This year has been exceptional for nuts so the squirrel population has flourished and increased numbers have caused extensive damage. Squirrels recognise a vacant space and will fill it quickly, so they will keep coming. They have two litters a year, usually of three, and these become independent around 14 weeks and occupy other areas nearby.
One way to help control this invasion is to trap neighbouring woodland rather than shoot individual squirrels when they arrive. The Forestry Commission suggests using a permanently baited trap that can catch up to seven squirrels at a time. Turn the trap upside down to start with, opening any flaps and doors, and scatter the ground and inside with maize, peanut butter or Snickers bars. This allows the squirrels to become accustomed to it. Leave it like this for a week, refreshing the bait regularly, then set the trap and inspect it every 12 hours.
With the first trap running well it is suggested to bait a new trap but set farther back into the wood thus encouraging the squirrels away from the main area of damage. The Green Pest Control Company sells two traps; the multi-catch trap (£80) or a single-catch trap (£32). Field readers receive a 10 per cent discount. Call 01282 842104 or visit the website.