Squirrels cause great damage to property but the most pressing concern is their habit of chewing through electrical wires. Exposed wires are a serious fire hazard, expose your children and pets to electrocution and may cause a blackout or short-circuit your electric. Squirrels chew through wire insulation manly to sharpen their teeth, make the teeth stronger, or control the teeth’ growth rate. Like most rodents, squirrel teeth grow quickly and out of control. The animal has to gnaw constantly to reduce the growth and to ‘trim’ the teeth. If you have a squirrel problem contact us for prompt and guaranteed squirrel removal.
Can Squirrels Chew Through Wire?
Squirrels are rodents, and just like rats and mice, they chew constantly.
Squirrels have four large incisor teeth that grow continuously throughout their lives, as well as eight molar teeth that are used for grinding down food. Squirrels’ incisor teeth are extremely sharp, and if they become overgrown, not only will the squirrel be unable to eat properly, the animal may even injure itself.
To keep their incisor teeth at a safe and manageable length, squirrels chew and gnaw things. Chewing is a natural rodent behaviour that helps to wear down the incisors. In your attic, the most obvious target for squirrels’ chewing is wood, in the form of beams, roof trusses, and floorboards.
Also, beneath the soft plastic of your electrical wiring are bunches of metal fibers, which make the perfect abrasive tooth file for a squirrel. Damaged wiring leads to electrical shorts, which can be a dangerous fire hazard in your home, not to mention causing your air conditioning system or lighting to fail.
Why Do Squirrels Chew on Car Wiring?
Squirrels chewing on electrical wiring under your vehicle’s hood is a common problem in households in Ontario, especially during the cold winter months when the rodents take shelter in your garage.
Vehicle manufacturers have inadvertently contributed to the problem by introducing more environmentally-friendly, soy-based wire insulation and coatings, which are unfortunately appetizing to rodents, including squirrels.
There are two main reasons why squirrels chew on car wiring.
- A squirrel’s sharp incisor teeth can grow up to four to five inches every year, so the animals constantly chew and gnaw to keep their teeth filed down.
- The use of plant-based, recyclable, environmentally-friendly materials, including soy-based wire coatings, are very appealing to hungry rodents. So, your car’s wiring doubles as a tasty snack and a dental treatment all in one for a squirrel. What’s not to like, as far as these nuisance invaders are concerned?
Also, you may discover squirrel damage to other parts of your vehicle, including the seat cushions, insulation inside the engine compartment, and the seatbelts. That’s because the same plant-based materials and derivatives are now used in the manufacture of many other vehicle fittings and components, besides wiring.
Rodent damage to vehicles is an expensive and extremely annoying nuisance. Although there are many DIY squirrel repellents and deterrents that you could try, few are effective in the long term, and your best course of action is to consult a professional wildlife removal firm for advice.
Vehicle manufacturers are aware of the problem of rodent damage, and some do offer a solution to consumers in the form of rodent repellent tape. The tape is treated with a super-hot capsaicin product that is thought to repel squirrels.
However, tape will not protect components that are located underneath your vehicle, and a rodent infestation is best dealt with by a professional.
What is the Best Squirrel Repellent?
There are two main types of squirrel repellent; ultrasonic and chemical.
Ultrasonic squirrel repellents
The human ear cannot detect ultrasonic sound waves. Ultrasonic sound is above 20 kilohertz (kHz), and although you can’t hear it, squirrels and other animals can. In fact, studies carried out by the University of Toledo discovered that squirrels could hear ultrasonic sound waves as high as 49 kHz.
Ultrasonic repellents work by emitting ultrasonic sound in variable pitches and in a tempo and beat that irritates and frightens any rodents within the ultrasonic device’s immediate radius. Anecdotal evidence suggests that ultrasonic repellents are extremely effective at driving away squirrels, mice, and rats, especially when a cluster of ultrasonic devices is used in the problem area.
Chemical squirrel repellents
Chemical squirrel repellents are substances that are supposed to smell foul to squirrels and other rodents, effectively making the environment so unpleasant that the animals go elsewhere.
There are many homemade squirrel repellents that some people swear by, including cayenne pepper, mothballs, and ammonia. However, the general consensus among professional wildlife removal experts is that DIY repellents don’t work.
Commercially produced rodent repellents do have a slightly better track record. That said, you do need to continually replace the chemicals to maintain any effect that they have.
For example, chemical repellents that are sprayed around potentially vulnerable outdoor entry points must be replaced after high winds and heavy rains or snow. And that’s a time-consuming hassle that might not work anyway.
Consult a Professional
So, although some people do report seeing positive results when using chemical and ultrasonic squirrel repellents, the only surefire way of keeping squirrels out of your property is to hire a professional wildlife removal company to do the work for you.
Experts who are experienced in dealing with squirrels will know just what’s required to get rid of the pesky critters, saving you a lot of time, wasted money, and hassle.
How to Protect Wires from Squirrels
Cover your wires with PVC piping. Identify the wires closest to the squirrels and cut a piece of PVC piping lengthwise and place it over the wires so that they are inside the pipe. Cover the PVC with soft insulation. Squirrels prefer to gnaw on hard material so the additional insulation should discourage them from chewing the pipe. The PVC will also rotate under the squirrel’s teeth and claws further discouraging the animal from chewing.
Next, find all the downspouts and railing leading up to the wires and cover them with masking tape. The idea is to make the railing slippery for the squirrels and discourage them from climbing up to the wiring.
This is of course only a band-aid solution to a more serious problem.
Call a Wildlife Removal Service
Your biggest concern isn’t how to stop the squirrels from chewing wiring but rather how to get rid of the squirrels entirely. Apart from the damage, they are causing your insulation, squirrel urine and droppings carry plenty of diseases some of which are airborne. These animals also breed rapidly and your ‘small’ squirrel problem will grow out of control in no time.
Hire a wildlife removal expert in Canada to handle the problem. DIY removal may be tempting but is rarely successful.
People who trap squirrels or exclude them using one-way doors without first checking if there are babies in the nest cause the young to die of dehydration and starvation. This causes an unbearable stench of rotting corpses and a soiled conscience. You can also be sure that a mother squirrel will do everything in her power to get back to the nest if she is excluded. This often means tearing your house apart and causing extensive damage.
You also need to clean and disinfect the squirrel nest. The job requires protective gear and special equipment if the squirrels are nesting inside the chimney, attic or other difficult-to-reach places.
A wildlife removal expert will get rid of the squirrels, clean up, repair damage and seal your house to prevent squirrels or any other wildlife from taking up residence in the future.
Article Updated: March 2, 2020