Squirrel pest issues in homes and buildings have been increasing since the summer of 2018 in Bangor and other cities throughout Maine. Pest control professionals in the state claim that squirrel-related calls are becoming unusually frequent, but only in certain neighborhoods. Wildlife experts state that squirrel populations can increase and decrease substantially for a variety of reasons, and it is not uncommon for single residential areas to see an increase in squirrel pest issues while other residential areas located nearby don’t. According to Griffin Dill, an integrated pest management professional with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, squirrel food sources and the number of squirrel predators can vary significantly from one neighborhood to another.
While squirrel populations tend to remain stable, climatic conditions influence their numbers around homes. For example, squirrels tend to be more active during hot and dry summers, and relatively mild winters allow a greater number of squirrels to survive the colder months in Maine, which then leads to an increase in squirrel litters during the summer and fall. Whatever the reason, squirrels have certainly been causing their fair share of property destruction throughout the state in recent years, as the critters likely caused a 2013 building fire in Dedham by chewing through electrical wires.
Surprisingly, structural fires resulting from wire-chewing squirrels are more frequent than most people would guess, and last year, squirrels chewed through wires at a Brewer power station, resulting in a complete loss of electricity in 3,000 households. This incident also caused serious road congestion due to the loss of power to Brewer traffic lights. Also in 2018, 3,500 Emera customers in Penobscot County lost power after squirrels chewed through electrical wires at a Millinocket substation. Squirrels are cause significant damage to homes by chewing through exterior walls and insulation in order to gain access into attics. Several residents of an apartment complex in Bangor noticed squirrels in their unit after the pests accessed the structure’s soffits and chewed entry holes that led into the wall voids. After gaining access into wall voids, squirrels urinate, defecate, rip apart insulation, and occasionally cause power outages.
Have you experienced squirrel pest issues in recent years?