugly, works very well but must allow for growth to prevent damage to the trees. These collars should be about 18 to 20 inches wide with no gaps or rough surfaces to permit climbing. Collars are useless if tree limbs are within jumping distance of the ground, nearby trees, fences, or other structures accessible to squirrels.