How to Get Rid of Squirrels in Your Attic
In order to keep their teeth in check, squirrels must chew on materials around your home. Typical victims of squirrel gnawing are pipes, vents, shingles, wood beams, and live wires. While these materials are not edible, they are certainly worth testing out. During the winter, squirrels tend to be in the attic at their busiest. Here are some tips for avoiding their destructive behavior.
Humanely and effectively trap
One of the best ways to trap squirrels in an attic is to use baited cage traps. These should be bolted to the roof or fascia board. These traps should be set at least five feet away from the attic entrance. Ideally, you should set five or six traps. If you’re unsure of how to set them, read up on proper bait selection and trap placement.
If squirrels have already occupied the attic, you’ll want to install a one-way cage door to block their access. Installing a one-way cage door will prevent them from returning through the hole. Installing a one-way door will prevent them from escaping through the door. If this fails, you can also set up a live-catch trap and place it about three miles away. This method is not always safe, however, and should be done only if you’re certain of your own safety.
Identifying signs of squirrels
If you suspect a squirrel has taken up residence in your attic, you should take steps to eradicate the infestation. You may have noticed droppings, urine, or a nest. Depending on the species, these signs may indicate a squirrel’s presence. Squirrel droppings are oblong in shape, about 3/8″ to 1/2″ long, and brown. If you notice light-colored droppings, your squirrel problem is probably older.
Squirrels can also cause water damage, peeling paint, and urine stains. Their odor is an indication that they have urinated on the walls and insulation. You can also smell the droppings, which are typically dark brown. Squirrel droppings can also indicate decomposition. If you find any of these signs in your attic, contact a wildlife professional to get rid of the problem.
One of the most common methods of removing squirrels from an attic is by making noise. One way to accomplish this is to keep a radio on, loud enough to disturb the squirrels, and keep it there. The volume of the radio does not have to be very high, but loud enough to attract the squirrels and scare them away. You may want to use music or speech instead of the radio.
A bird feeder is another option. Bird feeders often attract squirrels, and these rodents are likely to enter the attic through these feeders. Buying a squirrel-proof bird feeder is a good idea. This way, you can sate your neighborhood squirrels while minimizing your own problems with a rodent infestation. Besides, squirrel-proof feeders are easier to install and require a minimum of maintenance.
Getting rid of squirrels
There are a few tell-tale signs that squirrels are living in your attic. First, odor. Squirrels have foul odors, and the smell can even permeate the rest of the house. They also leave droppings, urine, and nests in the attic, so you may notice a foul odor in the air. If you have a problem with squirrels in your attic, you should act quickly before the situation gets out of hand.
Seal off entry points. Squirrels can chew through even the smallest holes, so they need an exit to escape. Professional exclusion methods use funnel-shaped exits, baited with food, to prevent the squirrels from returning. Once the squirrels are gone, reinstall the door. Using a one-way cage door or funnel outside the entrance to the attic is another effective method. This will keep the squirrels from entering or re-entering your attic, which will prevent them from ever coming back.
Jessica Watson is a PHD holder from the University of Washington. She studied behavior and interaction between squirrels and has presented her research in several wildlife conferences including TWS Annual Conference in Winnipeg.