Grey Squirrel Control
Grey Squirrels are a non native species originating from North America. But unfortunately, like many other invasive non native species, this rodent is perfectly adapted to survive on these shores. Initially introduced in the late 1800’s as a novelty addition to large country estates, grey squirrels quickly started to migrate around the country, making home in most of our woodlands, pastoral land, parks and gardens.
The mistake of adding the grey squirrel to our ecosystem became apparent across the 20th century. A competitor to our beautiful native red squirrel, the presence of the grey’s has sent their population crashing down to around 140,000.
Recent estimates of the grey squirrel population size is around 2.5 million. Grey squirrels are now listed in the IUCN international list of 100 worst invasive non-native species.
Grey squirrels are larger, more aggressive and territorial than our own squirrel – literally squeezing them out of traditional ranges. A more worrying issue has been the introduction of squirrel pox virus, that the red’s have no immunity to and which usually proves fatal.
Grey squirrels damage and kill ornamental trees in gardens and park land causing financial losses and upset. They are a major consideration in commercial tree production making it virtually impossible for foresters to grow high-grade hardwood through the risk of losing up to 30% of the crop.
Tree damage is most frequently seen on the branches and trunks of oak, beech and maple; bark is stripped by squirrels looking to consume the the sap underneath. Tree stems break or die following stripping, which in turn leads to changes in the structure and species composition of high canopy in amenity woodlands. On younger trees ‘ring barking’ will lead to the mortality of the tree, which is unable to sustain itself.
Successful nesting for our birds is affected by grey squirrels. A recent study gave evidence of negative association between woodland songbird fledgling rates and presence of grey squirrels. The grey’s are well known to take both eggs and young chicks and birds have no viable defence against these attacks.
Our homes and businesses are equally vulnerable. Grey squirrels will often access properties, usually entering loft spaces and roof voids. Once inside they will get hard to work chewing woodwork, chewing electrical wires, tearing and redistributing fibreglass insulation for bedding, chewing water pipes leading to floods and often creating a great deal of noise. The list is pretty endless.
Unfortunately most insurance companies do not cover squirrel infestations although the animals are estimated to nest in up to 50,000 homes.
Unfortunately grey squirrels must be controlled by law and it is an offence to release a grey squirrel when trapped (under Schedule 9 of the Wildlife and countryside Act – 1981, it is illegal to release a grey squirrel into the wild, or allow one to escape). With this in mind LANDGUARD has developed and utilizes the most humane capture and dispatch methods for the species. Using skills adapted from time game keeping and latterly working on red squirrel conservation projects in Cumbria we will quickly, safely and expertly take back control of your property from invading grey’s.