How to Spot Squirrels in Your Attic
Squirrels can be cute and fuzzy when they’re chewing acorns in your backyard. But those teeth aren’t as cute when they’re gnawing wires in your home or tearing up insulation.
Squirrels don’t have the “icky” reputation of other household pests… but they’re still wild animals, and they can do serious damage.
When squirrels make themselves at home in your attic, they often create a real mess by gnawing on things or leaving behind feces and urine. That much damage in small areas can lead to costly repairs. And while they’re usually harmless, squirrels – like other rodents – have been known to spread disease.
How to spot a Squirrel:
How can you tell if your furry friends have decided to move in? Here are a few things to look (and listen) for:
•Scurrying feet: Squirrels are most active during the day. If around dawn or dusk you hear the sounds of little feet above you, odds are there is a den nearby.
•Strange smells: You may not notice it at first, but over time the smell of animal urine and feces can become quite strong. If there’s a putrid smell, it’s safe to assume you have a pest problem.
•Entry points: Squirrels can enter your home through pretty much any opening in your house. So keep tabs on your doors and windows. Look for teeth marks around your home and watch obvious entry points, such as attic vents. It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on nearby branches leading to your roof. Squirrels being the great climbers they are can easily reach your attic from nearby tree branches.
How to get rid of squirrels:
Finding your squirrel housemates can be easy, but getting rid of them isn’t as simple. Squirrels will often need some incentive to leave, so convincing them to move out will take time and effort.
Luckily, you don’t have to work in pest control to escort squirrels out of your home safely. Here are some tips to evict those pesky rodents:
•Block all routes. Limiting entry points can discourage squirrels from returning. Consider using wire mesh, caulk or similar materials to seal up your home. After you’ve secured your home, leave one entry point open. Then place some newspaper over it and wait. If the newspaper stays intact after a few days, you can seal off the final entry point. It’s also a good idea to trim branches leading to your house and keep food stored away so they won’t come back.
An important side note: be especially careful in early spring and mid-summer, as squirrels raise their babies during this time. Sealing off an entrance too soon can separate the mother squirrel from her babies and ultimately make matters worse.
•Humane harassment. Squirrels won’t always leave right away. Try placing bright, fire-safe lights; a radio; or strong smells like apple cider vinegar near where the squirrels are hiding. These signals tell squirrels that predators are nearby and the area isn’t safe. Once the squirrels leave, it’s safe to seal all entryways. This is the go-to option when it comes to squirrel moms and babies.
•Live traps. Traps can be helpful, but this method should be a last resort. In many states, it’s illegal to trap and release squirrels. What’s more, squirrels that have been trapped and relocated often abandon their babies in the process – even if they’re moved together. So be aware of your local laws, and consider calling a pest control professional for help.