Invasive Pest Species in the UK – The Grey Squirrel

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September 26, 2022

Invasive Pest Species in the UK – The Grey Squirrel

Grey squirrels are considered an invasive species in the UK

Grey squirrels and their impact on the environment and our economy in the UK

According to the UK Government and the industry leading British Pest Control Association (BPCA) invasive species cost the economy nearly £1.9 billion per annum, threaten native species and ecosystems, as well as our health.

Did you know that the cute and adorable looking grey squirrels are considered an invasive pest in the UK? According to the British Red Squirrel organisation ‘they are listed in the IUCN international list of 100 worst invasive non-native species, which highlights the damage that grey squirrels cause to our native flora and fauna; a problem severe enough to be recognised at a level of global significance’.

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The grey squirrel was first introduced to the UK from North America in 1876. They were seen as ornamental species for the home until the damage they caused was recognised in the 1940s and were banned from being released into the wild. The rapid increase of the grey squirrel has pushed out the red squirrels for a number of reasons. When the grey squirrel is introduced to the territory of the red squirrel, it becomes nearly impossible for the red squirrel to survive due to the grey squirrel feeding off from a wider variety of food to survive and depriving its rival relative from resources.


They damage trees by stripping the bark at the bottom of the trees and cause extended damage to the wild forest and our environment. They cause extended potential damage to your home, and health, destruction to the forest life and impact on native wildlife, especially the red squirrel. In 2018, The Guardian shared a study revealing grey squirrels stealing million pounds of bird seed a year. The so-called ‘cute invaders’ are also known for feeding on birds’ nests for eggs and chicks.


Prime Pest Control Team