How to Get Rid of Squirrels
There are several species of squirrel, but tree squirrels are the the most common nuisance for homeowners because they inhabit attics and cause damage. Squirrels are typically discovered because they make a lot of noise in the area they inhabit.
Squirrels are abundant in the wild because their numbers far exceed the number of predators. The large population and decreasing natural habitat due to construction in many areas causes them to seek shelter in houses. The cool months of fall and winter cause squirrels to seek the warmth that is found in attics.
What can I do to keep squirrels out of the attic?
A consistent trapping program is best for squirrel control.
- Removal of any diet source: bird seed for example, because they attract the squirrels is the first order of business.
- Gutter guards and covering down spouts will reduce the amount of squirrels entering through the roof top and facia boards.
- There are no poison baits on the market that squirrels will eat and die. There is none that are labeled as squirrel bait, just mice and rat bait. Live trapping squirrels is the only way to remove unwanted squirrels.
- Locate the trap along the path of entry and places of known foraging activity. You may want to consider local ordinances for trapping squirrels, in that they differ. Sometimes a professional trapper with a nuissance control license is needed to not only capture the squirrel, but relocate it as well.
- Go about 4-5 miles away to relocate the squirrels or it will find it's way back to your area.
- Trapping a squirrel is really the only way to get rid of it in your attic, once it has chewed a hole.
- It is important to seal up and repair all entry points after trapping the squirrels so they no longer have access.
Steps to prevent squirrel entry in crawl space, basement or attic
- Trim tree branches that may overhang the roof line.
- Remove firewood stacked against the building.
- If there are cracks in the foundational wall, repair them.
- Seal entry points
Recommended Squirrel Traps
Safequard # 50450 Single Trap -for all squirrel types; Red Squirrel, Flying Squirrel, and the larger Gray Squirrel. This trap also traps rats well.
Traps Squirrels (red and flying), rats, weasels, chipmunks and similar sized animals. Single door rigid live trap. Automatic locking doors to provide an almost escape proof catch every time.
Havahart #1077 Squirrel Cage- for the larger Gray squirrel types, but not the smaller squirrel types.
The 1 inch grid would make this trap less preferable for trapping rats or the smaller squirrels.
- Always use work gloves when handling the traps with a squirrel inside.
- Some trappers like to use a technique called "pre-baiting"....leaving the trap out, and wired open(so it won't shut) with the bait so that they can get used to the object in their environment,gaining confidence. Most of the time, this technique is not needed.
- Place traps where you hear or see the activity.
Using a Rat/Squirrel lure (walnut oil based) on a cracker or piece of
fruit behind the trip pan is very helpful as a lure.
You may also try peanut butter.
Next use sunflower seeds on top of that and trail a line of sunflower
out the front door of the trap so that there are "free" seeds a couple
of feet in front of the trap.
This will help overcome any anxiety the squirrels may have about entering
Trapping Gray Squirrels
For trapping gray squirrels,you will want to place their traps along their pathways or points of entry...such as along the roof, at the base of a tree, or base of the building they are entering.
Trapping Flying Squirrels
Flying squirrels would need to be trapped inside the attic areas, in that they glide into the attics. Look for their areas of activity..such as droppings, when placing the traps. The insulated areas, with their tunnels and nests that look like piles is another place to set up the traps. After trapping and relocating the squirrels you can seal the openings with 1/4" mesh hardware cloth or metal flashing. Look for all possible entry points. If you are not handy with tools, many nuisance wildlife control companies will seal entry points with a year's guarantee for a fee.
Using Squirrel Repellents
Using Bonide's Repel All Animal Repellents may cause the squirrels to flee the area. These repellents come in a concentrated liquid form or a granulated form. Using it would irritate the squirrel, causing it to avoid or escape the area.
Using Squirrel Exclusion Products
There are several exclusion product that we recommend. Use a copper mesh wool or Xcluder Fill Fabric to stuff into holes and bigger openings. For smaller openings, use Foams in an aerosol form such as Pur Black NF Foam. It fills and seals voids.
©Photo courtesy of: Grolier Encylopedia
Normal habitat is inside tree cavities in hardwoods.
Smaller than the grey squirrel,entering the smallest of cracks and holes. They are about 9 inches long, which includes a 3-4 inch tail, weighing about 3 ounces as an adult. The have a dense soft brown fur, white belly.
The flying squirrels don't really fly, but glide into attics from trees. They do this by means of a thin skin that extends out from the sides of the body and connects the front and hind legs as shown in the above picture. In "flying," the squirrels leap spread-eagled and use their outstretched gliding membranes for gliding and their bushy tails for guidance. Glides of 60 metres (almost 200 feet) or more have been recorded.
Flying Squirrels can enter the attics through the eaves and soffits thru small cracks. These squirrels may easily enter the space between the roof top and facia board , chewing the area for a wider entry point.
These squirrels chew on ornamental and potted plants. Damages screens.
They may gnaw on wood, electrical wiring and insulation causing fires.
Fly squirrels are nocturnal with their major activity at night. They are known to make plenty of noise during the night. Can by commonly heard,making a great deal of noise at night between sunset and sunrise. May be heard landing on the roof or the sides of the house.
- Normally have 2 litters a year, 2-4 young per litter.
- Will seek shelter and a hiding place,likes to hide in the insulation.
- Diet: Seeds, nuts, insects, bird eggs, fruits
- When trapping for these squirrels: place the traps in the attic, where they are commonly found.
©Photo courtesy of: Grolier Encylopedia
GRAY SQUIRREL FEATURES:
- Gray squirrels are about 18 inches long, including their 9 inch tails.. larger than the flying squirrels. They weigh about 1-1.5 lbs. as an adult. Their coloration is usually gray, salt and pepper, but can have tan hairs in the fur as well, white belley.
- The winter coat is grey above with a white underside; the summer coat is shorter, sleeker and brownish grey above. Red squirrels have red/brown upper parts in summer but may show some grey on the back in winter, leading to some confusion. Reds are smaller, lighter, have ear tufts, prominent in the winter coat and brown on the legs and tail.
- Natural habitats are wooded areas in tree cavities, can be found near hardwoods like oaks and hickory trees. Will construct feeding shelters out of leafs.
- Generally have 2 litters a year, 2-4 young per litter. They normally breed in midwinter and late spring. Gestation is about 44 days.
- Diet consists of bird eggs, insects, berries, fruit, vegetables, nuts and nestling birds. They like to hoard their food.
- Gray squirrels are active during the day, expecting to hear them during the daytime.
- Can inhabit the attic areas as well as crawl spaces. They like to enter the attic areas from your gutters and nearby trees and bushes. Installing gutter guards, or down spouts with screen may prevent them from climbing up to the roof through a down spout.