Squirrels are one of the most common nuisance animals that enter the home during winter.
During the spring and summer, they may enter the attic to find a safe place to raise a litter of babies. Squirrels can have two litters of 2-4 babies every year.
Like all other animals that will enter the home during fall and winter, they’re looking for a nice warm place to get shelter from the cold and snow. Squirrels also want a safe space to raise their young. They do not hibernate but they do want a warm place where that can sleep and remain mostly inactive until the weather changes and they leave in search of food.
You don’t want these little visitors living in your attic. Though they may not be as likely to carry diseases like raccoons do, they can be destructive.
Besides digging, scratching and damaging items in your attic, squirrels chewing on electrical wires is a serious issue that causes hundreds of home fires every year.
The sooner you get rid of a squirrel, the sooner you can stop the damage they cause and the smell they leave behind. You don’t want them sticking around long enough to give birth to a litter and end up with even more squirrels living there.
In this post, we list four DIY ideas to try for removing squirrels from the attic before you call a professional removal service.
Steps to get rid of squirrels in the attic
First, you need to find out how squirrels are getting into your home.
Squirrels can squeeze through small openings to enter the home. They may also enter through chimneys or vents. Squirrels may also chew their way inside through a worn area in the siding or soffit.
Finding out where they get in may take some work. It’s likely they’re entering through a place that is not easily accessible to people.
Related: Common animal entry points
You want to find out how they’re getting in to help determine your strategy for getting rid of the squirrels. You may not actually close the entrance right away. If there is only one way in, then you risk trapping them inside your home, which can make them cause even more damage while trying to escape.
If there is more than one entrance, then close all of the exits except for the main one. Leave the most easily accessible entry intact for now.
Once you have found their entry points and closed all of them except for one, give the squirrel some incentive to leave the attic.
How can you get squirrels to leave the attic?
There are several DIY methods that people will try to get rid of squirrels in the attic.
- Chemical Repellents
- Trapping (permit required)
People report varying levels of success using these DIY methods. What works against one squirrel will not always work with another because individual squirrels have different levels of tolerance to human activity.
Some people have had success in repelling squirrels by placing bright lights and strobes in the attic. These can work because they disrupt the dark peaceful home the squirrel has tried to make for herself.
Sounds may also disrupt the environment of some squirrels and scare them away. Some people have said that simply placing a radio at a high volume in the attic is enough to get rid of them. Others have used ultrasonic animal repellers that make a high pitched ultrasonic noise that scares animals away.
There are many chemical sprays and granular repellents available at your local hardware store. People report varying levels of success. Some people have complained that many animals develop a tolerance to repellents and eventually return. If you can get them out of your attic long enough to cover their entryway, it could be worth it.
Some people opt to try and trap the squirrels in their attic. You should be aware though that squirrels are a protected species and require a nuisance animal permit in Illinois in order to trap and remove.
Don’t use poison to get rid of squirrels in attic
We never recommend using poison to remove squirrels from your attic, or any other animal. Most importantly, it is illegal to poison squirrels and other animals in Illinois. Most wildlife in Illinois are considered protected species and require animal removal permits to remove.
Even if you did, you would face the likely outcome that the squirrel will crawl into a remote location in your attic, perhaps in the walls to die. You might not be able to get to them. You would also risk unintentionally poisoning household pets and other family members.
The Illinois DNR recommends highering a licensed animal removal specialist.
Related: Reasons not to use rat poison
Once you have chased the squirrels out of your home, it will be safe to perform attic restoration and repairs.
Make sure you’ve closed off their entrance for good and periodically inspect your home exterior, at least every spring and fall.
Do you need help removing a squirrel from your home?
Attic Solutions can provide you humane squirrel removal services in the Chicagoland suburbs.
We can also safely restore and sanitize your attic to remove dangerous contaminants.
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Contact us online or call (847) 464-1861