Cheap solutions for getting squirrels out of your attic
How to Get Rid of Squirrels in the Attic
TDS Reader Solutions
How to Get Rid of Squirrels in the Attic
I have a squirrel living in my attic! The professionals want almost $300 to get it out and I don't have that kind of money to spend. I have looked in the archives of your website, but I can't find any inexpensive ways to get rid of the unwanted visitor. I bought a cage and put it on the roof with peanut butter/nuts/sunflower seeds etc. I guess that food isn't up his alley because he hasn't touched it! I may have to throw some cheap speakers up in the attic and blast some Iron Maiden and scare him out. Any other suggestions?
Relocator and Squirrels
I went through his problem a few years back. We did hire a professional--but he was not an exterminator, he was an animal "relocator". This is what he did to rid our attic of squirrels. First, he used a "Havahart" trap. These trap the animals and then keep them alive in the trap. Try your local hardware store; most of them around here carry them. They come in different sizes, so read the box. It is important to use the right size trap. You may want to ask around to neighbors and friends to see if anybody has one you can borrow. They are not cheap (a small one may run you $25), but the design is the best.
Second, he baited the trap with peanut butter--irresistible to squirrels, he assured me. I would add sunflower seeds to the mix, as the squirrels in my backyard can't get enough of it from my birdfeeders. Then the trap must be placed IN the attic and checked daily. Once you catch one, put cage and all in the car, drive as many miles away as reasonable and release the squirrel into another environment (NOT another neighborhood). Caution: don't touch the animals. Wear heavy leather gloves when handling the cage. Put the baited trap back in the attic and repeat the process. Give it a week or two; Usually there is more than one that are regular visitors.
Call Humane Society on Squirrels
Many towns with an animal control officer will be glad to send someone out to help catch the squirrel This is usually free, although you may want to make a donation. Sometimes, for a small deposit, you can rent what is known as a live animal trap from either animal control, the SPCA, or the Humane Society. You will probably have to put the trap close to where the squirrel is living. Bait it with peanut butter (they love this) and put it on an apple slice.
You could also use a deterrent, such as "Squirrel Away." This can be purchased in WalMart and livestock/feed supply stores. Sometimes the big building supply places, like Home Depot or Lowes, carries it also.
My brother had squirrels in his attic and tried luring them out with food (didn't work), flushing them out with water (didn't work), waiting 'til they were out and filling the hole (they came back), and many other things.
What finally worked was spraying fox urine, bought at a hunting supply store, in to the hole. Since foxes are higher on the food chain than squirrels, they left promptly!
Sarah McD. in Toronto
Moth Balls in Attic
To drive out the squirrels, use moth balls. Then find how they're getting in, and patch it up. We had the same problem with bats. Moth balls are made out of naphthalene flakes and cost $2 for a one pound box. Bat and squirrel repellant is made of the same naphthalene flakes, but goes for $10 a box.
Trap Squirrels in Attic
I watched a co-worker go through what you are experiencing with the "fluffy rodent." After several false starts (no, peanut butter doesn't work!), he ended up with a borrowed "Havahart" trap and a handful of walnuts. Usually a call to your local warden service will be enough to get the ball rolling. If they don't have the traps on hand, they can tell you where to get one on loan. I also know that the larger hardware stores can also loan or rent you a trap (at least they do here in New England where we grow large, persistent squirrels).
The walnuts were the bait of choice in this case, but you could also try pistachios or any very fragrant, strong tasting nut. And don't wait too long to set your trap. One squirrel can mean entire families before too long, depending on the comfort level of your attic.
Close Attic Entries
We had a similar problem with a family of 3 squirrels moved into our attic. They would be out running around during the day, but return at night. They were always up at 4 a.m., running all over the attic having a great time while we were trying to sleep down below.
Do everything in the middle of the day while they are out of the attic. First, walk all the way around your home with a bag of nails and a hammer looking for any small loose boards or gaps that need to be hammered down. They can get into very small spaces. Then get hardware cloth (a wire mesh) at a hardware store and spread it over any opening in your attic, turbine or other vents, and any kind of opening. This is usually easier done from inside the attic. Use a heavy-duty staple gun to secure the cloth or horseshoe-shaped nails. Don't leave any gaps. And if you hear them trying to chew through it, go out and throw pine cones or rocks at them.
Once we did this, and they didn't get back in; we think they moved into another nearby home that was easier to get into. We tried traps, loud music, and other things, but the above was all that worked. You definitely want them out because they can chew through insulation on wires and possibly even cause a fire.
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Ammonia Repels Squirrels
Try wetting rags with ammonia and spreading them around the general area that the animal is living in. Most animals have more highly developed senses of smell than we do, and ammonia drives them nuts. At the same time, leave a light on in the area where they are living, and leave a radio playing non-stop. The radio doesn't need to be loud enough to bother you, just them.
You need to make sure that the animal has not left any young behind in the place they were living. If given enough time, they will move their offspring out of inhospitable environments, but it may take them several trips.
Remove Squirrels in Attic Quickly
I don't know about getting it out, but definitely don't waste any time about it! My sister had a squirrel in her attic and, before she knew it, the squirrel found a way to get inside the wall and died there! They almost never got rid of the smell in my nephew's bedroom! The cost to deal with such a disaster as that could be even more than getting rid of the little varmint in the first place!
Reviewed January 2018
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