How To Get Rid Of Squirrels in the Attic (A Quick Guide)

There are several species of squirrels, including the gray squirrel and flying squirrel. However, these two are the ones most widely seen in attics. So, what's the best way to get rid of them? 

First, it is vital to know where to locate a squirrel nest. Then, you have to remove it from your attic or crawl space. After that, you want to ensure wildlife such as squirrels, chipmunks, and raccoons never return.

Squirrels in the Attic

Here, we show you the most common signs of squirrel infestations in your home. Then, you'll receive tips on how to get rid of squirrels in your attic. Last, you'll discover the most important thing—preventing them from coming back.

If trying to get rid of squirrels on your own becomes too challenging, we recommend Orkin, Terminix, and Aptive. These exterminators have some of the best trained professionals that are able to use traps, baits, and other chemically treated solutions that are often more effective than standard DIY methods. 

For Terminix quotes you can reach them at 866-577-5051, or with this form.

For quotes from Orkin, call 866-701-4556, or fill out this form.

For a free quote from Aptive, call 855-521-7075 or visit the company's website.

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Signs of Squirrels in Your Attic 

There are several signs to look for when trying to decide if you have a squirrel problem. Some are obvious, others aren't. However, it's essential to look at all the evidence together. If three or more of these indicators are present, it's a safe bet you have a squirrel infestation in your attic. 

Damaged areas

Check for damaged areas around your entire home, not just the attic. These signs will not only give you clues as to where the infestation is located, but also the size of the problem. Here are some examples of areas to examine:

  • Holes in walls
  • Chewed electrical wiring
  • Dented ductwork
  • Damaged soffits and fascias
  • Torn insulation

Droppings

Squirrel droppings are often confused with that of rats. Both are a shiny black or brown color. However, the shape is different. The squirrel has feces that are squared-off at the ends whereas rat feces are tapered. Also, squirrel droppings are up to 70% larger than that of a rat. 

Noise

Squirrels are noisy critters. Like other rodents, they tend to scratch and claw a lot. So, if you hear noises in the attic, and all the kids are accounted for, you may have squirrels in the attic. 

Foul odors

Squirrels give off a musky odor, similar to other rodents. And they can eventually permeate your entire house. You may also eventually smell urine and feces in the attic and beyond. Also, if the nest is abandoned, young squirrels die and give off unpleasant odors from their decomposing bodies. 

Increased squirrel sightings

You may not only see the mother squirrel but also baby squirrels as well. The family is growing, so it's time to do something about it before the problem gets worse. In the next section, we're going to tell you exactly what to do to get rid of squirrels once and for all. 

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Top 5 Ways to Remove Squirrels 

1. Remove all food sources

Squirrels prefer acorns, walnuts, and other products produced by trees. That's why it's crucial to remove these food sources. Be sure to harvest any nuts or fruits immediately and eliminate them from roofs, porches, and overhangs. Installing flashing around tree trunks will help reduce access for squirrels and other climbing pests. 

Squirrels also enjoy bird food. So, be sure to limit their food sources by keeping any excess picked up from lawns and store it in sealed containers. The same goes for dog and cat food. 

Some squirrels will even invade refuse areas looking for food. And since they're not picky eaters, they'll eat fruits and vegetables thrown away by homeowners. For that reason, it's vital to keep all garbage containers sealed and inaccessible to squirrels. 

2. Remove easy access to your attic

Squirrels are excellent climbers. However, that's no reason to make it easy for them to enter your attic. The best way to reduce squirrel activity is by cutting back tree branches that are in contact with the roof. Sure, they may still be able to leap to the roof area. However, if you make it hard enough, your squirrels may decide to go elsewhere to find a suitable nest. 

3. Consider installing rodent guards

Rodent guards are typically made of plastic or PVC material. They fit around the trunk of your trees to keep rodents and small animals from climbing them. You can also create a squirrel-proof bird feeder using these handy devices. 

The main problem when using rodent guards is the fact that squirrels are great jumpers. So, you'll have to install them so that it covers at least four feet of each trunk, vertically. 

Another option, especially for wider trunks, is to wrap it in galvanized aluminum. It usually comes in 20-inch wide sheets of any length you want. And you can easily install it using one-inch nails. 

Remember to start wrapping the tree trunk at about four feet off the ground. That way, squirrels will have a hard time jumping over it to gain a foothold on the trunk. 

4. Use humane trapping methods

Trapping live animals isn't easy. It takes some patience and practice to pull it off. Here, we've put a few of the most important tips together so you'll have a greater chance of success. 

Check with local laws before setting any traps. Some states won't allow you to trap wild animals. Others may have complicated restrictions. There may also be some permitting requirements that vary between each municipality. 

Use cage-style squirrel traps. These humane traps allow you to release the squirrel after you catch it. Most brands have smooth surfaces so the animal is less likely to be harmed. It's best to bait them with peanut butter, bird food, or a combination of both. 

Be careful with live trap placement.  Animals can tip the trap over. So, it's best to anchor the bottom using a stake or other device. Also, be sure to place the trap on a stable surface.

Release the squirrel immediately. Never transport a trapped animal inside a car. Instead, use the bed of a pickup truck. Wild animals carry diseases and may infect the inside of your vehicle. 

5. Employ scaring devices

Sometimes, scaring devices work to chase away squirrels and other wildlife pests. There are three types of scaring devices available for squirrel control:

Ultrasonic repellents. These electronic devices send an ultrasound wave to the animal,  annoying it enough to chase it away. They're fairly simple to use. Just plug them in, turn them on, and set the desired frequency selector to repel squirrels. The nice thing is, the sound is inaudible to humans. 

Combination scaring devices add another dimension by including flashing lights or some other visual signal to the ultrasound. It also may include an audible noise to go with it. 

Fake wildlife. Fake birds, owls, and snakes may work well, at least for a little while. However, they often need to be rotated when the nuisance animal gets used to it. 

Squirrel repellents come in either liquid or solid formulations that contain natural ingredients. You can use them indoors or outside to form a perimeter barrier. The downside is, you may have to apply the repellent often. Also, they're best when used in dry weather conditions. 

6. Hire a pest control company

One of the easiest ways to remove squirrels from your attic is by hiring a pest management company. However, be sure it specializes in wildlife removal services. Also, make sure it's licensed, bonded, and insured in your state. 

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How to Prevent Squirrels in Your Attic 

Mechanical exclusion techniques help control wildlife pests by sealing them out of your home. There are also some sanitation measures you can use to discourage squirrels from entering your property. We discuss both of these methods here and provide the steps to complete them. 

1. Screen off potential entrance sites

Sheet metal and wire mesh are both suitable materials for eliminating large holes in these locations:

  • Eaves 
  • Overlapping roof sections
  • Chimneys
  • Attic vents

2. One-way doors

These specialized cages allow the squirrel to exit your home without letting it back in. These one-way doors are especially handy if you have a trapped animal in your attic. Eventually, they will need to search for food outside. However, when they try to return to the attic, they can't get back in. 

3. Pipe entry points

Steel wool or expansion foam is ideal for plugging pipe entries inside and outside the home. However, if the hole is more than two inches in diameter, it's best to use the expansion foam. 

4. Other potential entry areas

Use a combination of materials, including silicone caulking, to seal holes and cracks throughout the home. Although squirrels can't get in everywhere, this method ensures other pests stay outside where they belong. 

5. Sanitation measures for squirrels

While some sanitation measures have already been explained earlier, there are several other options to consider, also. Here, we've included a checklist to make it easy:

  1. Cut all tree branches away from the house at least six feet.
  2. Make sure there aren't any nuts or fruit from trees lying around in the yard
  3. Store pet food in sealed storage containers
  4. Install squirrel baffles on all bird feeders
  5. Ensure all trash is properly disposed of
  6. Seal all trash receptacles using tight-fitting lids

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