So everyone is talking about the explosion of the squirrel population and the amount of road kill on the highways this summer. Experts are saying the population increase was due to the bumper acorn crop last year. That could be. But I think the number of causalities on the highway, particularly along the stretch of Parade Road near Old North Main in Laconia, can be attributed to home maintenance issues. So, follow this narrative and you can learn how to squirrel-proof your home and avoid problems.

You see, I sold Bart and Sue a home over off Old North Main in Laconia a few year ago. It is a nice little ranch and Bart and Sue have really done a great job renovating it into an impeccably charming and desirable home. It is really beautiful.

Now, their problems started with the bird feeders…it usually does. While it is great to see the birds, the feeders attract the occasional bear but also hordes of squirrels and chipmunks. Pretty soon they had about twenty 20 at the feeders. Since they live on a retiree’s budget, they decided to take the feeders down to save some money.

A few days later, after returning from the early-bird special at the China Bistro, Bart and Sue walk through door and into the kitchen to find four squirrels at the dining room table eating nuts. The squirrels just looked at Bart and Sue with those beady little squirrel eyes…you know that look. Bart just stares and wonders where the booster seats came from and tries to understand how the squirrels got the nut jar open. Sue just wonders where they got the tiny dishes.

Sue was holding her 11-year-old puppy Jebediah in her arms. Jebediah is basically blind and weights less than a squirrel soaking wet, but she got a whiff of squirrel smell and let out a bark like a Doberman. The squirrels’ eyes got big as saucers and they bolted off the chairs and scurried through a tear in the back door screen.  That was the first home maintenance issue that caused a problem.

After that big commotion, Bart and Sue settled in for the evening, had a cup of hot chocolate, watched an episode of the Incredible Dr. Pol and the Walking Dead, then retired to bed. Bart vowed to fix the screen the next day.

Just after jumping in bed, Bart could hear that dreaded scratching sound above the bedroom ceiling. He tried to ignore it but after 30 minutes he could stand it no longer. Creeping out into the hallway, he pulled down the scuttle to the attic with the built-in ladder. He moved slowly so the big steel springs on the ladder didn’t go “boing.” He stealthily climbed the ladder with his trusty 32,200 candlepower Maglite and, upon reaching the top, he turned on the flame. Down at the gable end of the house, above the master bedroom, were eight sets of beady little eyes peering back at him. He couldn’t believe his eyes. It looked like an old school dormitory down there with four miniature sets of bunk beds. Jebediah was now awake and running up and down the hall barking at Bart. The squirrels were startled, scrambled in circles and seemed to disappear down the corner of the attic like someone flushed a toilet.

Even with all that noise, Sue was still asleep when Bart came down and grabbed his slippers from the bedroom. Sure enough, outside on the corner of the house Bart discovered a small hole chewed through the wall. Bart added the hole to his repair list for the next day and noted to check for any other access points on other parts of his home.

Bart returned to the bedroom to find Sue wide awake now. He explained that they were under siege by these varmints. She said, “Bart, have a heart! They are just looking for food.” “Yes!” exclaimed Bart, “I forgot, I have a ‘Have a Heart’ trap!” He jumped out of bed, rushed down to the basement, found the trap, went to the kitchen to get some nuts for bait, climbed back into the attic, and set the trap. He was sure he would capture one of them by morning.

Sure enough, bright and early Bart retrieved the trap with one of the varmints cowering inside. He decided he was going to relocate the critter miles away, but first he must make his repairs. It didn't take long to fix the screen and repair not one, but two, holes in his siding.  He was confident that his home was squirrelproof.

He loaded the trap and captive squirrel into his trusty pickup truck which has been sitting most of the summer. He made it to the end of his street when old Betsy coughed to a stop and wouldn't start. He opened the hood and looked around. There are acorns everywhere! He found that the whole air filter and housing were full of acorns! “Have-a-Heart-Bart” was livid. He got his truck started and took the squirrel up Parade Road where the big fields are, past Tavern 27.  He opened the trap and you can probably guess that the squirrel didn’t run into the woods. Rather, it darted into the middle of the road, stopped, faked left, faked right, and started left, and then thump. One less squirrel.

Bart returned home emotionally drained. Looking up at his fine home, caught sight of the end of a tail going through his gable-end vent. “I gotta put a screen on that!” he muttered to himself. Now, “Have-a-Heart-Bart” seized his 12-gauge double barrel shotgun and mistakenly loaded it with buckshot instead of birdshot. Climbing up the attic ladder one more time he spotted the wretched beast illuminated by the light coming in through the vent.  He let both barrels go at once. It was deadly. Satisfied, he climbed down the ladder and saw Sue standing there as white as a ghost. Bart softly said, “Got a few more holes to patch…”  This is the real reason squirrels are fleeing the Old North Main Street area and becoming road kill on Parade Road. I suspect similar events are happening all over the area…

There were 146 single family residential sales in the Lakes Region communities covered by this report. The averages sales price was $438,224 and the median price point was $312,000.

Please feel free to visit www.DistinctiveHomes.NH.com  to learn more about the Lakes Region real estate market and sign up for our monthly newsletter. Data compiled using the NEREN MLS.  Roy Sanborn is a sales associate and pest control consultant at Four Seasons Sotheby's International Realty. He can be reached at 603-677-7012

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