Here at Canton Termite and Pest Control, we receive many calls about flying squirrels. While there are approximately 44 species of flying squirrels around the world, here in Cherokee County the only two who tend to cause us trouble are the Northern flying squirrel and the southern flying squirrel. Flying squirrels are most easily recognized by the flaps of skin that connect their legs and arms. Though they do not allow for actual flight, these flaps allow the squirrels to glide between treetops with great ease.
Both species of flying squirrels that are native to the United States are present in the state of Georgia. The Northern flying squirrel is located in the northeastern part of the state, and the smaller Southern flying squirrel is located in every county in Georgia. While they are located broadly across the state, flying squirrels tend to be more active in rural areas such as Waleska, Big Canoe, Ballground, and Jasper.
The two species can be distinguished by their differing fur coloration. The Northern flying squirrel has thick, brownish fur with a white underside while the Southern flying squirrel has more grayish colored fur and a cream colored underside.
Flying squirrels are nocturnal animals. They will often forage for food at night. They have an extremely varied diet, and are known to commonly consume fruits, nuts, insects, and bird eggs. They are nesting animals, and will store up a food supply during the spring and summer months that will provide for them during the winter.
Unfortunately, when flying squirrels live near to residential areas, they will sometimes enter into homes and establish nests in attics and other out of the way areas. Because of their ability to glide, the flying squirrel can reach parts of the home that would otherwise be inaccessible. They will typically crawl through an opening or create one in the side of the home or roof. Once inside, they will create a nest out of any materials they can find. Flying squirrels have been known to take insulation and remove it to use as a nesting material. This can both result in damage and higher heating expenses.
Once the flying squirrels are inside. They will often try to form communities and store food for the winter. Since they are nocturnal, they can sometimes hide from homeowners for a long period of time. One of the most obvious signs of flying squirrel infestation is the sounds of their movements during the nights. They will also leave behind droppings and damage. Common locations of flying squirrel damage include:
- Holes in walls
- Electrical wiring damage
- Damage to beams and rafters
- Damage to insulation
While some other pests do cause similar damage. Flying squirrels will often be causing this damage in areas that cannot be reached by pests that are on the ground. It is also important to note that, due to their tendency to chew on wiring, they can create potential fire hazards in areas that are not commonly checked for damage.
Another danger that can be caused by flying squirrels is the spread of disease. Flying squirrels have been confirmed as vectors for Typhus(also known as Spotted Fever) as well as several other arboviruses. Fortunately, there have been fewer than 50 cases over the past few decades. However, it still is a potential danger. Another health concern is the bacteria that can exist both on the squirrels and the droppings they leave behind. Due to these concerns, any traces of the squirrels should be treated as a potential contaminate.
Flying squirrels are particularly difficult to remove from homes. Their tendency to build nests in out of the way areas as well as their ability to access spaces that are not accessible by ground makes them difficult to locate. Removal of flying squirrels requires specialized equipment and training to perform safely. Many times, it is necessary to use extremely long ladders and scaffolding to reach the squirrels. Working on these ladders and scaffolding is dangerous work and should be undertaken with the upmost caution.
Once the squirrels have been located, specialized traps, both lethal and non-lethal, are often used to remove the infestation. After these steps have been completed, it is important to repair any damage the squirrels might have caused and to sanitize the area they inhabited.
Due to these difficulties, flying squirrel removal is a job best left to the professionals. Here at Canton Termite and Pest Control, our wildlife division has years of experience dealing with flying squirrels. We are proud to offer industry leading solutions for any pest or wildlife problem you may face!
So if you have a problem with flying squirrels, or simply a question, call us today at 770-479-1598! We will be happy to help you in any way that we can!
Here’s to YOU living pest free!