As an owner of a Licensed Wildlife Trapping & Pest Control company based out of Johns Creek & Dawsonville Georgia, we get a lot of calls involving homeowners struggling with critters in their attic. A lot of people are getting frustrated due to the tremendous amount of misinformation available on the internet. Sometimes it is not a positive thing that people are being empowered by the “University of YouTube” to attempt to resolve the issue on their own. Sure some may be successful, however more times than not, it ends as an epic fail. Obviously we do not get called when it is a WIN. So let’s discuss some concerns about DIY Squirrel Trapping.
First let’s mention the fact that in North Georgia our battles with the squirrel population are with Gray Squirrels & Southern Flying Squirrels. That is it. Both of these species are on the North Metro Atlanta’s Top 3 list of Nuisance Wildlife Species. They come into your attic for protection from the elements & predators, most of the time to safely have their babies.
All rodent’s front teeth (incisors) are open-rooted which means they continue to grow. To avoid the teeth growing to the point in which they physically cannot eat or doing bodily damage to themselves, they have to constantly gnaw on material to keep their teeth filed down. For this reason, it is never a good idea to let the squirrels live in your attic. The damage alone to your insulation, wood beams, wiring, and pipes warrants immediate action being taken to remove them.
All Wildlife Control companies should have a game plan to resolve the problem and prevent a future problem. This should look like this:
- STEP ONE: SQUIRREL TRAPPING: This is a big source of contention for us. We do everything by the book. We are diligent about being humane & adhering to our licensure. Apparently not every company does. A Wildlife Technician should assess your situation and determine what is the best trap, bait & placement after he has inspected your specific situation. Not two jobs are identical. Nor should every trap placement be either. There are several options when it comes to the type of traps that could be used. Here in Georgia, a Wildlife Control company trapping squirrels, licensed by the Department of Natural Resources is required to “cage trap and release the squirrels unharmed into their natural habitat”. Standard squirrel trapping isn’t the only way to get the squirrels out of your attic. There is such a thing as a one-way valve which, when used properly, allows the squirrel to leave but denies them to return inside. To leave the offending squirrel on the property or not is always a tough decision. We opt not to use one-ways unless the situation deems it the absolute best option.
- STEP TWO: SQUIRREL EXCLUSION: Exclusion is the act of going around the home and determining the current entry points and suspect or potential back-up entry points for all wildlife. This is a major area where companies differ on opinion. The common areas excluded are: gable vents, soffit returns, construction gap (builders gap), utility chases, vents, siding trim gaps, chimney gaps, etc. Many companies fail in this area. Let me explain why. .
Squirrel-Proofing a home…
Repeat after me… “Not all exclusions are created equal”. We feel that in a situation when you are spending upwards to a couple thousand dollars that it is an important decision that for obvious reasons should not be taken lightly.
We are of the opinion that when you have a company that is large enough to where they have employees doing the work, without a partner or a Quality Control Inspector checking the work, the quality of the workmanship seldom meets the owner’s expectations in the field.
We even take extra time-consuming measures to spray the visible metal for longevity and aesthetics. Since we work in areas where there are strict deed restrictions and visual expectations. We are family owned & operated so everyone on the property is an owner, however, not all companies have that luxury and have to rely on employees to meet the owners expectations.
As a homeowner, if you are in a situation where you know it is the employees doing the work, always ask if a supervisor comes and spot checks their work. Too many times we have been hired to clean up someone else’s work (another company performed work that is not keeping critters out). When this happens we know the areas to immediately check; the highest construction gaps and the corners which are always the most challenging. Dishonest contractors count on a homeowner not having the ability to check their work. So communication & trust is KEY.
Pricing is always an issue. We have had some of the lowest prices in our area, not that we are racing to the bottom but because we simply charge what is fair. However, keep in mind in our industry you have to compare apples to apples. You can take a company’s price and look at another price and say “You are higher”. You have to compare side-by-side, are they sealing the same amount of items. It has been our experience that when we do a whole home exclusion we quote the current method of entry as well as the common back-up methods. This measure has rewarded us with having one (1) breach in our work in the past decade. ONE! We are thorough. Look for thoroughness. The cheapest is not always the same or the best.