Flying squirrels present the same kind of problems that regular gray squirrels do. They want to live in your attic and you don't want them there. Since they are rodents, they have the same diseases as other rodents. This reason alone makes them unwelcome houseguests even though there are several other reasons as well, like smelling up your house and making creepy noises in late into the night.
Contrary to the gray squirrels, flying squirrels are nocturnal and hunt at night, going back and forth to the attic and trees all night long. They love to live in large groups, so if you see one entering your attic, you may as well assume you have two dozen or more additional flying squirrels beneath your roof.
Flying squirrels cause a distinct bad odor with their droppings and urine. Bacteria in the feces and urine may spread illness to humans. If bitten it could result in an infection. If the animal has rabies, treatment must be initiated and the sooner the better.
What Can You Do To Prevent Flying Squirrels From Living In Your Attic?
Flying squirrels eat pretty much the same things as do eastern gray squirrels. Prevention may be in part by taking away bird feeders and anything that may serve them as food. If you have many oak trees in your yard, perhaps cutting the ones closest to the house would minimize the risk of having them in your attic. This would make them have to go a farther distance to gather acorns and bury them, hopefully into the opposite direction of the house. The other thing that may possibly help a little is to cut down large overhanging tree limbs.
Most importantly, however, is to thoroughly check out the entire roof, any gables, any dormers and eaves for openings or holes and close up every single gap that may provide entry into your attic. Either plug the holes or place an exclusion over it so that once the flying squirrel exits the attic, it cannot return.
Repellents: As with so many pesky animals who love to set up residence in your house, mothballs are always touted but never effective. Some have advocated strobe lights but let's keep it realistic: How many people will put up strobe lights in their attic? Most people will do what is familiar and that would be the ineffective mothballs. Save your money for a professional.
Techniques And Exclusion: The single most effective technique to rid the attic of flying squirrels is by catching them in traps and then relocating them to an area several miles away from their current home. Flying squirrels can be caught in a regular trap attached to the hole they are using as an exit or in an exclusion trap which permits one-directional movement only. Of course, they usually have more than one entrance and exit hole. It takes a keen eye to find all the small openings they can access.
The other thing the trapper should be aware of is the timing of the trap placement. Knowing their nocturnal habits will determine when to place the cages. One cage is never going to be enough for catching and caging flying squirrels. They are colonizing rodents and live in groups. Therefore, to catch all of them, a number of cages must be held ready.
Once it is determined that your attic is free of the squatters, exclusion devices should be placed at strategic points to close off any future attempt to inhabit the attic again. These exclusions can be tight wire mesh to close holes in areas where air should circulate. Exclusion caps can be placed over fireplace chimneys to prevent flying squirrels from entering chimneys.
A cleaning crew to decontaminate the entire attic after it is free of flying squirrels is well advised. Inhaling the bacteria coming from the droppings or from urine spread out into the insulation may be a serious health hazard.
We are the Pest Education Network, a non-profit organization that focuses on wildlife and pest removal education. Our approach utilizes Integrated Pest Management, a strategy advocating prevention and humane methods.