WINSTON-SALEM, NC -- You might find squirrels to be harmless or even cute, but for many Triad homeowners, the small rodents are driving them nuts!

Scott McNeely with McNeely Pest Control says when the weather starts to get cold, they receive a lot of calls about squirrels invading people's homes.

“We've had dozens and dozens of calls,” said McNeely. “It's not unusual for us to get 50 to 100 calls during the month of December just on squirrels.”

McNeely says during the winter months, squirrels are looking for a warm place to nest, like in people's attics, where they can do a lot of damage.

“These animals will do two things. One, they can damage your insulation which is affecting your heating and cooling billing,” said McNeely. “Even more importantly, since they do have the rodent type teeth, they're always chewing. They will often chew into wiring and that can create an electrical short and a fire hazard.”

McNeely says it's important to keep the tree limbs near your house trimmed.

“That way they have a hard time jumping across,” he said.

To keep the squirrels out, McNeely says you should also seal up any gaps in the siding of your home.

“A half inch to a one inch opening is plenty of room for a squirrel to get his head through,” said McNeely.

McNeely says trapping squirrels can be tricky.

His company uses peanut butter for bait.

But they have to be careful when it's time for the release.

Squirrels are wild animals and can become aggressive when they feel threatened.

“You don't want to grab them because they will bite the fire out of you,” McNeely said. “If they can chew through a nut, you know if one bites you it's going to hurt.”

McNeely says after they catch a squirrel, his company releases them back into the wild away from houses.

For help with a squirrel infestation at your home, contact McNeely Pest Control.