If you’re a homeowner, you might have experienced the unsettling feeling of having an unwelcome guest in your home, especially when it’s a squirrel in your attic. Unfortunately, attics are a popular spot for these critters to reside. Ignoring their presence can quickly turn a single squirrel into a colony.
Dealing with pests like squirrels disrupts your peace of mind and can cause serious damage to your property. To help you get rid of squirrels in your attic, this comprehensive guide will provide you with all the information you need.
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Signs of Squirrels in the Attic
Squirrels are common attic invaders, and it’s crucial to identify the signs of their presence to take prompt action. Here are some signs to look out for:
- Strange noises: Squirrels are active during the day, and you may hear scratching, scampering, or scurrying sounds from the attic, especially in the morning and late afternoon.
- Damage to the attic: Squirrels chew through wood, insulation, and electrical wiring, leaving visible damage in the attic.
- Droppings: Squirrel droppings look similar to rat droppings but are slightly larger and oblong-shaped.
- Nests: Squirrels build nests using materials like leaves, twigs, and insulation, and you may find them in corners, near vents, or along the roof’s eaves.
- Sightings: If you see squirrels entering or exiting your home, especially near the roofline, it clearly indicates their presence in the attic.
If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to take immediate action to prevent further damage and ensure the safety of your home.
What Happens If Squirrels Get in Your Attic?
When squirrels get into your attic, they can cause many problems that can lead to significant damage and costly repairs. Here are some of the most common issues:
- Structural damage: Squirrels can chew through wooden beams, insulation, and electrical wiring, which weakens the structural integrity of your attic and can pose a fire hazard.
- Health hazards: Squirrel droppings and urine can spread diseases like salmonella and leptospirosis, which can cause serious health problems.
- Noise disturbance: Squirrels are active during the day, and their constant scratching, scurrying, and vocalizations can disrupt your sleep and daily activities.
- Increased energy bills: Squirrels can damage insulation, leading to heat loss and increased energy bills in the winter.
- Odor problems: Squirrel nests and droppings can cause unpleasant smells in your attic that can spread throughout your home.
- Fire hazard: Squirrels can chew through electrical wiring, which can lead to exposed wires and cause a fire hazard.
- Plumbing issues: Squirrels can also chew through plastic or metal pipes in your attic, causing leaks and water damage.
- Pest attraction: Squirrel infestations can attract other pests like fleas, ticks, and mites, which can spread throughout your home and cause health problems.
- Decreased air quality: Squirrel droppings and urine can release harmful particles into the air, reducing air quality in your home.
- Affecting resale value: Squirrel damage can decrease the resale value of your home, making it more challenging to sell in the future.
- Access to other areas of your home: Squirrels can use attic vents or gaps in your roof to enter other areas of your home, causing damage and further infestations.
To avoid these problems, taking preventive measures to keep squirrels out of your attic is crucial. Regularly inspect your home’s exterior and roof for any openings allowing squirrels to enter, and seal them immediately.
Keep tree branches trimmed away from your roof to prevent squirrels from accessing it, and store birdseed and other squirrel attractants away from your home. If you find squirrels in your attic, contact a professional pest removal service to address the problem safely and effectively.
How to Get Squirrels Out of Your Attic
Step 1: Identify the source of the problem
The first step in getting squirrels out of your attic is to identify the source of the problem. Look for any openings in the roof, vents, or siding that could provide squirrels access to your attic. Inspect the attic for signs of nesting or damage to insulation or wiring. Once you have identified the source of the problem, you can start taking steps to get rid of the squirrels.
Step 2: Use a one-way exclusion funnel
Using a one-way exclusion funnel is the most humane and effective way to get squirrels out of your attic. This device allows squirrels to leave the attic but prevents them from re-entering. Install the funnel over the opening where the squirrels enter and exit the attic. It’s important to ensure the funnel is securely attached and that it’s the only way for squirrels to exit the attic.
Step 3: Seal all entry points
Once you have installed the exclusion funnel, seal all other entry points to prevent squirrels from finding another way into the attic. Use metal flashing, wire mesh, or foam sealant to seal any gaps, holes, or openings that squirrels could use to access your attic. Sealing all entry points, even those that may seem too small for a squirrel to fit through, is important as they can chew through even the tiniest of openings.
Step 4: Install deterrents
Install deterrents like motion-activated lights or sprinklers to prevent squirrels from returning to your attic. These devices will startle squirrels and make them think twice about returning to your home. You can also use natural deterrents like peppermint oil or ammonia-soaked rags to repel squirrels.
Step 5: Clean up the attic
Once you have successfully removed the squirrels from your attic, cleaning up the area is important. Squirrel droppings and urine can spread diseases and cause odor problems. Wear gloves and a mask when cleaning up the attic and dispose of all waste properly. It’s also important to repair any damage caused by the squirrels, including replacing insulation, repairing wiring, and fixing any structural damage.
Step 6: Take preventive measures
To prevent squirrels from returning to your attic, take preventive measures like trimming tree branches away from your roof, storing birdseed and other squirrel attractants away from your home, and regularly inspecting your roof and exterior for any openings or damage.
Cleaning Up After You Remove Squirrels from the Attic
Step 1: Wear protective gear
Before you start cleaning up, it’s essential to wear protective gear to prevent exposure to squirrel droppings and urine, which can spread diseases. Wear gloves, a mask, and long-sleeved clothing.
Step 2: Remove squirrel droppings and urine
Remove all squirrel droppings and urine from the attic using a disposable dust mask and gloves. Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to remove the droppings or a damp cloth to wipe them up. Please dispose of all waste in a plastic bag, and seal it tightly.
Step 3: Clean and disinfect
After removing the droppings, clean the area with soap and water. You can also use a commercial disinfectant designed to clean up animal waste. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label.
Step 4: Replace insulation
If the insulation in your attic is soiled with squirrel droppings or urine, it’s best to replace it. Soiled insulation can harbor bacteria and fungi, which can cause health problems.
Step 5: Repair any damage
Squirrels can cause damage to insulation, wiring, and other materials in the attic. It’s important to repair any damage caused by the squirrels to prevent future infestations and ensure the safety of your home.
Step 6: Take preventive measures
To prevent future squirrel infestations, take preventive measures like sealing all entry points, installing deterrents like motion-activated lights or sprinklers, and keeping trees and bushes trimmed away from your home.
How to Keep Squirrels Out of the Attic
Keeping squirrels out of the attic requires preventive measures to seal off potential entry points and make your home less attractive to these critters. Here are some effective strategies to keep squirrels out of the attic:
- Seal off entry points: Inspect your home’s exterior and roof for any openings squirrels could use to enter your attic. Use metal flashing, wire mesh, or foam sealant to seal any gaps, holes, or openings.
- Trim trees and bushes: Squirrels can use trees and bushes to access your roof and attic. Trim trees and bushes away from your home, and consider installing squirrel-proof bird feeders or removing bird feeders altogether.
- Install deterrents: Motion-activated lights and sprinklers can startle squirrels and make them think twice about entering your property. You can also use natural deterrents like peppermint oil or ammonia-soaked rags.
- Repair any damage: Squirrels can cause damage to insulation, wiring, and other materials in the attic. It’s important to repair any damage caused by the squirrels to prevent future infestations.
- Keep your property clean: Squirrels are attracted to cluttered and unkempt yards, as they provide hiding spots and food sources. Keep your yard tidy and debris-free, and store trash and compost in sealed containers.
- Use squirrel-proof materials: When repairing or replacing materials in your attic, use metal instead of wood or plastic.
- Get regular inspections: Schedule regular inspections with a professional pest removal service to check for any signs of squirrel activity and take preventive measures to keep them out.
By taking these preventive measures, you can keep squirrels out of your attic and prevent costly damage to your home. If you suspect a squirrel infestation in your attic, contact a professional pest removal service to safely and humanely remove the squirrels and seal off potential entry points.
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