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Pest controllers prepare for the pest they detest

03-01-2011 03:57 PM CET | Energy & Environment

Press release from: Blueberry PR

/ PR Agency: Blueberry PR
A Surrey pest control company is gearing up for its annual surge in calls to deal with squirrel problems as March sees the furry creatures starting nests in lofts across the country.

Cleankill Pest Control experts say electric cables chewed by squirrels are a common cause of house fires and they can also cause thousands of pounds worth of damage by chewing their way through roof joists and pipes.

A Hertfordshire family was devastated when their £400,000 bungalow in Hertfordshire was destroyed last year in one of the many fires caused by squirrels

Paul Bates, Managing Director of Cleankill Pest Control, said: “People think that squirrels are cute and cuddly but they actually cause more problems than rats. Squirrels are very determined creatures and once they enter your loft it is very difficult to get them out and keep them out. Rats, on the other hand, tend to enter lofts by accident and don’t normally try to find their way in again.”

Squirrels, along with bed bugs, are one of the pests Cleankill staff hate most as there have been several occasions when heavily gnawed and weakened roof joists in lofts have nearly resulted in employees falling through ceilings.

Like rats, squirrels have ever-growing incisor teeth and the best place for them to gnaw when they are in your loft is the roof timbers. It is quite common for a pest controller to climb into a loft to find the joists he is treading on are bouncing ominously because squirrels have chewed a hole in them.

Paul went on to explain that grey squirrels are a pest that generates opposing emotions in many people: “The cute fluffy tailed animal that is fun to watch ingeniously trying to get the nuts out of the bird feeder – or the illegal immigrant that has slowly forced out our cuter home-grown red squirrel?” he asks.

“If you shave off its tail, the grey squirrel will actually look very similar to a rat which, of course, is a rodent. Squirrels are related to rats who tend to be disliked because of their hairless tails, but rats actually invade buildings far less than their fluffier-tailed cousins who will gnaw away at the fascias and soffits of roof spaces to get into the quiet, cosy insulation in the loft,” Paul added.

Thoroughly blocking up any likely holes and gaps will help prevent squirrels from entering the building, but only if it is done properly.
Individual trees in the garden can be protected by fitting specialist metal collars or sleeves, but this is really only possible on mature trees, which will not be growing fast, as a tight fit is essential.

If prevention does not stop the problem, then killing them may be the only solution. The best course of action is to call in pest control professionals like Cleankill. A variety of methods are possible, though trapping and poison cannot be used where there is any risk of harm to Red Squirrels – a protected species in the UK.

Originally introduced from America during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the grey squirrel has spread widely and today is a well-known feature of British parks, gardens and woodland. However, they remain a serious forestry pest, causing considerable damage each year, especially to young trees.

Cleankill started in 1995 and is a specialist provider of pest control services to retail, commercial and industrial properties throughout the UK. The company deals with ‘distress’ pests such as wasps and fleas, as well as preventative maintenance against public health pests such as mice and rats. Cleankill can also clear and proof buildings against pest birds. The company prides itself on fast and efficient service delivery and aims to be recognised as a market leader for innovation and new pest control techniques. For further information go to or call 0800 056 5477.


For further information or interview requests, contact Suzi Christie at Blueberry PR on 01435 830031 or e-mail

Notes to editors:
Squirrels forage for a wide range of food, including fruits and fungi. In addition to their traditional diet of nuts, they will also take eggs or young birds. They breed twice a year – in early spring and then again in the summer – producing three or four young on average. The young are able to breed at a year old.

Squirrels make nests – known as dreys – to shelter in which are usually constructed from twigs and lined with soft, warm materials, such as moss, dry grass or feathers. Normally, these are located high in a tree or in a hollow in the trunk. Squirrels sometimes make several dreys and construct one within a roof space – leading to the sorts of problems mentioned earlier.

Squirrels usually enter the roof spaces of buildings by climbing or jumping from nearby trees. Once inside they will tear up insulating material to build their nests, gnaw woodwork, plastic piping and electric wiring - sometimes leading to floods or fires. They can also contaminate water tanks with their droppings.

How can people get rid of them?
The most effective control method is called proofing which involves physically preventing entry to the roof space by blocking up gaps and entrance holes.
Loose or damaged soffits should be replaced, and any remaining gaps should be plugged with tightly wedged wire mesh. The proofing work should be carried out when squirrels are out of the roof space.

Dean Farm House,
White Horse Road,
Rushlake Green,
East Sussex,
TN21 9QU

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