Squirrels are often regarded as the peskiest of pests because of their tenacity combined with their destructive gnawing and chewing on woodwork in the house.
Squirrels can cause considerable damage when they make their nest inside a roof. They are excellent chewers and are notorious for chewing their way into buildings
in a dogged manner, as they love being inside buildings. Once they gain entrance, they go on to create a mess with their constant gnawing on structures and fittings.
Squirrels generally constitute a huge nuisance for many homeowners, they can be heard chattering or squealing, or scurrying around and upturning things in the roof all day.
And if they're in the attic, read my get squirrels out of the attic
Some of the damages that squirrels unleash in a roof are:
- They will chew up your wood, wires, pipes, ducts etc. The chewing on wire can cause an electrical or fire hazard.
- They could bring in nesting material and leave their droppings (feces and urine) all over the place which could cause leptosirosis or salmonella.
- They carry parasites like ticks and fleas on their bodies and are therefore vectors for the diseases that these parasites transmit.
The most effective methods to get rid of squirrels in the roof space are by exclusion and trapping.
Squirrels love to climb fruits trees and bird feeders; they can also jump from those tree onto the roof of your house, and subsequently gain entrance to the attic. To prevent this, you must cut down or trim all trees near your house. You can also stop squirrels from climbing a nearby tree by fastening a 2-feet metal sheet around its trunk about 7 feet above the ground. Fasten with springs to allow the metal to expand as the tree grows.
Thereafter, you need to find all holes that lead from the outside into the attic and seal them properly. Place a wire mesh over vents and chimney and ensure that there are no holes from the attic to the other parts of the house.
You may also seal up all identified gaps with hardware cloth and replace rotten wood as squirrels can easily chew through them. Read my 10-step guide for How to Get Rid of Squirrels
Spray a good repellent over sealed openings and cover as much space as possible. Purchase a good steel chimney cap, and install it snugly to cover the top of your chimney.
In trapping squirrels, you would require a small squirrel-size cage baited with squirrel favorites ranging from peanuts to walnuts, peanut butter, soda crackers, bread crusts, etc. ensure that the bait is far inside enough to draw the squirrel’s whole body in before the trigger is set off. Place the trap on a level surface inside the attic. Once you have set it, check the trap frequently for early detection of a catch so the animal does not suffer for long.
After you have successfully trapped the squirrel pest(s) in your roof space you can transport them several miles away from your neighborhood and release them, preferably in a wooded area. Always wear thick gloves while handling squirrels as they can bite when agitated.
Note: if a squirrel is in your attic, there is a high likelihood that it is a mother with her young still stashed away inside the attic below the roof. Female squirrels are known to seek warm enclosures to raise their kits. In this case, you must get the babies out as well to prevent them from starving to death. One way to identify a mother squirrel is to check its nipples.
After removing the squirrel(s), it is important that you carry out repairs and animal-proof your property or more squirrels will come in to replace their evicted members.
There is no proven repellent substance or device for squirrels as most remedies do not work. Some of the repellent solutions in use include:
- Flashing strobe lights: Install flashing strobe lights or leave the lights in the attic on. The constant light might scare away the squirrels.
- Ultrasonic device: They emit a disturbing sound that only small animals can hear. This will make the squirrels leave your attic. Alternatively, you can place a radio close to their hide-out; the noise would confuse them and hopefully make them leave.
- Squirrel spray: You could purchase this spray and use it on their hideout. Most sprays contain a predator's urine like a fox and may cause the squirrel to leave your attic in fear.
- Ammonia: Soak a rag with ammonia and place it close to their hide-out or nest. Ammonia has a strong scent that is generally irritating to animals.
Read more about squirrel repellents
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