Protect your home's exterior from squirrels

"We have trouble with squirrels chewing on the wood by our garage door in winter. I assume they are eating the wood to get to the salt from the roads. Any suggestions?" — Angie's List member Jean Sanford, St. Paul, Minn.

Richard Standish, owner of highly rated Professional Pest Control in Minneapolis, says the problem probably isn't the salt, but the wood. "It would be out of character for a squirrel to come up and chew on the wood, but I've seen rabbits doing it to maintain their teeth," he says.

Whether it's rabbits, squirrels or some other pest, you have the same three options: Remove the animals, keep them away from the wood, or make it so they can't chew it any more.

"Removal and repellents aren't great solutions, because you have to continually do it," he says. "The most permanent solution would be to run a metal flashing about six inches or a foot high around the frame and paint it to match."

He estimates hiring a professional to do the work would run between $150 and $200, depending on the size of the garage door.

Michael Tucker, owner of highly rated Wildlife Removal Services in Bloomington, Minn., says he's seen squirrels and rabbits chew on trim, and has often speculated that salt or a particular type of wood has something to do with it. "They don't seem to be chewing to gain access," he says. "There's something in the wood attracting them."

He agrees that permanent exclusion with a metal wrap is the best way to go. "This is a common problem, and a difficult one to remediate," he says. "You could try to remove the animals, but there are a lot of squirrels in the neighborhood, and you don't know which ones are the offenders."

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