How to Get Rid of Squirrels in Attic and Walls
It is important to know how to get rid of squirrels in the attic and the walls in the house because they can and will cause damage to your home in serious ways, and there are a number of effective ways on how to eliminate them and keep them out.
Eliminate squirrels in attic and walls by a) sealing entry points, b) using scent, noise, and light repellants, c) using mesh fences, d) trimming tree branches, e) using sticky gel on cracks, f) removing exposed food, g) setting traps and h) putting one-way doors. Or seek help from pest exterminators.
If you want to be successful in eradicating the squirrels in your attic and walls, you have to their behavior and know what signs to look for.
We will enumerate the signs of the presence of squirrels in your home, as well as the various damages they can cause to your house.
After that, we will discuss the ways by which these pests can be effectively driven out of your house so that they can cease bothering you for good.
How to Check for Squirrels in Attic
Before you can be sure that you have squirrels in your home, you may look for signs of squirrels in attic and walls. These, along with what damages can squirrels do in the attic, are enumerated and discussed below.
- Strange noises from your attic during the night
- Presence of squirrel droppings
- Damaged electrical wires and insulation from chewing
- Small footprints which do not belong or fit with your pets
- Chewed holes and cracks in wood sidings, your attic, and your home’s interior decoration
- Mildew and mold in the attic
- Piles of debris and leaves in the attic
- Diseases and parasites that squirrels carry
- Bitten wooden furniture
- New and additional holes or points of entry once the baby squirrels in the attic have grown up
- Fruits and other foods strangely eaten
Look Squirrels have specific behavior, so how do you check for squirrels in the attic?
Squirrels, just like other animals, have biological urges which make them do certain things. They are compelled to eat and drink, nest, mate, sire offspring, and explore their surroundings.
The myriad activities that they perform, including their invasion of your attic and walls, are in pursuit of these motivations and fulfilling these urges.
Are squirrels a problem?
You can take advantage of this knowledge in order to successfully eliminate them from your home.
How do you determine if the infestation you have is a rat or a squirrel? The two are competitors, so that if you have a squirrel problem, there is less probability of having rats, and vice versa.
Squirrels usually colonize your attic first, coming from above using trees, power lines, and similar access points.
Squirrels Leave Urine Smell
You will start noticing urine smell if you have squirrels in your attic. Soon, there will be spots on your ceiling that will look like water damage.
If you do not have a roof leak, this is probably squirrel urine. You can also smell the area to confirm urine presence.
Recognize Squirrel Tracks
Squirrels are hoppers, so that when you look at their tracks, you will see rear paws that can be in the same step or ahead of the front paw tracks.
Also, the rear paws have five digits, which look like a small human hand print. The front paws only have four toes.
If you put cardboard with flour on top in suspected areas of squirrel activity, you may detect tracks and see if the description matches the tracks. A different set of tracks may mean you have a rat problem.
Look for Squirrel Nests
It is important to know squirrel nesting habits in attic areas.
Squirrel nests are sloppy and big, composed of grass, bark, leaves, twigs, moss, vines, and even shredded paper or insulation. Mice and rats make burrows with round and smooth entrances instead of nests.
Squirrels have droppings that are reddish or brown, while the droppings of rats are black or dark. The droppings of squirrels are barrel-shaped with sides that are circular, while for rats, the droppings are more rectangular and oblong with a pointed edge.
Squirrels also tend to use the same spot for defecating, resulting in small piles of droppings, while rats have droppings all over the place.
How to Get Rid of Squirrels in Attic and Walls
Determine Entry Points in The House
After you have determined that your attic and walls do indeed have squirrels, the next step is how to find out where squirrels are getting in and out of your home.
This is an essential step to be successful in squirrel proofing a house and getting rid of squirrels in your attic and walls.
Squirrels’ possible points of entry to access your attic may be through uncovered vents at your roof, the wall, your roof’s edge, and on plumbing mats as well as chimneys.
It may be useful to take the time in making a comprehensive examination of your home to determine where they make their holes, either in the aforementioned areas or elsewhere.
Squirrels can chew even hard surfaces, and can chew through plywood, drywall, and insulation. They can gnaw through the fascia or squirm through loose gaps or boards.
The also like to chew electrical wires, so that they can even get electrocuted. This usually causes a fuse to blow.
This problem is severe enough to cause house fires and blackouts throughout the neighborhood.
Squirrels will usually gain their initial entrance to your home through your attic via the roof. In some pier-and-beam homes, they may use the crawl space to gain entry.
They usually stay in the attic, though they can also find themselves in walls.
You can use a flashlight under eaves to look for holes and gaps. The squirrels will chew and gnaw through gaps to enlarge their entry points.
Use Security Cameras to Trace Activity
Squirrels are active in the daytime. Nevertheless, you could still have difficulty in locating their nests or tracing their paths.
Technology may be able to give a helping hand. You can equip your home with security cameras with high resolution. With their help, it may become easier to find the entry points with lesser effort.
At the same time, there is a greater chance that you will be able to catch them in the act, as they go in and out of your house. You can also possibly see where they chew and cause damage to electrical wirings, walls, and interior decoration.
You can also employ the help of these security cameras to monitor the activity of the squirrels in your attic.
Knowing more about their behavior gives you more tools on how to eradicate them. You can determine their activity, how many there are, and when and where they enter and exit.
It may be useful to use CCTV plugged-in cameras, although they can easily be disabled by the squirrels when they start chewing the wires.
As an alternative, you may use wireless, battery-powered security cameras, which will enable you to monitor the cute but pesky animals without them having to damage your camera equipment.
Use Scent Repellants
Squirrels are known to be averse to or afraid of spicy scents. Their nature is such that they do not want to get close to things that have a strong and spicy flavor or aroma.
In this regard, you can conduct pepper-based taste spraying around your home and attic, especially in areas where you found squirrel activity. You can buy these or even concoct one using a recipe you can easily find on the internet.
If you need a recommendation, then check this spray:
Make Your Attic and Walls Less Accessible
An excellent and basic means of eliminating squirrels from your attic is to simply make it hard for them to access it. Some of the things you can do to accomplish this are enumerated below.
Cover your chimney
You can choose to cover your chimney with a cap so that squirrels cannot fall from it. You can also use wire mesh on it if you do not want to buy a chimney cap.
Seal all entry points except one
Squirrels are capable of squeezing through virtually any kind of opening in your home. You can use various materials to seal up these openings. Possible materials could be steel wool, caulk, dirt, bricks for the wall, cement, or any appropriate material.
When sealing up the access points that squirrels use, always remember to leave one open.
You have to make sure that when you flush them out, you have to give them one access point which they can use to exit your house.
Afterward, when you have already conducted your eradication efforts, you can then seal this last exit point.
Choose the access point which is the most accessible and most obvious as the remaining open entry point. You may cover this final entry point with one newspaper sheet.
After a few days, if the sheet is still intact, and if you do not hear any squirrel noises in your attic any longer, you may then safely seal this opening permanently.
It is important to make sure that no remaining squirrels are inside your attic, walls, and home before you seal the last entry point.
Squirrels will not leave your cozy shelter voluntarily, and this is especially true if they have already nested inside your home and already given birth to their young there.
In such a situation, the adult or parent will regularly go to and from your house to acquire food for their litter. If you then seal up this final entry point while the parent squirrel is still outdoors, its baby squirrels will be stuck inside your attic.
In this case, it will be a very tedious process for pest extermination professionals to remove them, whether they are alive or dead. Before you find them, they may already have died for quite some time, so that their decomposing smell may plague your home.
This can be prevented by driving out the squirrels immediately once they reveal their presence to you in your home, way before they can start settling in, make their nests, or have babies.
Part of making your home squirrel-proof is also making sure that all your doors and windows are properly fitted and covered with screens.
Seal Cracks and Trim The Trees
Ensure that you seal or close all the cracks on fences and wood sidings.
Squirrels are great climbers. If you have trees adjacent to your home, either over your roof, beside your walls, or otherwise allow access points for squirrels, there will be a constant influx of these animals.
To prevent them from taking advantage of these tree branches to enter your attic and walls, make sure that you regularly maintain the appropriate trimming of your tree branches.
Trimmed trees will go a long way in preventing squirrel infestation in your attic and walls.
Use sticky gel on holes
Another natural means of getting rid of the squirrels in your attic and walls is to put sticky gel on the only entry you have left for them.
This gel attaches to the animals, which they bring back to their nests inside your home.
Squirrels do not like or enjoy having sticky gel on their bodies or their nests. This will thus encourage them to abandon your attic and not nest there.
Install mesh wire fencing
You can use chicken wire mesh to seal gaps, vents, and even the chimney. You may install fences beneath your porch and at front of openings.
If the squirrels ever get to the walls, there may have just been stuck there or are only exploring. Squirrels are not prone to stay inside walls compared to rats or mice.
Squirrels enter the walls through your attic or through the crawl space. If they entered through this route, they will also leave via this way also.
You can use fine chicken wire mesh to seal off all possible access points to the crawl space and the wall.
It is important to have the chicken wire fence installation to extend two or more inches down under the ground.
This is necessary because squirrels are excellent diggers, which could make a chicken wire fence not buried deep in the ground ineffective.
Use Squirrel Traps and Baits
It is unfortunate that crawl spaces cannot easily be completely sealed off. There are simply so many gaps that can serve as entry points for squirrels, including cables, pipes, vents, plumbing intrusions, and A/C hoses.
In addition, there are also gaps in between your home and its underpinning. You may install a one-way door in your crawl space, but it is not as effective as a one-way door in your attic.
It may thus be helpful to install baits and traps in your crawl spaces instead. It is recommended to set your traps near your crawl space’s edges where they are reachable when you get on all fours.
This is the limit of your trap installation short of having to crawl under the house and get seriously dirty each time your check the traps.
You may also opt to use poison as bait, which you can throw under your home, so that invading squirrels can be eliminated.
One note about using poison bait is that your wire mesh fence must be firmly installed in place around the house’s underpinning as well as in the many other entry points, because even though they are not as effective in keeping squirrels out, the fence will prevent your children and pets from having access to your poison bait.
Setting up your traps
For the attic, another advantage that leaving only one entry point open gives is that you can set up your live traps in that sole access location. You can also use funnels for this purpose.
You can put seeds and acorns as bait in front of your traps, which are among squirrels’ favorite food items, to attract and catch them. Again, make sure that no litter of baby squirrels are left in your attic, because when they die, they will cause a different kind of trouble for you.
Traps can be placed in squirrel runways that you may have determined based on the data that your security cameras provided, or from the observations you have made of their activities or the signs that they have left, such as their droppings.
Box traps are useful for placing around your house; near the squirrels’ burrows; on their entry points to and from your house; on your yard, or elsewhere in locations you believe they frequent.
You can use them to capture squirrels outside your home or those who have already invaded your attic and walls.
You may need to consider your children and pets in setting up your traps because they can get caught in them, too.
One option in setting up your trap is not to put any one-way door on your remaining entry point, and instead seal it in the same manner that you also sealed all the gaps around the roof and eaves.
This will cause the squirrels to be trapped inside your attic or outside your home. You can then use your traps and baits in catching and killing them.
Squirrels locked in your attic would eventually look for ways to escape from your house. This is an advantage for you because your baits will eventually become attractive to them.
In their attempts to find escape passages, they will soon come in contact with your traps and baits, and they will surely take them in their curiosity and also possibly their hunger.
Choosing between types of traps
Live traps are a useful tool in the campaign to eliminate squirrels from your house. There are a number of effective squirrel traps available; live traps are basically box type traps that let the squirrel live even after it has been caught.
Another type of squirrel trap is the body-gripping type of animal trap that can catch squirrels that dart in and out of entry points in your home.
You may want to consider if you will want to deal with a trapped live squirrel or if you want to use a kill trap, or a type of trap that leaves the animals dead when they are caught.
If you use a live trap, you will need to determine what you will do with the live squirrels you’ve caught. You can either kill them humanely with euthanasia, or else you may relocate them at least 10 miles away from your place.
There are several complications that may arise from this choice. For one, you may have to deal with the authorities depending on the wildlife laws in your own state.
If you choose to relocate the live squirrels that you caught in your live traps, you may want to set them free in a woodland or forested area.
Make sure that this location is in a natural environment where they can survive and should be away from any neighborhood, otherwise, you will be the cause of squirrel pests in residences there, should the squirrels you released decide to invade them instead.
If you are having some trouble in looking for a location in which to transfer the squirrels, you may want to ask the assistance of local authorities, who may have the knowledge and authority to help you.
With all the complications that live traps can bring, a kill trap may be more practical and easier, since there is no more need to deal with a living rodent. You will just need to dispose of the carcass in the regular manner designated for such types of materials.
In many ways, kill traps can be more humane because you do not need to consider the life of the animal anymore.
For example, if you have no time to check your live traps regularly or frequently, once they catch squirrels, they may cause the squirrels to starve in the trap, or else let them be exposed to the elements for a long period of time.
It is quite inhumane to let a trapped squirrel starve or freeze to death or have a heat stroke, depending on the season and location of your traps.
This is my favorite humane trap.
Use One-Way Doors
One method of keeping squirrels out of your house is a one-way door. It has the advantage of being an easy method while at the same time humane for squirrels.
One-way doors come in various sizes. They are usually equipped with a flap on the outer end. The rectangular box is equipped with a “door” that is sloped so that squirrels are able to push up the door when they leave through the entry point in your house.
However, as they try to return and go back in to your home, they will not be able to open the door because they are literally standing on it, so that they are effectively locked out from the entry point.
Still, squirrels can be persistent, and will not be content in just being locked out by the one-way door. Thus, they will look for another place to chew in order to create a new entry point.
This is the reason why the fine chicken wire mesh fence is important in barring all the gaps in other areas around the house, to prevent the squirrels from finding other access points to exploit.
Remove Exposed Food Source in Your Home
One thing that may attract squirrels in your home is food. They usually like to eat food items such as walnuts, seeds, acorns, and fruit. In the absence of these items, they may eat green plants, too.
Removing food items that can attracts squirrels, not to mention rats and mice, is a good idea as part of the strategy to keep your home free from pests.
Maintain your food in secure containers away from animals that may want to partake of them and decide to live in your home because of the free benefits.
Use Noise Deterrents
Another means of getting your attic and walls free from squirrels is scaring them away with the use of noise deterrents. Squirrels are just like other small animals like mice and rats, who are timid and tend to become terrified by loud sounds and human movement.
You may opt to invest in a noise maker or you may also try to use two-way security audio cameras that also get the job done.
Such cameras have the feature of giving off sirens and other audio alarms, such as customized recordings that you recorded. The alarm is triggered by the movements of squirrels and other unusual movements that small animals make.
Loud music is also an option in discouraging squirrels from nesting in your attic.
Ultrasonic noises are also available that are advertised to keep rodents away. You can try to see if they are effective in your home.
You can use these and other means of keeping out squirrels in a multi-layered and multi-pronged strategy, several of which work in concert.
For instance, if using Neatmaster repeller use blue setting:
Seek Help from Professional Exterminators
There may come a time when even with your best efforts, you are unsuccessful in keeping out squirrels from your attic, walls, and home, and you start to ask who to call for squirrels in attic problems and how to remove them.
Do not take it personally.
Sometimes, such problems can remain persistent despite your dedication to solving them and doing all means necessary to get the job done.
One of the final means by which you can eliminate damages to your home due to squirrels is to ask for the help of local professional exterminators.
These people have years of actual experience with many different situations, various types of houses and buildings, and myriad conditions regarding keeping out many types of animal pests and invaders.
A professional exterminator will find it relatively easy to do the work. They are armed with all the available tools, tricks, and techniques honed from hundreds of cases from their list of clients.
They will be able to deter the squirrels in your home quickly. They will also guide you accordingly on what to do.
Once they have driven out the squirrels from your home, they can also advise you about what steps you can make to keep them from ever coming back.
One disadvantage of acquiring the services of professionals is that the squirrel in attic removal cost is higher. It will be much cheaper to do the eradication of the squirrels by yourself, based on the methods and techniques we have discussed here.
After all, the professional exterminators will also conduct the same techniques or similar other methods that we have already covered.
The difference that professionals will bring compared to doing it yourself is their years of expertise, better and more effective equipment and techniques, and higher rate of success.
Professionals will surely also have tricks on how to get rid of squirrels in attic and walls that cannot be applied by laymen like you.
These are borne from their experiences, and they cannot simply be taught unless you become a professional exterminator yourself and do this kind of work day in and day out for several years and even decades.
Therefore, despite your best efforts, professionals will still have the upper hand and will know instantly what you are doing right or what you are doing wrong.
A professional pest exterminator will give you the best advice and means by which to improve your home’s defenses against squirrels and other pests.
Are squirrels in the attic even during daytime?
On the question of when do squirrels leave the attic, squirrels usually leave your attic during warmer periods of the day. Squirrel movement can mostly be heard during the early morning hours and also towards sundown.
How powerful and destructive are squirrels?
Squirrels can climb a stucco or brick wall four stories high within seconds. They can take apart slate and terra cotta roofs and push bricks when entering attic crawl spaces.
They can chew through shingles, sturdy wood, aluminum fascia, and aluminum gable vents. They have a biting force of 7,500 p.s.i.
Why do squirrels love attics?
Attics are dry, safe, and warm places in which a squirrel family can feel safe enough to settle down, store food, build their nest and do their business without the discomfort and dangers of the natural outdoor environment. Their main objective in using your attic is to raise babies in relative safety.
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