Whether squirrels are in your attic, inside your home, in your chimney, or just becoming a nuisance, it can be helpful to know how to get rid of them. The method you use to evict the squirrels will depend on where they are, but some general rules always apply.
1. To get squirrels out of the attic, opt for an exclusion device since cage traps won’t work.
2. When trapping squirrels, the trap itself is more important than the bait you choose.
3. Always make sure baby squirrels aren’t present before removing the animals.
4. Don’t forget to get rid of squirrel attractants and seal up their entry points.
5. Squirrel repellents won’t work; physically removing or excluding them is the only choice.
6. If squirrels are chewing on wires, try spreading very hot sauce.
7. If squirrels are trapped in the chimney, offer them a rope to climb out with.
Getting Rid Of Squirrels In The Attic
One of the most common places squirrels will end up is the attic. When there, they can be a nuisance, scurrying around at all hours and making a lot of noise. To squirrels, attics are just an extension of their favorite tree, making them an ideal shelter. Before you start working on getting squirrels out of your attic, you need to make sure that young ones are not present. If there are young, try waiting until they are old enough to leave by themselves or contact a professional to remove them for you.
Assuming that no young are present and you only have adult squirrels in your attic, then the best option is to either trap and remove them or use an exclusion device. For trapping, you should ideally just mount the trap directly on the main entrance the squirrels use to get in and out. Next time they try to leave, they will end up in the trap, ready to be relocated. Opt for a repeater trap so you can catch multiple squirrels at once. Just be sure to mount the trap securely and check it often so the squirrels aren’t left in there exposed to the elements and stressed out. Keep in mind that for some reason, squirrels won’t enter cage traps in the attic so you need to mount them outside of the space.
If you don’t want to have to worry about relocating the squirrels, you can also get them out of your attic using an exclusion device or one-way door. These are also mounted over the main entry point but will allow the squirrel to leave freely but not get back inside. As you can imagine, pretty soon, all the squirrels will find themselves outside. Just remember that for either method to work, you need to be sure that every other potential entry point is sealed except for the one with the trap or exclusion device over it.
Getting Rid Of Squirrels In A Chimney
Frequently when a squirrel is in the chimney, it has gotten stuck inside. It may have mistaken the chimney for a branch and then fallen inside and been unable to get up, particularly if your chimney flue is slippery. Because of this, your first step if it seems that the squirrel is trapped should be to secure a rope or other object to the roof then lower it into the chimney. Give the squirrel some time to take the initiative and climb up and out themselves. If they don’t, you may need to hire an expert for some help. Never try to smoke a squirrel out of a chimney by starting a fire! If they are trapped, they still won’t get out and you will kill them (in a gruesome way).
Don’t Forget To Seal Up Entrances Afterwards
After you have gotten rid of the squirrels, take some time to thoroughly inspect your home to ensure that there are no potential entry points left. Squirrels can fit in very small spaces so you need to seal up every single hole you see. You should also pay attention to your roof, the areas around pipes, eaves, and more. Sometimes, spotting all the entrances will take a professional eye so don’t hesitate to hire an expert to do this for you. They will know what to look for and can save you money in the long run; after all, you don’t have to spend time or money getting rid of squirrels that never made it inside.
Clean The Space Thoroughly
No matter what part of your home you evicted the squirrel from, you cannot neglect cleaning the space afterwards. These animals will leave urine and feces behind everywhere, leading to some very bad smells and a potential health risk. If left alone, the droppings will smell worse and grow mold; some may also have salmonella. When cleaning the attic or other area, be sure to also inspect it for damage caused by the squirrels. These animals are likely to have urinated on objects you had stored and chewed on them. Pay close attention to electrical wires during your inspection to make sure there is no fire risk.
Squirrels are seemingly ubiquitous-they are in parks, in the trees of city boulevards, in back yards and unfortunately, sometimes in attics. They are noisy and create an unhealthy situation in your house. Not only can they be a health threat, they can be extremely costly in their destructive behavior. By chewing through wood or plastic, they can disable the entire electric system in a house, cause fires through exposed pieces of wires or they can even cause flooding by chewing through the PVC pipes.
Their droppings and urine make an odor that is nasty, to say the least. As if that were not bad enough, this smell seems to signal to other squirrels to come and check this place out. They reproduce quickly as well. One pregnant squirrel will be four or five squirrels in a couple of months. Another three to four months later, you can have a family of twelve to fifteen squirrels in your attic.
What Can You Do To Prevent Squirrels From Destroying Your House? Because squirrels are cute and can actually become quite familiar with human beings, they can be seen as potential pets. However, they are rodents and do not make good pets. They are excellent climbers and chewers and can chew their way into almost anything. So how are they to be kept out of the house?
One way to minimize the attraction for squirrels to come into the house is to eliminate everything that would draw them to your house in the first place. A big item that draws squirrels is bird food. Here is ready food that they can access without any problem with conventional type bird feeders. There are all kinds of gadgets that will deter the squirrels from reaching the feeders but those crafty squirrels can circumvent almost every obstacle. It is very difficult to keep them away from bird seed.
The other crucial measure to take is to check the entire house for entry points that squirrels could use to gain access to the attic. Any loose piece of roofing can be chewed until it is large enough to provide a hole big enough to get inside. Soffit under the eaves must be closed and interlocked tightly for the same reason. In fact, any hole at all, anywhere on the house, can serve as an entry for the squirrel who wants to make a nest and give birth to her young.
One last step to take to keep the squirrel population out of your house is to cut down any limbs from trees that hang over the house. These provide easy access to your roof for an active squirrel.
Repellents: Mothballs have been totally overrated as repellents of unwanted rodents. The balls have an odor and so do the squirrels' urine and feces. All that together makes for a fairly nasty odor. These are often pushed but very rarely are they found effective. Not only do these repellents not work, they add to the smell in the house and the aggravation of the home owner. People have tried sounds to drive them out, but that did not bother them enough to leave either.
Techniques And Exclusions: One technique to rid a house of squirrels is to trap them. Or there are several types of exclusions. One type is to have a one way trap attached directly to the opening that seems to be their favorite portal into and out of the attic. You will probably need several traps because the squirrels will have several exits. You need to be certain that there isn’t a mother squirrel that just had babies as they would be left vulnerable and will die. Decomposition odor in the attic may permeate the entire house, which would be most unpleasant. The plan would have to be to evacuate all the squirrels, catch them in traps, detoxify the attic of their feces and urine and close up every hole that could possibly be used for entry into the attic. Exclusion caps over chimneys and wires over the air vents should prevent any further squirrel invasion.
We are the Pest Education Network, a non-profit organization that focuses on wildlife and pest removal education. Our approach utilizes Integrated Pest Management, a strategy advocating prevention and humane methods.