A strategy for getting flying squirrels out of the attic

The key is to give the critters one opening to the attic – and make it an exit-only.

  • Pennsylvania Horticultural Society Gold Medal winner ‘Erie’ is memorable for its red berries in fall that often persist into winter.
Pennsylvania Horticultural Society Gold Medal winner ‘Erie’… (Ginny Williams, Baltimore…)
November 17, 2012|For The Baltimore Sun

Flying squirrels are in our attic. I'm exhausted because they start making a racket at 2 a.m.! What can we do? They stored acorns all over. Will they eat my telephone and electrical wiring?

Flying squirrels are nifty animals. You or a wildlife control service need to install a one-way opening where they are getting in, so that the squirrels can exit but cannot re-enter. If there are multiple entrances, find and plug or screen all except one with heavy gauge screening such as hardware cloth. Remove any acorns inside because they attract the squirrels. Yes, squirrels have been known to chew on wiring, but that usually happens when they can't get out of a house. Other strategies to try: sprinkle mothballs around (not likely to solve the problem but they dislike the smell), play a radio and/or leave a light on in the attic 24-7. Chase them out with a broom when you spot them. With winter approaching, putting an oversize birdhouse on a tree nearby may persuade them to settle there instead of in your house. For more information, contact the Maryland wildlife hot line at 1-877-463-6497.

I need to kill Japanese honeysuckle that is smothering an area. Is it too late to spray a glyphosate weedkiller?

As long as plants are green, not dormant, you can spray the herbicide glyphosate. Japanese honeysuckle is semi-evergreen, so it can be sprayed throughout the winter, though fall is a better time. Check the herbicide's label guideline for temperature limitations. The Plant Conservation Alliance has excellent fact sheets on controlling non-native invasive plants at Weeds Gone Wild: http://www.nps.gov/plants/alien.

Plant of the Week

Linden Viburnum

Viburnum dilatatum Erie

Pennsylvania Horticultural Society Gold Medal winner Erie is memorable for its red berries in fall that often persist into winter. After frost, the red berries become coral pink. About 6 feet high and 9 feet wide, linden viburnum forms a dense upright mound. Creamy white flowers occur in 4-inch sprays in May and June. Autumn foliage of this deciduous shrub turns yellow, orange and red. From eastern Asia, linden viburnum is highly resistant to insects and disease. Purchase superior named cultivars, such as Erie, rather than specimens grown from seed. It grows best in slightly acid, evenly moist soils in full sun or partial shade. — Ginny Williams

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