The presence of squirrel in your home does not only pose a threat in the home structure itself but as well in the health of the people living in the squirrel-infested house. They have a voracious appetite, chewing away almost anything including the insulation, wires, and even your wooden furniture. When insulation wires are being chewed away, the asbestos fibers, of which they are made of are exposed, making them a real threat on the health of your household. These fibers could trigger allergic reaction and worse, lead to a myriad of lung diseases.
Exposed electrical wires also pose danger to your home. When squirrels invade them, they can cause house fires. Also, when the eaves at your home and your wooden furniture are being attacked, they spell damage and additional house expenses. Squirrels hiding behind the walls can urinate and defecate, leaving behind waste and unwanted smell. You see, these squirrels are not what you initially thought they are. They look harmless but wait and see ‘til they attack your attic.
Understanding the Squirrels’ Behavior
Before you take any random advice on how to get rid of squirrels in the attic, it will be best to understand first the nature of these furry animals. By nature, squirrels are arboreal mammals. They thrive inside the holes of the trees and often feed on seeds and nuts. Your attic, one of the most common sites of squirrels in the domestic world, is one of their favorite hideout places. The warmth and comfort brought about by your attic provides these squirrels an ideal place to mate, give birth, set their nests, store their food, and even make it as their own private toilet.
They usually mate during early winter and give birth during late spring. One litter of squirrel babies is often equivalent to four. Some squirrels are reported to give birth to 6 baby squirrels. Most of the baby squirrels are dependent on their mother for survival. Thus, it isn’t wise to trap or even kill the mother squirrel without checking out first the presence of its baby squirrels. Getting rid of the mother squirrel and leaving behind the babies will only increase the chance of having dead squirrels in your home.
Dealing with squirrels in your home is like having a war with a small army. Their looks could easily lure anyone that they’re harmless even if they’re not. They can chew almost anything including the aluminum capping of your home because of their capacity to bite about 22,000 pounds for every square inch.
How to Know if Squirrels are in Your Home
Identifying the presence of squirrels in your home is not as difficult as it may seem. These animals are known to be highly territorial and have a strong sense of smell. They could locate where they hid their food simply by using their sense of smell. If these squirrels have made their attic your home, then it would be a challenge to keep them away unless you get rid and relocate them miles away from your house.
You could easily tell if squirrels are thriving in your home especially in your attic by the smell of their urine alone. Other means to tell if these animals are making your attic their home by the presence of food and noise during early in the morning and even at dusk. Their clawing and squeaking plus the unusual holes in your attic are positive signs that these mammals have been making your attic part of their habitat.
Different Ways of Getting Rid of Squirrels in Attic
The squirrels may be damaging your attic in different ways BUT there are more ways of getting rid of them. Some of the most effective ways of getting rid of squirrels include the following:
Use of Repellents
Squirrel repellents are best to use if you’re eyeing on more humane way of getting rid of squirrels. There are different repellents available out there. You can make use of an ultrasonic device, flashing strobe lights, commercially-made squirrel repellent, homemade squirrel repellent, ammonia, and even moth balls.
Squirrels communicate with each other through sound. However, they have this unique ability to talk to its kind without producing so much noise. You can turn this into their own weakness by using an ultrasonic device. This device comes in various shapes and sizes and makes use of a high-decibel sound that can only be heard by squirrels and other small animals sensitive to ultrasonic sound. Placing an ultrasonic device in your attic will make it an unbearable place for squirrels to live or even nest.
Flashing Strobe Lights
Another way of repelling squirrels from your attic is the use of flashing strobe lights. Bright flashes of light could startle squirrels and drive them away. This method is most effective for squirrels that aren’t used to people. Thus, if you have left your attic unattended for long, the use of flashing strobe lights is a good option.
Commercially-made Squirrel Repellent
The increasing problem with squirrels at home has paved the way for many companies to come up with solutions that naturally dispels these pesky animals. These repellents can either be made from spices (squirrels can’t stand them) or from predator’s urine. One of the well-known brands that make use of predator’s urine is the fox spray.
Homemade Squirrel Repellent
Some of the ingredients that can be found in your kitchen can be used to come up with a homemade squirrel repellent. Hot sauce, garlic, or pepper when mixed with the right amount of water can be used to get rid of squirrels. Unlike other animals, squirrels are sensitive to the smell of these spices. This homemade solution is often used by those who are keeping bird feeders at home (birds are not sensitive to these ‘hot’ ingredients).
Rags Soaked in Ammonia
The use of ammonia for getting rid of squirrels has long been used by many households. Like other methods for getting rid of them, the use of ammonia also relies on the fact that squirrels have strong sense of smell and are usually sensitive to those items that give off a strong smell.
Soak old socks or rags in a small amount of household ammonia and strategically place them on areas where you often spot the squirrels. They won’t be able to stand the smell so their way of self-preservation is to run away from it. Be careful with the use of ammonia as it can damage nasal passages; you better use mask and gloves when handling this substance.
Use of Moth Balls
The efficacy of using moth balls in dispelling the squirrels could vary from one household to another. Some households claim that they work while others claim that they only work when applied concurrently with other methods of getting rid of squirrels. Increase your chance of keeping away squirrels in the attic by using a trap/cage.
Use of Traps
Aside from using repellents, the use of traps is also a common way of getting rid of squirrels in house. Traps can either be live traps (cage traps) or lethal traps (spring traps). Cage traps are among the most common forms of traps available out there. They are more humane compared to the lethal traps that increase the chance of killing the squirrels themselves. While some states allow killing of squirrels as pests, there are those that prohibit the killing of these animals.
Cage traps are generally safe for use while for lethal traps, you may want to check on your current animal welfare laws to see if killing squirrels as pests is allowed. These traps are only as effective with the type of bait that you use. Peanuts and sunflower seeds are the best baits that you could make use of. They are based from the natural diet of the squirrels (they often feed on nuts and fruits).
The Use of Poison
There’s no approved poison for squirrels. Generally, its use is prohibited for various reasons. Some states have animal welfare laws that prohibit the killing of squirrels. Another reason why the use of poison is highly discouraged is because of the high risk involved in leaving behind baby squirrels which may die if left uncared for by their mother. Also, some poison take some time to take in effect and squirrels may hide somewhere leaving you another problem in finding the dead squirrel and getting rid of the smell.
Squirrels belong to the wild. While they may seem cute and harmless, the damage and possible health problems they could give is not a joke. House fires and water leaks, not to mention respiratory problems, may arise when households do not get rid of these squirrels.