Not only can squirrels wreak havoc around your home and garden, but they can potentially carry the same diseases as other rodents like rats and mice. Whether squirrels have invaded your house, attic, or backyard, this article’s got you covered. Today, we’ll provide you with a brief guide on how to get rid of squirrels around your household!
So without further ado, let’s dive right in!
How to Confirm That You Have a Squirrel Around
Before listing some of the viable solutions to get rid of squirrels, you must first know how to identify their presence.
Squirrels are pretty elusive by nature and you may not be able to encounter them in person, so here’s how to confirm that your home invader is a squirrel and not another critter that may require a different extermination approach:
- You hear loud chewing and scratching sounds that are mostly coming from the ceiling and crawl spaces like attics
- You may find water damage on the walls and ceiling from urine damage or biting
- You might find squirrel footprints on dusty floors. Squirrels have 5 toes on their back paws and 4 toes on their front one, which is notably larger than mice and rats footprints
- You’ll find chewing marks on wood, cables, air vents, and other areas of your home
- You’ll also find squirrel droppings, which are pellets with round ends that are brighter in color, unlike rat’s dropping, which have sharp ends and remain dark.
How to Get Rid of Squirrels in Your House or Attic
If you want to get rid of squirrels that have invaded your house, here’s a list of tips and measures to take in order to remove them from the property. Depending on the condition of your property, you might be able to use some of the methods preferred for outdoors pest control in the following section, as well.
1. Allow the Squirrel to Find its Way Out
For starters, you should know that squirrels are easy prey to various predators, so they instinctually avoid inhabited places and households. In other words, if a squirrel ends up in your house and you hear its scratching noises, they’re most likely trying to find its way out.
In that case, you only need to remove any food or snacks that will encourage the squirrel to stay. Close any doors that lead to other parts of the house and open all doors and windows that lead outside. They’ll eventually escape before you know it!
2. Make Loud Noise Near it
If you haven’t been around the house for a long time, the squirrel may find the house as a safe spot to nest in. This may also happen if you rarely visit the attic or the basement of the house.
If you’ve confirmed the presence of squirrels using the guide above, all you need to do to drive them away is start making the place look alive again. Simple acts such as talking loudly, walking around, tapping on the walls and ceiling, setting up a bright light in the attic, or turning on music or TV can do the trick.
You can also use several deterrents for faster results, such as spraying around mint indoor fragrances or vinegar that squirrels despise. Such activity should be more than enough to warn the squirrels of the dangers they have ahead, and they should leave quickly the same way they entered.
3. Locate the Nest and Remove Baby Squirrels From the Attic
In some cases, if you’ve been away long enough, a mother squirrel may have babies in a nest. In that case, the motherly instinct will kick in and they won’t abandon their young. Baby squirrels are usually more common in spring (February to May) and early months of the fall (August to October).
While it may feel more humane to let the babies grow and leave the attic on their own, such an idea would take a few weeks and might end up causing a serious infestation. Instead, you should try to locate the nest and remove the babies from the nest.
Squirrels will leave the house immediately and find a new shelter for them. If you can’t find the nest, calling a professional would be necessary.
4. Set a Live Trap
Another reason why some squirrels may not leave is that they’re too frightened to get out in the open.
This may be the case if you hear a lot of persistent scratching noises through the walls and ceiling despite your loud activity. An alternative method to encourage them to come out, in that case, would be using a live trap.
These one-way door traps are fairly available and you only need a few nuts to make them an appealing offer to the squirrel.
Tune down the noises to encourage them to come out from hiding and go into the trap. Once they step inside, the door will close and you should hear the noisy disturbance when they realize they’re trapped. Carefully transfer the cage outside the house and set them free.
5. Remove a Squirrel from a Chimney
In some cases, squirrels may find their way into the house through chimneys, especially if they’re inactive for a while.
While these squirrels usually sneak into a house through chimneys, they can sometimes build their nest in the space right above the damper, so make sure that you check there, too, while searching for a nest.
Similar to the attic, you can simply remove the squirrels from the chimney by making loud noises near the chimney; they’ll usually climb their way out the same way they got in.
6. Seal Any Cracks or Holes Where the Squirrel May Have Squeezed Through
Whether you’ve already found the squirrel or not, it’s best to check the house inside and outside looking for any spots, creases, or holes where they could’ve squeezed themselves through.
If you think you’ve found an entrance, make sure that you seal them shut either by fixing them with wooden boards, caulk or by applying a mesh screen with very tiny holes.
7. Keep the Attic Clean and Clutter-Free
Squirrels usually prefer messy spots with plenty of items to hide behind in order to avoid dangers.
By cleaning the attic of unwanted mess, it won’t feel like a safe haven for the squirrels which will also encourage them to abandon the spot.
8. Let Your Pet Handle The Situation
Having a pet dog or cat is like having professional pest control in the house, especially if they’re properly trained to seek and catch squirrels.
A properly trained dog will be able to sniff out the squirrels and even chase them all the way outside the house.
9. Use Sonic Repellents to Lead Them Out of the House and Backyard
Although ultrasonic repellents are originally designed for outdoor use, you may rely on them to create an unpleasant environment for the squirrels without harming them.
These ultrasonic squirrel repellents will emit ultrasonic waves that humans can’t hear but squirrels can. Once the device is on, the squirrels will abandon your property to escape the noise.
How to Prevent Squirrels from Coming Back
The best way to prevent the squirrels from coming back is by making the backyard unappealing to them. One thing you should know is that some of the previously mentioned methods may work outside of the house, too.
For example, the sonic repellents are originally designed to work outdoors to prevent squirrels from invading your property, so you can try that.
Here are some additional steps that may work outside of the house to get rid of these tiny critters and even prevent them from returning:
- Use a plastic owl to scare the squirrel away
- Sprinkle taste repellents around the backyard, such as cayenne pepper
- Plant some odor repellents such as mint
- Rake and clean up the backyard to remove any food items that might attract them again
- Trim trees near the roofline to prevent them from reaching the attic easily
- Use motion-activated sprinklers
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When to Seek Professional Help
Of course, seeking a professional pest control company is always an option you can consider when dealing with pesky squirrels.
Although getting rid of squirrels is pretty easy (most of them enter houses by mistake and will try to leave on their own), things might start to get out of hand, especially if you haven’t been around the house for a while. Backyard or garden infestations are common and they can be pretty persistent and tough.
One thing you should keep in mind is that you should never go in a face-to-face fight or chase the squirrel. Though rare, squirrel bites can still transmit some serious infections, such as rabies, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, encephalitis, leptospirosis, and tularemia.
If you suspect that you’re dealing with more than one squirrel, baby squirrels, and see signs of infestation in your home or yard, it’s time to call a professional.
After all is said and done, you now have a brief guide that shows you how to get rid of squirrels, whether they’re inside your house or in the backyard. As you can see, there are plenty of ways to eliminate these tiny critters and deter them so that they can never return to your house.