Q. I have lived in my house for nearly 28 years and I own a nice rambler built in 1967. I and my neighbors have many beautiful mature trees in our front and back yards. I used to have squirrels come inside my attic and chew up wood under the roof. Since I have put up vinyl siding and new vinyl soffits that problem has stopped and there is no evidence that any part of my roof and soffits have been chewed up and invaded by the squirrels again. And that is good. The bad thing that now plagues me is that since last fall squirrels have been chewing my car wiring, hoses and other items under my car hood. Friends said I should not have parked my car on my driveway and I should have parked it inside my one-car garage but I think that is not practical and may not solve the squirrel invasions. Since these houses do not have basements, most of us use our garages as storage rooms. I caught two squirrels and one mole using mice sticky pads inside my garage, so cleaning up inside the garage and parking the car inside is no sure solution. They still can get inside and chew up my car.
The automobile repairman told me to put a box of smelly moth balls under the hood to ward off squirrels. It only worked for a short while. So far I have had to repair damage on chewed wiring, various fluid hoses and a large plastic air hose that added up costing me over $1,000.00. I also have tried to park a couple of blocks away from home to avoid the squirrels that live in my trees and run around my yard. But I hate to have to walk two blocks to go home at night. Right now, whenever I come home, I open up the car hood and put inside two big boxes of moth balls and in the morning I put the boxes in my car trunk before I drive to work. But what a nuisance! There is no guarantee that the squirrels would not come back and chew again and mothball smell overcomes me (I think the smell may be toxic?). Why do they keep coming back to chew up something which is surely not tasty?
Jim, please advise me, and my neighbors, about what we should and can do to stop squirrels from chewing our cars. We would be very grateful if you can help.
Also,I have replaced some light bulbs with compact fluorescent light in the house. Each of the fixtures has instructions stating what the maximum wattage bulb used should be. These were simple instructions when there was one choice for the bulb - the venerable incandescent bulb. The newer options, including the halogen and "fluorescent" type bulb all claim the wattage output equivalent to the incandescent bulb of so many watts, but all claim to use a lesser amount of wattage. My question is when using these newer bulbs which claim the brightness of the equivalent of say a 100 watt bulb while only consuming 25 actual (or so) watts, to which wattage should I observe to stay within the instructions given with the lamp?
A. Itís been a while since Iíve run into squirrel problems but ironically just this week I was invited to a cook out at my cousinís in Columbia. The menu was to be burgers, hot dogs and chicken on the grille. When I arrived I was told the grille was out of commission due to squirrels chewing through the gas grilleís fuel lines. We ordered pizza. You were lucky that when your squirrels were up in the attic that they hadnít yet developed a taste for wiring insulation because many house fires have resulted from these furry tree rats chewing through live wires both killing themselves and starting fires in the process. Here in suburbia squirrels most common natural enemies, such as owls, hawks, eagles, bobcats, coyotes, foxes, raccoons etc., arenít prevalent enough to keep their numbers down so basically the only thing that seems to govern them is the available food supply. Humans have a habit of encouraging the squirrel population by keeping bird feeders full which are routinely raided by hungry squirrels.Squirrels have a short life expectancy. On average seventy percent of squirrels donít live past their first year. Each year after that will see half the remaining survivors die one way or another. Only one percent of squirrels will live to age five Squirrels can live to sixteen only if theyíre very lucky Mothballs may work on some squirrels but not all. You can buy all sorts of purported squirrel repellents but most donít have a good track record over the long run and tend to be a waste of money and time. The only good long term solution I could find is removal. For that you can hire a professional trapper or you can get a squirrel trap from the county animal control and do it yourself. Here in Anne Arundel County, Animal Control is located at 411 Maxwell Frye Rd. in Millersville 410 222 8900. They will loan you a trap for a week and when you trap a squirrel you call them and they will come pick it and the trap up and take it away. You may have to repeat the process until you get the one with the taste for cars. Or you might get lucky the first time out.