How to Get Rid of Squirrels in the Attic (2024)

By Amanda Lutz Updated February 5, 2024

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Homeowners should be wary of squirrels that enter attic space, as the rodents can damage electrical wires, shingles, and soffits. Squirrels also carry diseases and parasites that can be dangerous to humans. Read about the causes of squirrel infestations below and learn how to get rid of squirrels, either by DIY means or with professional help.

 


 

What Causes Squirrels in the Attic?

Squirrels are usually drawn to your attic in search of nesting space that is warmer, safer, and more comfortable than nesting space outdoors. They enter through roof vents, attic louvers, and ventilation fan openings but can also squeeze through small cracks and gaps in soffits, eaves, fascia boards, windows, or siding.

These factors can increase the likelihood of a squirrel infestation in your attic:

 


 

DIY Squirrel Removal Methods

Before you begin to rid your attic of squirrels and seal entry points, inspect the attic for signs of baby squirrels. If you remove a squirrel but later see it frantically trying to reenter, you may have separated a mother from her young. In this case, allow the mother back inside to tend to her babies. Squirrels often nest with their young from February through May or August through October.

Exclusion Devices

Begin the process of ridding your attic of squirrels by identifying entry points and installing exclusion devices. Block all the entrances but one with metal flashing, wire mesh, steel wool, hardware cloth, caulk, or fiber cement, and cover the final entry point with a one-way door. This device allows squirrels to freely exit the attic but prevents reentry.

You should not install a one-way door if you encounter a squirrel nest with babies. If the mother squirrel is trapped outside, her baby squirrels will likely die, and the mother squirrel may damage your home’s exterior in a desperate attempt to reach her young.

Live-Capture Traps

Live traps are a humane option for removing adult gray squirrels and other critters without harming them. Bait traps with peanut butter, and check them daily. Once you have caught a squirrel, take the trap outside and carefully open the door with the trap facing away from you until the squirrel leaves.

Research wildlife laws and pest control regulations in your state before using squirrel traps, and make sure to release squirrels near your home instead of dropping them off in a new area. Squirrels are territorial, and the squirrels from your attic may be vulnerable to attack in a new location.

Squirrel Repellents

Natural squirrel repellents—such as apple cider vinegar, black pepper, garlic, and peppermint— can repel squirrels from your attic and discourage them from returning. Try soaking a rag in one of these ingredients and placing it near the nest or entry point.

You can also purchase a commercial squirrel repellent on Amazon or from your local hardware store or garden center to mimic the smell of predator urine and scare squirrels away from your attic. Spray the repellent near entry points or anywhere you’ve seen squirrel droppings.

Avoid mothballs, a repellant that will leave a persistent odor in your home and potentially kill squirrels.

Squirrel Deterrents

You can convince squirrels to leave your attic by making the area less hospitable. Try placing a few bright lights and motion-activated devices in your attic, which will make the area seem less safe. Bang pots and pans or leave a radio playing in the attic at full volume overnight to serve as additional deterrents. High-frequency sound machines may help, though reviews from scientists and users are mixed.

 


 

Professional Squirrel Removal Methods

Professional exterminators and pest control companies offer a variety of solutions for dealing with your squirrel problem and other issues involving insects or wild animals. Many companies offer special pest control pricing for ongoing services.

Exclusion and Prevention

Wildlife removal experts can seal potential squirrel entry points and install exclusion devices, such as one-way doors and chimney caps, to keep squirrels from invading your home. Professionals can recommend preventive measures catered to your property, such as trimming overhanging tree branches.

Trapping and Removal

Professionals routinely use humane live trapping to safely capture squirrels. The process involves placing live traps in your attic to catch the intruders, then relocating them to a suitable outdoor habitat. Look for a company that uses environmentally friendly techniques, is properly licensed in your state, and follows all local regulations.

Wildlife Repellents

Pest control companies may use wildlife repellents, which emit odors that repel squirrels, to expel the rodents from your garden or attic. A professional exterminator will have access to more products than homeowners will.

 


 

Tips for Squirrel Prevention

Follow these tips to prevent squirrel damage and infestations:

 


 

Our Recommendation

Squirrels pose dangers and health hazards if they nest in your household, but you can get rid of them safely with a combination of exclusion devices, squirrel deterrents, and live traps. You can also take steps to prevent future squirrel problems.

Consult a professional exterminator if the problem is especially urgent or serious. Many pest control companies, such as Orkin and Terminix, offer wildlife removal services.

 


 

Squirrels in the Attic FAQ

Will squirrels eventually leave my attic?

Squirrels may eventually leave your attic on their own, but only if it seems inhospitable. You can encourage them to leave with bright lights, noise, and vinegar-soaked rags.

Do squirrels in the attic cause damage?

Yes, squirrels in the attic can cause damage to wood, insulation, electrical wires, and items stored in your attic. Their urine and feces can cause unpleasant odors.

Is it common to have squirrels in your attic?

Having squirrels in your attic is relatively common, especially in areas where squirrels are abundant and urban development encroaches on their natural habitats.

How do you know if you have a squirrel in your attic?

If you think you have a squirrel in your attic, look for the following signs:Foul odorsGnaw marksScurrying or scratching noisesSquirrel droppingsSquirrel nestsVisible squirrel activity

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Our pest control research process starts with analyzing customer reviews on third-party websites such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Trustpilot, and Google Reviews. We then do a deep dive into each company’s website, service plans, and available cost information. We also secret shop the companies we review, reach out to representatives, and request quotes.

From there, we compile the information we’ve gathered and compare each company using our in-depth pest control methodology and review criteria. This process uses a series of factors that are important to our readers, and we score each company depending on how well they perform in each factor. For instance, companies that offer more guarantees for their service earned more points than others, and pest control plans with a larger range of covered pests earned more points than ones with fewer.

After analyzing dozens of residential and commercial pest control businesses through this process, we were able to determine the best pest control companies on the market.