Often squirrels dig up perennial bulbs, especially crocuses, leaving telltale bits of bulb on the ground near a hole. They may eat the blossoms first, then return to eat the bulb. They assault ripening sunflowers, breaking the stems as they struggle to get at the seeds in their centers. Squirrels may also steal fruits such as peaches and pears from trees, just before they are fully ripe. From the vegetable patch, they steal corn, tomatoes, and other goodies.
Sometimes squirrels get into houses, where they can cause serious damage in their attempts to escape. Typically they enter via attics and chimneys, entering holes in siding or unscreened vents via electrical lines, cable TV wires, or by jumping from nearby tree limbs. Once inside, they often damage wiring, wall insulation, or household items.
Most Obvious Symptoms
Squirrels damage yards in a distinctive way. In the fall, they bury nuts all over the yard. They locate them by smell and dig them up in the spring. The ones they miss become trees; the others result in holes are about 3 inches across and 2 inches deep. Holes may also indicate that they are eating your bulbs. Stubs of foliage and chewed petals signals that they have eaten ornamental plants. Whole seeds scattered below feeders are a sure sign the squirrels have been to visit.
Scrambling noises in the attic, wall spaces, or chimney flue may signal squirrels, as do piles of droppings, seeds and nuts in obscure corners beneath roof eaves and in other seemingly inaccessible places. Squirrels may damage wooden shakes and shingles, and can severely damage vacation cabins that are left vacant much of the year. Sometimes static on your phone line is a squirrel gnawing on the wire!
Plants Vulnerable to Squirrels