While the recent drop in temperatures means seeing less of the pesky bugs that have bothered Canadians all throughout summer, it means the opposite for one of the most troublesome household pests – rodents. Mice, rats, and squirrels are expected to invade homes in droves this winter, searching for a warm place to spend the frosty season.
In order to raise consumer awareness regarding the health and property risks posed by rodent infestations, the Professional Pest Management Alliance (PPMA), part of the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), has designated the week of November 15-21, 2015, as Rodent Awareness Week. Greenleaf Pest Control is proud to take part in this campaign by educating homeowners and businesses across Canada about the threat of rodents and the importance of adopting a proactive approach to rodent management in the following months.
Although rodents are active all year round, the months of October and November are especially problematic, with declining temperatures forcing them indoors to nest and forage for food.
In part one of this mini-article series, we looked at some of the reasons squirrels have important roles in the lives of people, other animals, and the environment. We’ve learned that their caching behavior is essential in the renewal of many tree species including oak, hazel, and pine, and that their natural preference for belowground-fruiting and epigeous fungi is integral to deciduous forests’ regeneration and health. We now know that squirrels are an important link in the ecological food chain, being an important item on the menu of many animals, including badgers, snakes, bobcats, red-tailed hawks, and weasels. Finally, we saw that, despite their controversial presence in residential environments, many people are naturally drawn to the fuzzy-tailed acrobats, almost always ranking them first in their preferences for urban/suburban wildlife species.
It’s now time to analyze the other side of the coin, specifically the one that classifies squirrels as garden villains, “tree rats,” and troublesome pests for homeowners.
Squirrels are either the adorable, fluffy-tailed creatures you love to pet or the greedy and incredibly crafty rodents that pillage your backyard before your own eyes. Some people are genuine in their love and admiration for squirrels’ acrobatic abilities and wits, while others – especially bird-feeders – have only turned pro-squirrel after giving up trying to defeat them at the feeder.
Whichever side of the barricade you’re on, there’s no denying that squirrels have a significant social, economic, and environmental impact – whether beneficial or detrimental. In this article, we’ll examine some of the ways squirrels benefit the environment, and next week we’ll discuss some of the situations when squirrels’ presence is no longer desirable – or downright detrimental to humans and the environment.
Thanks to their food-hoarding behavior, tree squirrels help plant baby oak trees by burying healthy seeds to eat later and forgetting about them.