Squirrels may occasionally damage forest trees by chewing bark from branches and trunks. In nut orchards,squirrels can severely curtail production by eating nuts prematurely and by carrying off mature nuts. In New England fruit orchards, pine squirrels may eat ovaries of cherry blossoms and destroy ripe pears. Pine, gray, and fox squirrels may chew bark of various orchard trees.
In residential areas, squirrels sometimes travel powerlines and short out transformers. They gnaw on wires, enter buildings, and build nests in attics. They frequently chew holes through pipelines used in maple syrup production.
Squirrels occasionally damage lawns by burying or searching for and digging up nuts. They will chew bark and clip twigs on ornamental trees or shrubbery planted in yards. Often squirrels take food at feeders intended for birds. Sometimes they chew to enlarge openings of bird houses and then enter to eat nestling songbirds. Flying squirrels are small enough to enter most bird houses and are especially likely to eat nesting birds. In gardens, squirrels may eat planted seeds, mature fruits, or grains such as corn.
SQUIRRELS AT FEEDERS
If you are up for a challenge, then this is the group for you. With the right motivation (say, sunflower seeds in a feeder) squirrels will learn to work around just about any known obstacle placed in their path. Empty bird feeders are only one problem created by squirrels. Another is when they take up residence in your attic or chimney. Flying squirrels are most notable for inviting themselves in. Here are a couple of problems.
SQUIRRELS IN THE ATTIC
Most complaints about flying squirrels are from homeowners with squirrels in their houses. Squirrels will readily take up residence in a building if access is available to a sheltered area. Flying squirrels enter homes through small holes around dormers, ridge vents, eaves, attic vents, and similar vulnerable areas. Adults can cause severe damage by chewing. Trimming shrubs and vines and pruning overhanging tree limbs may discourage squirrels from causing problems in the home. A squirrel trapped in a chimney should not be removed through the fireplace area because it might escape into the room.