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Protect homes from squirrel invasions

Both the eastern gray squirrel and the eastern fox squirrel are game species in Mississippi. Therefore, Mississippi law does not allow landowners to trap these animals. However, squirrels can be hunted legally in two seasons: fall season ends Feb. 28 ...

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By Marina Denny MSU Extension Service STARKVILLE, Miss-- The coldest days of winter do not seem to slow squirrel activity. One significant reason is that mating season for eastern gray squirrels lasts through January, and babies arrive about six weeks later. Most squirrels build nests for these babies in the forks of tree branches or in the hollows of tree trunksTheir nests are created mostly out of dry leaves and twigs. Marina Denny However, squirrels occasionally become pests by nesting in attics or exterior walls of housesTheir activity in these spaces may cause structural or mechanical damage and cost homeowners significant time and money. To enter houses, squirrels sometimes travel along power lines and may short out transformersOnce inside a house, they may gnaw on wires and chew holes in pipes while gathering nest-building materials. Squirrels continue to be nuisances around the house at other times of the yearThe eastern gray squirrel hoards food in several thousand caches per seasonThe process of burying or digging up their hidden treasures may damage lawn areas or disrupt landscaped beds. Squirrels may also chew bark or twigs on a homeowner’s prized ornamental shrubsThey will eat planted seeds, pick fruit off trees and nibble bites out of garden vegetablesMore often than not, they will raid bird feeders before the birds ever have a chance to eat. Both the eastern gray squirrel and the eastern fox squirrel are game species in MississippiTherefore, Mississippi law does not allow landowners to trap these animalsHowever, squirrels can be hunted legally in two seasons: fall season ends Feb28, and the spring season is from May 15 until June 1. For most Mississippi landowners, exclusion and habitat modification are the best ways to keep squirrels out of houses or stop them from destroying landscapes. Exclusion To deter squirrels from climbing power poles, place a 2-foot-wide metal collar around the pole 6 feet above the ground. Place 2-foot sections of lightweight plastic pipe around wires. Close up any openings to attics or buildings with heavy, 1/2-inch wire meshMake sure there are no squirrels inside before doing this. As a last resort, wire mesh fences topped with electrified wires may keep squirrels out of your fruit and vegetable gardens. Habitat Modification Keep tree limbs trimmed to at least 6 feet away from buildings to prevent squirrels from jumping onto roofs. Don’t plant trees within 8 to 10 feet of an exterior wall of a house or other structure. Install baffles above bird feeders, and grease poles to make climbing more difficult. Provide an alternative food source for squirrels, such as ears of cornHang or nail the ears on a tree or fence post as far away from bird feeders as possible. If squirrels still cause problems after you take these precautions, consider hiring a commercial wildlife control operator to trap and remove the animalsCall the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks in Jackson for a list of approved operators around the state. Editor’s Note: Extension Outdoors is a column authored by several different experts in the Mississippi State University Extension Service.     Released: January 5, 2018 Contacts: DrDaryl Jones Photos for publication (click for high resolution image): Contact Your County Office Select a County function initialize() { // Load a local GeoJSON file var script = document.createElement('script'); script.setAttribute('src','/sites/all/themes/msuext/json/counties-geo2.json'); document.getElementsByTagName('head')[0].appendChild(script); } // Defines the callback function referenced in the json file. function county_callback(data) { // sort list of counties from the json file alphabetically by name data.features.sort(function(a, b){ var countyA =, countyB =; if (countyA countyB) return 1; return 0; }) // Loop through each county listed in the json file for (var i = 0; i Daryl Jones Extension Professor natural resource enterprises wildlife habitats management Your Extension Experts MrBill Hamrick Senior Extension Associate Wildlife & Fisheries DrDaryl Jones Extension Professor natural resource enterprises wildlife habitats management MrAdam Rohnke Senior Extension Associate Urban Wildlife Wildlife and Fisheries Enterprises Mississippi Master Naturalist Program DrBronson Strickland Extension Professor Wildlife Management MrTAdam Tullos Senior Extension Associate Wildlife & Fisheries Enterprises; Forestry & Wildlife Management Related News March 23, 2017 Natural resources workshop set for May 16 in Raymond February 5, 2016 Natural resources workshop set for March 1 in Rolling Fork September 17, 2015 MSU research facility changes to meet needs January 21, 2015 Quail, turkey management will be discussed Feb27 January 30, 2014 Landowners need liability knowledge Pages1 2 3 4 5 6 next › last » Related Publications Publication Number: P1446 Attract More Wildlife Through Timber Management Publication Number: IS1981 Cleaning Your Gas Stove Publication Number: IS1982 Cleaning the Bathroom Publication Number: P2568 Protect Your House from Termites Publication Number: P2765 What Homebuilders Need To Know About Termites Pages1 2 3 4 5 next › last » Follow Us Facebook Twitter Pinterest Instagram 4-H About Extension Agriculture Community Family Food and Health Insects Lawn and Garden Natural Resources Topics MSU DAFVM Calendar Add Event News Newsletters Publications Shows County Offices Extension Units Distance Education Staff Directory Mississippi State University is an equal opportunity institution Discrimination in university employment, programs or activities based on race, color, ethnicity, sex, pregnancy, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, genetic information, status as a U.Sveteran, or any other status protected by applicable law is prohibitedFor more information, please contact the Office of Compliance and Integrity. 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