Squirrels become pests when they make a mess of yards and gardens. They eat food from bird feeders and destroy ornamental plants. If they get inside your home, they can chew through electrical wiring, damage wood structures, and create an unsanitary environment.
The standard control method for squirrels is live trapping and mechanical exclusion. For that reason, the average cost to hire a wildlife expert is between $200 and $600.
Here, you’ll discover:
- How to identify gray squirrels around your home or business
- The methods used by exterminators to set their prices
- Possible health risks associated with squirrels
- The difference between DIY control and hiring an expert
- Tips for getting rid of squirrels in your yard
If trying to exterminate squirrels on your own becomes too challenging, we recommend Orkin, Terminix, and Aptive. These exterminators have some of the best-trained professionals that are able to use traps, baits, and other chemically treated solutions that are often more effective than standard DIY methods.
For quotes from Orkin, call 866-701-4556, or fill out this form.
For Terminix quotes, you can reach them at 866-577-5051 or with this form.
Ed has been working in the pest control industry for years helping 1,000's of homeowners navigate the world of insect and rodent management. He manages Pest Strategies now helping homeowners around the world!
Table Of Contents
|National Average Cost||Cost Range||Minimum Cost||Maximum Cost|
|$400||$200 – $600||$150||$1,500|
What Influences Cost?
Exterminators and wildlife removal companies set their prices using several key determinants. Here, we list the essential ones.
Location of the Squirrel
The location of the squirrel within your property is vital to the cost calculation. Following is a list of pricing options according to where the technician has to remove the animal.
Keep in mind that these prices are the best estimate. In addition, they can change drastically according to the various regions within the U.S.
- Garage: $150
- Yard: $200
- Shed: $250
- Basement: $300
- Chimney: $450
- Attic: $500
- Roof: $550
- Crawl space: $600
- Ceiling: $750
Emergency vs. Non-Emergency
Squirrels never show up in your house at convenient hours. For that reason, you may need to call a professional at three in the morning.
Plan on paying at least $100 extra for after-hours service. That’s because most pest control and wildlife companies operate between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Furthermore, having a technician on-call is expensive for any business.
Not all pest control providers offer emergency services. So, it’s best to call around to find out which ones do.
Number of Squirrels
The prices we’ve listed so far only cover one or two squirrels. However, if you have an entire family of them nesting in your attic, you may have to pay much more.
You could get a break on the piece if the squirrels are all in one location. It also depends on how much time and aggravation the tech has to endure to remove them.
Rodenticide baits were once the preferred method for eliminating rodent pests in residential areas. The active ingredient would consist of either strychnine or anticoagulants such as zinc phosphide.
However, in 2014, the California Department of Food and Agriculture decided to ban these chemicals for residential use. That means you can only employ them to control pests near agricultural centers.
Other states quickly followed suit. Now, there are only a handful of states that allow poison baits for residential squirrel control.
Trapping squirrels can be a time-consuming project. The technician has to first assemble the trap. Then the bait needs to be placed properly. Lastly, there’s the problem of releasing the animal into the wild.
The price for trapping squirrels can soar based on the number of regulations imposed by your state. For example, in New York, only a licensed wildlife control operator can remove squirrels from your property. In addition, they need a special Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) permit for each animal they relocate.
Further complicating the process, most states have restrictions on where to release the animal. For example, in Illinois, the wildlife tech has to call the Illinois Department of Natural Resources district office each time to discover where the current release locations are.
The gray squirrel can fit into an opening the size of a baseball. So, for that reason, it’s vital to seal all entry holes they can get through.
For example, to prevent squirrels from nesting in your eaves and overhangs, the technician will use expansion foam or wire screening material to seal openings. To close pipe entry points, they’ll probably utilize steel wool.
Whatever the exclusion method, it’s typically built into the price. However, many pest control companies don’t offer this service. So, it’s best to ask if it’s included in the estimate before signing a contract.
There are a handful of wildlife removal companies willing to tackle repairs from squirrel damage. But keep in mind, the cost for the service is typically built into the price. You may be paying a premium for a project you can easily handle yourself.
Few pest control companies want to bog their technicians down with repair services. So, instead, they make local recommendations of contractors willing to do the work.
For that reason, it’s wise to get an estimate of repairs beforehand, if possible. This will ensure you know the full cost of getting rid of your squirrel problem in advance.
Sometimes, a wildlife removal specialist will recommend employing animal scaring measures. These devices can be as simple as a fake owl or as elaborate as an ultrasonic repeller.
In addition, your technician may install a squirrel baffle around your bird feeder. These cone-shaped gadgets fit around the pole to keep squirrels from reaching the bird seed.
Both of these solutions cost extra to implement. So, it’s a good idea to ask the company for an itemized listing of any add-on items.
Don’t Count on Free County Services
Fewer cash-strapped counties across the U.S. are willing to help with squirrel removal. Even if they are, it may take days or even weeks to send a technician to you. Worse, the person they send often has little training or experience handling squirrel infestations.
In most instances, a government animal control specialist will hand you a rusty, broken-down trap and give you some quick instructions on how to set it up.
While they’re willing to pick it up for you after catching the squirrel, it may not happen for several days, putting the animal at serious risk of dying.
For those reasons, it’s best to look for a qualified pest control company to help you solve your squirrel problem. It will save you a lot of time, hassle, and headaches.
Signs & Causes of Squirrel Infestation
There are other signs of squirrels aside from spotting them in your yard. We’ve listed a few of the most common ones here. Also, you’ll get a better understanding of what attracts squirrels to your yard.
Scientists classify gray squirrels as rodents due to the prominent front teeth they use for gnawing. They are about nine to 12 inches long, with a tail almost as long as their body. While they are mostly gray, they can sometimes display brown coloring on their thick coat.
Squirrels are known for their foraging habits. They bury stored food by digging holes in lush yards, making them a severe nuisance for homeowners.
Like most rodents, squirrels gnaw on hard objects to maintain their constantly growing teeth. Here are some of the areas around your home where you’ll notice the damage:
- Anything made of wood is subject to squirrel damage
- Exposed electrical wires
- Lead boots connected to vent pipes
- Aluminum fencing ties
- Trees and branches
In the wild, squirrels nest inside tree cavities. However, within urban environments, they can find a home almost anywhere humans happen to be. These are some examples of squirrel nesting sites:
- Wall spaces
Squirrel feces are often scattered throughout their nests. They are barrel-shaped and mostly dark brown to black.
You can also identify squirrels by their extensive urine trails. However, they are difficult to see without a blacklight.
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Health Risks of Squirrels
Since squirrels are rodents, they have the potential to become disease carriers. Although transmission to humans is not as prevalent as with rats and mice, there remains the possibility.
Below are three diseases squirrels directly transmit to humans.
Although there needs to be more studies conducted, evidence shows that squirrels can spread the bacterial infection, leptospirosis.
The primary pathway of the illness is through ingesting food or water contaminated with urine from infected squirrels.
Leptospirosis can also spread through the skin or mucous membranes with water that’s contaminated with urine from infected squirrels.
The symptoms of the disease include:
- Muscle aches and pain
- Yellowing of the skin
- Abdominal pain
- Redness of the eyes
Late-stage complications can include kidney or liver failure. Also, meningitis may set in if the disease is not treated promptly.
The plague bacteria is typically transmitted by infected fleas that feed off of dead rodents. In recent years, however, domestic cats appear to be the main culprit.
They often kill squirrels or other rodents infected with the disease. Then, when they playfully nip and scratch at their owners, they sometimes infect them as well.
These are the symptoms of plague in humans:
- Extreme weakness
- Abdominal pain
- Internal bleeding
- Tissue necrosis at the extremities
Another bacterial infection is tularemia, caused by handling infected animal carcasses. It often has grave health consequences. That’s why it’s so crucial to take care when disposing of dead squirrels and other rodents.
Here are the common symptoms of tularemia:
- Sore throat
- Mouth ulcers
- Swelling of lymph glands
- Skin ulcers, in some cases
DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
There is a huge contrast between DIY squirrel control and hiring a wildlife control company. Here, we’ll explain the differences between each. Then, you’ll be armed with the knowledge to decide which route to choose.
DIY Squirrel Control
Although getting rid of your squirrel problem yourself will cut your total costs, it can be a difficult project. That’s because you have to employ several removal methods. Here are some examples:
Live Squirrel Traps
It’s always best to use traps suitable for the type of animal you want to catch. In this case, traps used for skunks and raccoons are going to be too big. Conversely, groundhog traps will prove too small.
Instead, choose a trap that is about eight inches wide and at least 28 inches deep. That size will ensure the animal has room enough to show its anger without hurting itself or your equipment.
The best bait to use is chunky peanut butter spread in generous amounts just behind the trip plate. Also, you can roll some bird seed into the mixture for an even more enticing attractant.
Assuming your state allows you to live-trap squirrels, you’ll probably be required to release them back onto your property. That’s so it has a better chance for survival. Also, you’re less likely to upset your neighbors by releasing it into their yard.
To limit access to your home, it’s a good idea to cut tree branches away from your roof. Also, be sure to screen access points. The areas to consider are:
- Crawl spaces
- Chimney tops
- Roof vents
- Attic vents
Also, to keep squirrels away from bird feeders, consider investing in some squirrel baffles. These cone-shaped devices help deter the animal from climbing the pole to get to the ornamental bird food. Another option is to enclose the feeder in a steel cage that allows only small birds to feed.
Several squirrel repellents are available. Most use a combination of essential oils and other natural materials. They typically come in either a spray formula or contain granules you can use for broadcast applications.
Repellents are useful when combined with other squirrel control measures. However, they are seldom effective as a stand-alone solution.
One final word should be mentioned about using mothballs to repel squirrels. Simply put, they don’t work. Also, it goes against the product label, so it’s a violation of the law to use them as wildlife repellents.
Hiring a Professional
In urban areas, you probably won’t find any squirrel trappers available. So, you’ll have to settle for a nuisance wildlife specialist. That’s okay since it’s what they’re trained to do.
However, before going that route, you may want to try a reputable pest control company instead. For example:
- Orkin technicians are highly skilled in wildlife removal operations for both residential and commercial customers. They know immediately where your squirrel problem is located. They can formulate a plan within minutes of their arrival.
- Terminix utilizes only the most humane trapping methods to get unwanted squirrels and other critters out of your yard. They also specialize in raccoon removal, opossum control, and skunk removal services.
- Aptive technicians know how to get rid of squirrels from your home quickly. This eco-friendly company respects wild animals in their natural environment. So, every effort is made to protect the squirrel from harm.
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What is the Standard Squirrel Removal Process?
Most people are nervous about hiring a pest control company for the first time. It can get even more unnerving when there’s wildlife involved. So here, we’ll take you through the squirrel removal process step-by-step.
Setting up the Service
Most pest control providers have a website that allows you to schedule service through an online form. However, we don’t recommend doing that.
Instead, it’s best to speak with a customer service rep over the phone. This will allow you to freely express what type of problem you’re experiencing. It will help put you at ease knowing that humans are still in charge of the company.
Once your technician arrives, they typically perform a thorough inspection. First, they’ll check the yard, crawl space, and attic for signs of squirrel activity.
Then, they’ll give you a quote based on their findings. However, if you’ve already paid for the service online or over the phone, be sure to review the details of the agreement with your technician.
Don’t expect them to take the lead on this. You’re the homeowner. Therefore, you’re in charge of the entire operation.
The Removal Process
Your technician will most likely utilize trapping as the quickest way to remove squirrels from the inside of your home. Also, they make use of one-way doors to allow squirrels to leave but not re-enter.
In some instances, your tech may ask to install scaring devices or bird feeder baffles. These items may or may not be included in the price. So, it’s always a good idea to check beforehand.
In most cases, your contract will include a follow-up service visit from your assigned technician. This typically involves a reinspection of the property. It could also include checking traps, replenishing bait stations, and dead animal removal as necessary.
Extra Money-Saving Ideas
- Check your homeowners’ insurance policy to see if pest damage is included. You may be surprised.
- Obtain at least three quotes to ensure you’re getting the best value.
- Although wildlife control companies offer exclusion and decontamination services, they tend to be much higher priced than pest control companies. Also, they often have a harder time justifying the added costs.
- Whichever company you decide on, make sure it’s licensed, bonded, and insured in your state.
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Because pest control products can be dangerous to your family if mishandled, we always recommend consulting with an exterminator even if just to ask for advice on how to apply pest control products yourself.
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